Asda has pledged to rollout its ‘Smart Price’ value range to all stores across the UK following social media.
The supermarket chain’s value range has always proved popular with shoppers keen to keep things on a budget as it includes items such as a 15 pack of eggs for £1.18, a can of peas for 21p, carrots for 20p, and 500g of pasta for just 29p – but many have pointed out its limitations in recent weeks, and have raised questions as to why it’s not available in every branch.
The ‘Smart Value’ range is currently made up of 200 items in total, and 150 of those are only available in 300 stores.
Asda says its decision to extend the rollout of the range comes after food writer and anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe – who began her career back in 2015 sharing recipes she had created as a single parent with a young son to feed families for less than £10 – took to Twitter back in mid-January to give examples of price increases she had noted at her local supermarket in the past year.
Jack said in her initial tweet: “Woke up this morning to the radio talking about the cost of living rising a further 5% [and] it infuriates me the index that they use for this calculation, which grossly underestimates the real cost of inflation as it happens to people with the least.”
She continued: “The system by which we measure the impact of inflation is fundamentally flawed [and it] completely ignores the reality and the real price rises for people on minimum wages, zero hour contracts, food bank clients, and millions more”.
“The margins are always, always calculated to squeeze the belts of those who can least afford it, and massage the profits of those who have money to spare,” she added.
Crucially, she claimed that “nothing demonstrates that inequality quite so starkly as tracking the prices of ‘luxury’ food vs ‘actual essentials’.”
Jack’s Twitter thread not only went on to amass thousands of likes and retweets, and generate an important conversation, but it also inspired Asda to make some changes to “help our customers”, and so the retailer confirmed in a statement that it would almost double the number of stores that offer the ‘Smart Price’ range to all 581 of its locations.
Announcing the range rollout in a statement this week, Meg Farren – Chief Customer Officer at Asda – said: “We want to help our customers’ budgets stretch further and have taken on board the comments about the availability of our Smart Price range made by Jack Monroe.
“We are taking steps to put our full Smart Price and Farm Stores ranges in store and online to make these products as accessible as possible.”
Jack has welcomed the retailer’s response to the conversation, sharing news of Asda’s cheap food promise on Twitter saying simply: “Well, that went rather well.”
The supermarket has already added 100 Smart Price and Farm Stores products to its website this week, increasing the total online range to 187 products.
This will rise to 200 by the end of February, with all 200 products in stores by 1 March.
Featured Image – Asda Corporate
Grealish holds his hands up over Almirón dig: ‘I do stupid stuff’
Jack Grealish has finally held his hands up after mocking Miguel Almirón, assuring that while he has made mistakes in career, he has a “good heart”.
Speaking to the media at the national camp in Qatar, the footballer was asked about his now-infamous dig at the Newcastle player, quipping that teammate Riyad Mahrez “played like Almirón” in a sub-par performance during Manchester City‘s 2021/22 title-winning match back in May.
Ironically, Grealish‘s Almiron joke has preceded an incredible run of form from the winger this year, arguably being their player of the season with eight goals to his name already.
Despite the 28-year-old insisting he has “never really paid attention” to what people say about him, he will have inevitably seen the viral clip.
Nevertheless, the England and City star took accountability for the unnecessary outburst, confessing, “I do stupid stuff, that was one”, whilst assuring: “Obviously I’ve done stupid stuff in my life but I think everything that I do good is from my heart.”
The 27-year-old went on to say that describe his Premier League peer as a “great player”, adding: “what a guy… if that was me and somebody had said that about me, I’d have probably been the other way and been like: ‘f*** it'”.
While he said he didn’t think the drunken video would go public, he knows it wasn’t the most professional of moments and that not only is he “buzzing” to see Almirón playing so well but that he will be sure to “show him the most respect” the next time they meet on the pitch.
Army ‘on standby’ as UK prepares for more postal, rail, lecturer and nurses strikes in December
The armed forces are said to be “on standby” to help fill various roles ahead of a new raft of strikes across health, education and postal sectors this month.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff are committed to walking out over pay disputes on Wednesday, 30 November as various organised strikes persist across the country.
Countless employees from various industries who feel they are underappreciated and underpaid are set to join the ongoing rail strikes, as well as the thousands of nurses expected to follow suit on the picket line throughout December.
Now, as per the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery, given the strikes’ proximity to Christmas, roping in the British military now seems likely. Dr Emma Runswick of the British Medical Association said there is there a simple way to put an end to mass industrial action: pay people fairly.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Cordery confirmed that while the army is waiting in the wings to help fill relevant NHS roles, “the reality is if the army or other armed forces step in it will very much be at the margins rather than going out and driving ambulances”.
It remains unclear whether army personnel will be needed to combat the impending labour shortage across other industries. Regardless, the Communication Workers Union are going ahead will a series of strikes in December.
Having formally called on Royal Mail employees to join the national demonstrations for strike action on the following days:
Friday, 9 December
Sunday, 11 December
Wednesday, 14 December
Thursday, 15 December
Friday, 23 December
Saturday, 24 December
As for rail workers, RMT Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey shared a similar sentiment, assuring that while the train drivers and the transport sector, in general, are standing firm, negotiations with Network Rail and other operators continue this week.
In addition to RMT members across 14 rail companies striking on 13-14 and 16-17 December, as well as 3-4 and 6-7 January, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff working onboard and station roles will take action against Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU) which represents 77 sixth-form colleges in England are also striking over pay, stating that in real terms, teachers have suffered a pay cut of around 20% since 2010.
Furthermore, the University and College Union (UCU) already held a 48-hour strike last week and is now set to hold another 24-hour walkout among university staff. As well as organising a large rally in London, union members across at least 150 different institutions will be joining the December strikes.