Sainsbury's
Sainsbury's said it will be phasing out multi-buy promotions by August 2016iStock

Sainsbury's are set to become the first supermarket in the UK to scrap multi-buy promotional offers as customers feel they make them spend more than they intended and create unnecessary food waste. The supermarket announces it will scrap offers such as buy one get one free (BOGOF) and replace them with lower regular prices in order to coincide with customer shopping habits which have "changed significantly" in recent years.

The announcement arrived following the publication of a government-backed report which revel 76% of people shoppers spend more than they need to on a food shop as "enticed" by special offers and deals. According to the Money Advice Service (MAS), people spend an extra £11.14 ($16.93) each supermarket trip because of multi-buy offers. With the average shopper going to the supermarket twice a week to buy "what they need, when they need it", shoppers are now unnecessarily spending more than £1,270 a year, according to MASA.

A seperate report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK consumer regulator and watchdog, also looked into a complete ban across all supermarkets after accusations from consumer Which? suggested that multi-buy offers did not translate to a real savings.

As well as the price, YouGov research shows 81% of families of four believe they throw away less than £30 worth of food a month, when the true figure is nearly double that at £58.30 a month. Sainsbury's also believe that by phasing out multi-buy promotions on products such as soft drinks, confectionery, biscuits and crisps they will encourage people to make healthier food choices.

According to a customer poll led by Sainsbury's in March 2015, the key frustrations that customers found with multi-buys were that they are "culturally out of step" with current attitudes to food and waste and they make them feel that they are spending more than they have to.

Sainsbury's Food Commercial Director, Paul Mills-Hicks, said: "Customer shopping habits have changed significantly in recent years, with people shopping more frequently – often seeking to buy what they need at that moment in time. By replacing multi-buy promotions with lower regular prices, we are making it easier for customers to buy the products they need, in the quantities they need, without having to buy multiple items to enjoy great value. Since we started simplifying our pricing approach we've seen a much greater variety of products in our customers' baskets, signalling that they like the flexibility to make their own choices."

John Penberthy-Smith, Customer Director for the Money Advice Service comments: "The problem is that quite often we see a special offer at the supermarket and we don't want to miss out – so we throw it into our trolley without really thinking about whether it is a good deal or whether we actually need it.

"Often deals can be difficult to understand and compare with other prices. Then there's waste – even if the offers are cheaper, bigger packets or 50% extra are not always good value for money if we end up chucking most of it away.

"The best thing to do if you want to save cash is to write a shopping list and try to stick to it. You can also try shopping when you've just eaten and you're not tired. Just remember, buying own brands and being savvy when it comes to tempting 'offers' will save you money in the long run."

Proportion of weekly shoppers who spend more (%)Average number of extra items they buyAmount they spend on additional items
Special offers76%3£11.14
Hunger59%3£10.87
Not having a plan/clear idea of what they want to buy beforehand49%4£13.44
End-of-aisle displays45%3£11.91
Boredom31%3£14.53
Child(ren) / pester power26%4£15.50
Till displays23%3£16.28
Tiredness22%3£13.94