Anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe returned to her local supermarket on Saturday for the first time since her tweets about rising grocery prices went viral to find her campaign had been a success.
The activist has urged supermarkets to make cheaper food ranges more widely available after pointing to the inflation of products such as rice and value ranges being removed from shelves at his local Asda in Shoeburyness, Essex, last month . She tweeted that in January 2021 the cheapest pasta was 29p for 500g. It had risen to 70p amid the cost of living crisis.
Monroe also pointed out that the cheapest rice in the Asda branch in January 2021 was 45p for a 1kg bag which had risen to £1 for 500g.
She tweeted on Saturday that a bag of pasta was available for 29p and rice was back to 45p for a one kilogram bag.
The campaigner also posted photos of tins of baked beans and canned spaghetti that had returned to last year’s prices.
She tweeted: ‘I’ve cried a lot in supermarkets over the past 10 years. Hand over jam which had gone up sixpence meaning SB and I faced a week of dry toast. Trying to find what to put back, what to do without, out of ten dozen grocery stores that weren’t enough to start with.
“I cried tears of humiliation when a shelf label happened to advertise an expired promotion, tipping my purchases to what I could afford with the six or so pounds in change – the only money I had. had in the world – in my hand.
“And today I cried, quietly, to myself, to Asda, as the enormity of all the past weeks finally crumbled among all the white labels in my basket.
“So I guess I just wanted to thank everyone at Asda who has worked really hard over the past few weeks to bring back the missing Smart Price products.”
In an article for The Observer last month, Monroe wrote that she was launching her own price index alongside a team of economists, charity partners, anti-poverty campaigners, retail price analysts and former employees of the Office for National Statistics to document “the demise of budget lines and insidiously creeping prices of the most basic versions of supermarket essentials.
The campaigner, who has given evidence to parliamentary inquiries and been consulted on the school food plan and the national food strategy, added: ‘And today I could put some extra treats in my basket for SB. Today I managed to have so many in my £20 basket that I was clutching rice, oats and muesli to my chest as I struggled to the till. Today is the happiest shopping experience in over a decade.
“The turnaround was almost immediate – the speed with which they responded, not just with words, but with exactly what they said they would do – was absolutely remarkable.”
It comes after Asda pledged on Monday to make its cheapest food ranges more widely available after Monroe’s social media campaign.
The retailer said it had taken Monroe’s feedback on board and would stock its entire Smart Price and Farm Stores ranges in all 581 grocery stores and online, increasing the number of customers with access to products.
Meg Farren, Asda’s Chief Customer Officer, said on Monday: “We want to help our customers’ budgets stretch further and have taken on board feedback on the availability of our smart price range from Jack Monroe. “