Should supermarkets be banned from offering 2 for 1 deals on food?
In a new proposition by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 'two for the price of one' deals on perishable goods will be banned. This campaign is designed to reduce waste, as recent studies have found that shoppers are buying too much food under 2-for-1 deals because it appears cheaper, and throwing away food because it has gone off the sell by date. The programme will also ban disposable goods, introduce a wider range of item sizes and provide more detailed information on packaging about the difference between use by date sell by date and best before date, as well as how to store food and what to do with overripe fruit and vegetables.
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Buying excess food leads to waste.
According to Times Online: 'Households throw away 4.1 million tonnes of food each year that could have been eaten if it had been managed better, according to Wrap, the Government’s waste watchdog. Food waste costs the average household £420 a year and the average person throws away more than their own weight in food annually. Single-person households, now almost a third of all homes, waste the most, partly because bogofs encourage them to buy quantities they cannot eat by the use-by date.' (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/retailing/article6790844.ece)
It doesn't matter who gets the surplus of wares that aren't selling if it gets thrown away anyway. But while not all individuals realize that they won't necessarily eat twice as much just because it's cheap, the supermarkets may learn that buying so much stuff that they can't sell everything isn't good business. Thus, supply and demand gets closer to one another, leading to less waste.
Besides, when throwing away excess food, it is cheaper to pick it up at the supermarket than gathering it together from each home.
Legislating the price that a retailer can sell a product is fundamentally a manipulation of the market, which ultimately leads to problems for both consumers and producers.
A two for one deal is essentially a decision by the retailer to lower the price of a product by 50% in order to stimulate demand and increase the quantity sold. Legislating against such actions is ultimately a dangerous interference of the state into the market, and as we know from command-economies, such as the Soviet Union, problematic for an economy and thus society in the long-run.
Supermarkets tend to put produce on offer when there is a surplus of it and it isn't selling - when there is a danger of it being thrown away and going to waste anyway.
Two-for-one deals encourage unhealthy eating.
Two-for-one deals on perishable unhealthy food such as pizzas encourages people to eat more unhealthy food, as they both have more of it and need to eat it faster before it spoils.
The fact that people are throwing their food away proves that they are not eating too much of the food. Besides, with 'two for the price of one' you still only have two meals' worth. If people are going for the 'three for the price of two' deals or higher, it implies that they wanted to buy a lot of food in the first place. If healthy eating was a priority in this new bill, why would they restrict deals on fruit?
youre assuming that all 2 for 1 deals are always and only on unhealthy foods
New system will mean greater overall control over how much you purchase.
The main problem with 'two for the price of one' deals is that they manipulate you into buying more food than you need, in the belief that you will save money. If they were replaced by more discounts on single items and a wider range of item sizes that were sensibly proportionally priced, people would be able to better plan how much they wanted to buy.
Consumers are not forced to buy anything! The offer is there to help the store sell products nearing their expiration date. For the same price as one, you can get two items. For large families this is a good deal and they take the offer, not due to duress but due to knowing that the deal is good for them. Yes, there are people who will buy it just for the sake of it, but this is the same with a lot of goods that people impulse buy. Education is the only way to prevent such impulse buys.
Punishes poor people and recession budgeters.
The bill seems especially unfair on people who are genuinely poor, as they will not waste their food if they can't afford it - they will eat it even if it has gone past the use by date, if it is still at all edible. Buying more food will be good for people who might otherwise not buy enough food for themselves for budgeting reasons. There wll also be a problem for people wanting to buy enough fruit, as fruit is expensive enough as it is and is being specifically targeted
Only 2 for 1 deals on perishables will be banned under the new system. Half price deals and other bargains will still exist. Fruit should not really be bought in bulk, it doesn't last long enough, which would make a half price deal more suitable.
Punishes people who need to buy in bulk.
Many people need to buy in bulk - people with large families and/or lots of pets, people who host gatherings or want to cook for their friends, people whose metabolism means that they need to eat a lot. There is no guarantee that the 'wider range of sizes' will include a large size that is enough of a price difference to make it feasible to buy in bulk.
It won't get more expensive just because you cant advertise with "2 for 1" anymore. "Two for the price of one" is the same unit price as "half the price".
It's not like you won't be able to buy or sell a two-pack of something anymore... You just can't price it differently than two "single packs".
Too much state control over people's lives.
The Government are wasting a huge amount of money making restrictive laws on every petty thing, often being very patronising - wouldn't it be better just to explain to people that they need to think about how much food they are actually going to eat before they buy huge amounts of it. instead of banning us from doing it in the assumption that we cant think it out for ourselves? Also, if the Government control this aspect of pricing in supermarkets, which will make a huge impact on overall food prices and availability of food, there is a danger that they will seek to control food distribution entirely, meaning that a massive part of people's lives is directly State controlled.
Drastic times calls for drastic measures. After wars we have seen rationing taking place. This has been a vital element of government control to help restore the country to a prosperous state. Given the vast amount of land fill sites that are becoming evermore full, surely state control over such a matter is no bad thing.
This argument forgets that given people’s compulsion to seemingly good ‘offers’, the supermarkets currently have control over us. They are able to psychologically manipulate us into buying what they need to sell in order to make a profit. Surely by the government banning such practices as BOGOF deals, they are loosening the throat-hold supermarkets currently have over us.
There is a long way from banning "2 for 1" deals on food and complete government control of the food distribution. "2 for 1" only affects the way supermarkets are allowed to advertise, not how they set their prices.
What do you think?