Sainsbury's cries foul in price promise war
Sainsbury's has appealed against an Advertising Standards Authority ruling that Tesco's Price Promise campaign makes fair comparisons between the rivals' products.
The ASA ruled last week that Tesco's campaign met advertising regulations after Sainsbury's complained that it ignored "important product attributes", such as ethics and provenance.
But Sainsbury's commercial director Mike Coupe said: "The support from customers as well as respected bodies such as the NFU and the Woodland Trust has been overwhelming.
"They agree with us that where our food comes from and how it is produced really do matter, and that Tesco should not be allowed to argue that they don't.
"So we'll be stating our customers' case to the Independent Reviewer in the clearest possible terms."
Tesco's Price Promise compares the price of goods in a shopper's trolley at the check-out with prices at Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.
Any difference on comparable products is then refunded in the form of a voucher worth up to £10.
Ahead of the ASA's ruling, Mr Coupe said the Price Promise made unfair comparisons between own-label products, citing its own Basics ham produced from British pork and the Tesco Everyday Value equivalent, "sourced from somewhere else in the EU".
Mr Coupe added: "They are priced the same but our pork is British and Tesco's is sourced from somewhere else in the EU. They're not the same product."
"If there's one big lesson that we should all have learned from the horsemeat scandal, it's that customers care deeply about where their food comes from and how it is produced."
Defending the campaign to the ASA, Tesco said it did not believe that products containing British and Irish ingredients could only be matched with competitor products of the same provenance.
It added that "for the majority of customers, the product's country of origin would only be a minor factor in a customer's decision-making".
Rejecting Sainsbury's complaint, the ASA said rules required advertisers to compare goods which met the same need or intended purposes.
It commented: "We considered the 'same need' test had been met under the code given that food such as meat, eggs or fish were interchangeable and were intended for the same purpose.
"While we acknowledged there would be differences in animal welfare and country of origin for the ingredients, we were satisfied that Tesco had taken those elements into account when identifying and matching products and had compared on the basis of them meeting the same need."
The worth of vouchers used to refund the difference on products