Lurpak butter now fitted with security tag in some supermarkets


Lurpak have explained that rising prices are there to protect farmers facing their own rising prices in the supply chain

Sam Montgomery

By Sam Montgomery

Published: 12/07/2023

- 17:35

Amid a surge in shoplifting, supermarkets are taking precautions to protect their prized assets

As the price of Lurpak reaches new dizzying heights, supermarkets have taken the extreme measure of security tagging to combat the rise in shoplifting.

The Danish butter is said to have been singled out by shoplifters as a luxury good ripe for reselling on the black market.

With people being driven to crime to embrace Lurpak’s mission “to make good food great,” supermarkets have started to fit electronic tags to the tubs and packs.

A staple of the British pantry, Lurpak is becoming increasingly unaffordable, with the average price for a 500g pack increasing by 33 per cent since June last year, far ahead of the current rate of inflation, according to Trolley data analysts.

Balloon pilot Ian Ashpole launches at 5,000 feet from the Lurpak Lighter hot air balloon over Cambridgeshire, on his way to breaking the world record for the highest flight attached to 600 toy balloons. Ian, from Ross-On-Wye, Herefordshire, broke his own record of 10,000 feet by reaching 11,000 feet before cutting the ties and parachuting back to earth.

Up, up, and away, prices rise like the Lurpak Lighter hot air balloon over Cambridgeshire in 2001


The price of a 500g block of Lurpak hits heights of £6 at Asda, while a 1kg tub comes in at £9 on Ocado and a 750g pack at Sainsbury’s splits the two at £7.25.

Marytn James, a consumer rights campaigner, said: “I have never seen a case of basic necessities being tagged like this. It is extraordinary.”

“This is what happens when food stock becomes more scarce and expensive – it becomes a target for theft.

“Lurpak butter is just one example of how quickly price rises can become extreme. We are nowhere near the peak.”

Ocado van

A 1kg tub comes in at £9 on Ocado


Shoplifting was up 26 per cent last year across shops in the 10 biggest UK cities, with estimates from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) suggesting that retailers lost almost £1 billion between 2021 and 2022.

In response, supermarkets such as Waitrose have instructed staff to maintain vigilance especially around self-checkouts.

In trials, the supermarkets saw that self-checkouts lure packers into scanning cheaper alternatives or failing to scan times, but this could be curtailed by increased staff presence.

A Lurpak spokesman said: “While we don’t set the prices on the shelves, we do work closely with the retailers to ensure our farmers receive a fair price for the milk they produce.”

Asda van

The price of a 500g block of Lurpak hits heights of £6 at Asda


The firm explained that rising prices reflect the need to ensure the long-term survival of farmers who face rising prices of their own, in feed, fertiliser and fuel.

An Asda aspokesman said: “Individual stores may place tags on products they believe are seeing high amounts of thefts, this isn’t something we’ve told stores to do across the board.”

Lurpak recently sparked outcry after it became the latest victim of shrinkflation.

The size of its butter blocks have been reduced by 20 per cent in the last year.

Arla Foods, the manufacturers behind Lurpak, announced it would phase out its 250 gram packs last month.

The packs are being replaced by those weighing 200 grams.

The Consumer Prices Index inflation (CPI) remained at 8.7 per cent in May, defying expectations that it would decrease, the Office for National Statistics confirmed.

Stubbornly high core inflation has risen to 7.1 per cent, the highest annual rate increase since March 1992.

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