According to the Daily Mail, one customer managed to capture the practice at an Aldi located in Kidbrooke district in southeast London. The said customer posted footage of the 600-gram tub of Lurpak butter on a shelf, encased in a thin black string net with a black security tag latched on to the end, on the video-sharing app TikTok. The butter was priced at £5.35 ($6.64).
"U.K. inflation going mad," captioned the TikTok user who posted footage of the secured butter. Other users commented, with one wondering why the Lurpak butter was "being held hostage." Another pointed out: "They can afford the extra protection cost, but can't reduce the price."
Back in December, another Aldi store placed tags on packets of candies and other sweets. The grocery chain's branch in the Catford district has also put yellow security tags on various confectionery. These include a Kinder Snack Bar worth £0.85 ($1.06), a £1 ($1.24) pack of Haribo Tangfastics and a five-pack of Cadbury Twirls worth £1.05 ($1.30).
A July 2022 report by the Independent also mentioned that similar security tags were put on £3.99 ($4.95) cheddar cheese blocks at an Aldi location. Such tags are commonly used on bottles of alcohol, the news outlet added. (Related: British supermarkets now putting security tags on cheese to prevent shoplifting amid economic turmoil.)
The same report mentioned the high prices of Lurpak butter, with one grocery selling a one-kilogram tub for £9.35 ($11.61). Online grocery Ocado sold the same product at £9 ($11.17). Meanwhile, Sainsbury's sold a 750-gram tub of the same butter brand both in-store and online for £7.25 ($9).
A Co-op store in the West Midlands city of Wolverhampton also put security tags on lamb chops costing £8 ($9.93). The practice was not only limited to food items, as similar tags were put on children's multivitamins costing £8.50 ($10.55) at a Morrisons branch in the British capital.
The practice of locking up certain items in supermarkets is no longer limited to the United Kingdom. Even the U.S.-based Walmart is now locking up expensive steaks amid rising retail thefts.
The Mail reported in February of last year that a Walmart in Florida put steak cuts inside metal cages. Michael Fromhold, a resident of the Sunshine State, took a video of the secured steaks and posted it on TikTok. His video showed Angus beef wrapped in chains with an electronic security tag.
Fromhold lamented the fact that the current situation called for otherwise basic groceries to be secured. He remarked: "You [got to] be kidding me. Walmart now has the steak locked up. It's come to this. This is getting bad."
The Mail's report said it remains unclear whether or not the cages are being used in all Walmart locations nationwide. It is also unclear whether the measure applies only to stores located in high-crime areas.
Fromhold's video quickly went viral, with some commenters agreeing with the Florida resident about Walmart having to secure meat.
"I'm not surprised," wrote one viewer. "I worked retail for many years and had regular thieves just as much as customers. You would be surprised how many people try to walk out with meat."
Over at Twitter, some complained about their neighborhood Walmart locking up their crab meat. A January 2022 tweet read: "The Walmart by us is so ghetto they lock up the crab legs."
However, one commenter on Fromhold's video pointed out: "Sorry to say, it'll only get worse as inflation continues to rise and food shortages start to impact us."
Grocery.news has more stories about supermarkets securing their goods.
Watch Gary Franchi Jr. of Next News Network discussing how supermarket chain Tesco is taking drastic measures to secure its products.
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