The use of AI and digital price tags may be the end of yellow sticker reductions. Here are some tips for alternative ways to keep costs down on food.
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As savvy shoppers, we’ve long loved the thrill of hunting for yellow sticker bargains in supermarkets.
However, grocery discounts may well be changing, and AI technology is at the forefront of this transformation.
Supermarkets have started to use AI to manage stock levels more efficiently, reducing the need for the last-minute markdowns that result in those beloved yellow stickers.
Instead, digital price tags on shelves are set to automatically adjust the prices of items nearing their sell-by dates.
We may no longer see staff with their pricing pads making reductions throughout the day on the shop floor.
End of yellow stickers?
Smart price tags are already a thing in some supermarkets in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
The system looks at the likelihood or risk of whether an item will be sold and adjusts the price accordingly. It can also make decisions on whether more stock needs to be ordered.
In the UK, Asda has already been trialling using AI digital price tags in a limited number of stores, and three other big supermarkets are in talks to start using them too.
While using AI in this way aims to minimise food waste in supermarkets, it also presents new challenges for us as bargain hunters.
The automatic price adjustments might make it harder to spot deals, as the distinctive yellow stickers are replaced by less noticeable digital price changes.
It might also mean prices could go up between the time you’ve picked up a product and get to the checkout!
Could it be good news?
We can see that there may be a silver lining.
This shift could lead to more consistent and broader discounts, not just on items nearing expiration but across a range of products.
Instead of having to wait a week for prices to change and labels to be updated following price matching (they are all at it at Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco), supermarkets can update pricing in quicker real-time.
The key for us, as shoppers, is to continually adapt our bargain-hunting tactics.
Staying up to date about how our local stores are implementing these technologies and keeping an eye on digital price tags can help us continue to find the best deals.
With the cost of living being an ongoing worry, understanding these changes is crucial.
AI might be changing the game, but our goal remains the same: saving money and making every penny count.
What to do instead
If yellow stickers do go from our shops, here are a few things you could try to continue to get cheaper food:
Too Good To Go
Too Good To Go is a food waste app that lets you buy surplus food from local businesses at a reduced price.
Prices start at around £3 for £10+ worth of food on or near its best before or use by date.
Often, fresh produce can be found at lower prices than in supermarkets.
As they are smaller businesses, they can’t usually invest in high-price tech, so they will continue to follow the standard practice of reducing food we’re used to.
Community food sharing
Plan meals around what’s on sale or what you already have at home to minimise waste and save money.
Grow your own
Even a small garden or windowsill pots can provide fresh herbs and vegetables.
Maybe you’ve even got space in the garden to keep chickens?
Buying and using frozen foods can be more economical as they last longer.
You can also get great discounts if buying from frozen food specialists such as Farmfoods.
Each of these alternatives has its own benefits and can help you continue to save money on your grocery bills.
Can you add anymore in the comments below?