Loaves at 75p are at the front line of a new price war between the major multiples, which campaigners say threatens to become a “race to the bottom”.

The Co-operative launched a new range of 75p own-label 800g loaves yesterday (24 April) as part of its new Value for Money campaign, highlighting the new products with TV advertising and the catchline: ‘Bread, it’s important, which is why we charge so little for it’.

The move came a day after Tesco revealed it was cutting the price of an 800g wholemeal loaf from 90p to 75p, while Asda has reduced the price of its own-brand wholemeal loaf from 85p to 79p.

"Race to the bottom"

Pressure from the discounters, which have been taking market share from all the major supermarkets, is driving the latest round of price cuts – a trend that Chris Young, coordinator of the Real Bread Campaign, said was bad news for all bakers.

“A new price war is starting up and the last time that happened in the 1990s, the price of a loaf fell to 7p, with supermarkets using bread as a loss leader to attract customers,” he said. “The problem with such a race to the bottom is that it artificially skews people’s perception of what is the ‘right’ price not only for a factory loaf but, by misplaced association, for ‘real bread’ as well.”