How do supermarkets tempt you to spend more money?

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1. Supermarket secrets

When supermarkets first opened in the UK people were afraid to pick up items and put them in their trolley for fear of being told off. Now we have the opposite problem; we can’t stop ourselves from picking stuff up.

The average UK shopper makes 221 trips to the supermarket every year, giving us ample opportunity to buy food we don't need, but why do we do this?

To understand, you must step into the meticulously managed marketing zone that is a supermarket, where millions have been invested into figuring out how to get you to buy more.

2. It's all in the layout

Click or tap on the picture to find out how the layout of a supermarket can encourage you to buy more.

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3. Pesky pricing strategies

We all love a bargain, our brains even experience pleasure at the prospect of a bargain. Data from Kantar Wordpanel suggests that 40% of groceries in the UK are sold on promotion, but are consumers really getting a good deal?

Encouraging multi-buys

Paying £4 for two cakes priced at £2 individually is not a a bargain, it's just arithmetic. But if the individual price of the cake was increased to £3 before a multi-buy promotion the £4 price would seem like a sweet deal.

Inconsistent unit pricing

Supermarkets sometimes show some products in kilograms and others in grams, making it difficult to compare prices.

Loss leaders

Most consumers only know the price of about 20 essential items, which are referred to as 'known value items'. These items are often sold at a loss. Often other items have high mark ups. See if you know the prices of the items in the section below.

4. Do you know your prices?

You may know the price of a loaf of bread or a pint of milk, but how much do you think the following items cost?

Cheddar

Branded Cheddar 350g/12oz.

Price

about £3.50

Branded Cheddar chesse can be pretty pricey. Try own-brand and shop around for a better deal.

Coconut milk

Own-brand 400ml tin coconut milk.

Price

about £1.60

Own-brand coconut milk is pretty expensive, sometimes supermarkets stock brands that can be significantly cheaper. Remember own-brand is not always cheapest.

Breakfast cereal

1kg/2lb 4oz box of branded nut cereal.

Price

about £4.00

Branded breakfast cereal may be more expensive than you think, try an own-brand version or switch to porridge for a cheaper and healthier alternative.

Onions

Pack of three large onions.

Price

about £1.00

It can be cheaper to buy fresh produce loose, plus you buy just what you need so waste less. Look out for the unit price to get the best deal.

5. Supermarket sensations

Do supermarkets manipulate our senses to get us to buy more? Click or tap on the picture to find out.

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6. Give yourself some control

If you fail to plan you plan to fail

Prepare yourself for your next trip to the supermarket with our tips and tricks to help make sure you only buy what you actually need.

Off your trolley

If you are just going to the supermarket for a few essentials then you definitely do not need a trolley. Studies show that the bigger the trolley you use the more you buy. Try using a basket if you only need a few items or just your hands, you are less likely to buy that five kilo bag of rice that's on offer if you have to carry it.

Give your trolley a health kick

A study from Cornell University showed that to make your trolley healthier you should divide it in two with a scarf or jacket and use one half for fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat. This trick causes people to spend more than twice as much of their budget on fruits and vegetables. The idea is that the partition suggests a social norm that individuals try to meet. Here are five more tips and tricks for spending less in the supermarket:

  1. Make a list and stick to it
  2. Have a budget in mind
  3. Only shop with cash
  4. Do not shop when hungry
  5. Try online shopping