Alcohol at 14p per unit

A new study by Our Life, a public health campaign group in
the North West of England, challenges the findings of the Competition
Commission that supermarket promotions on alcohol are temporary and
focused around Christmas and major sporting events.

They conducted ‘mystery shopper’ research in a range of
supermarkets, during a period that was not in line with either a major
event or a particular seasonal holiday such as Christmas or Easter.
There was evidence of widespread discounting; in one store, more than
half of the beer and lager products available were being sold as part of
a promotional offer.

The cheapest alcohol found in this study was cider, at 14
pence per unit of alcohol in three different supermarkets. This was
closely followed by Tesco imported lager, not on promotion, which cost
16 pence per unit. Non-alcoholic drinks, including alcohol-free beers,
were not promoted so aggressively and could not be bought as cheaply as
alcoholic drinks.

The authors suggest that at these prices, alcohol is no
longer sold as a luxury, but is marketed as a staple good. They argue
that this irresponsible retailing is strong justification for the
introduction of a minimum price for alcohol.

Download the full report here. (pdf 2.7mb)