The high street chain sells the sandwiches, which are made and packaged in the same way as M&S products.
Image: Reach Commissioned)
Costa customers will be charged a take-away sandwich premium if they can buy the exact same product cheaper in M&S.
Under a collaboration agreement, the coffee chain and high street giant sell Sarnies that are made and packaged in the same way and taste identical.
But when it comes to moving, shoppers find it hard to swallow, spending 36% more in Costa – even if they’re not eating.
And we found that the cheeky price hike applies even if the two stores are next to each other.
Consumer expert Martyn James said: “The rules need to be tightened. It is ridiculous.”
The problem arose after Marks & Spencer gave Costa permission to sell M&S-branded sandwiches in its 2,467 UK cafes in March.
Many venues often charge a little more for food in the restaurant to cover the cost of the facilities.
But in this case, customers still have to pay more even if they just take the sandwich with them, like they would if they bought it in an M&S store.
In St Albans, Herts, our reporter spent £2.75 on an M&S Prawn Mayonnaise Sandwich. But he had to shell out £3.10 to buy the same takeaway buttie from neighboring Costa – a premium of 13%.
An identical porridge and berry compote is also £2 at M&S and £2.55 at Costa 30 yards down the road. This corresponds to a premium of 28%.
A £2.25 ham and mustard sandwich costs an extra 50p if bought takeaway from Costa – and a whopping £1.05 extra if you choose to eat there.
In West Derby, Liverpool, punters are paying an extra pound for a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich in Costa, a whopping 36% premium over the £2.75 at M&S next door.
Analysts say Costa Coffee, which was bought by Coca-Cola for £3.9bn in 2018, is trying to regain post-pandemic revenue.
Industry expert James from consumer rights website Resolver said the Consumer Rights Act needed to be improved.
“Disagreements like this remind us that the rules need to be tightened,” he said. “It’s ridiculous these days that consumers don’t have a choice.
“A shopper deciding between two high street shops or between the high street and the internet should be informed when it is cheaper to buy the same product elsewhere.
“Otherwise it leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth when you realize later that you paid too much.
“Consumers value honesty. It wouldn’t be hard to put an asterisk that says ‘It’s cheaper to shop at M&S’.”
M&S shopper and former caterer Pam Kimber, 74, from St Albans, almost choked on her lunch when we told her about price differences in stores.
She told us: “If the sandwich is the same and both are taken away, I would expect them to be the same price. You shouldn’t ask for more.
“It’s not fair that the same sandwich can be had for a different price a few feet away.”
Kevin Hutchinson, 61, a volunteer who often visits both outlets, added: “It’s hard to say where to go these days as prices are always changing. Sometimes it’s luck in the draw.”
A Costa spokesman said: “We are really proud of our partnership with M&S Food, which offers our customers more choice and high quality food.
“As with any product purchased in a coffee shop as opposed to a supermarket, there will be a cost difference, but that’s to be expected in a retail environment where team members serve and enjoy areas to sit and shop.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/costa-selling-ms-sandwiches-charging-26781478 Costa sells M&S sandwiches - but charges customers 36% more than supermarkets