LONDON: Supermarkets such as Tesco and Waitrose are highlighting low prices in their latest marketing campaigns, reflecting consumer fears over Britain's stagnating economy.

Waitrose is launching a new integrated ad campaign focusing on its low-cost Essentials line, an offer of free home delivery of goods ordered online and a pledge to match prices offered by rivals Tesco on around 1,000 products.

For its part, Tesco launched its Big Price Drop initiative last week, which involves the firm spending £500m to cut the price of 3,000 key own-label products.

Ads promoting the move claim that certain Tesco lines will now be 50% cheaper than branded equivalents.

The supermarkets' renewed focus on value follows the release of offical figures reporting GDP grew by just 0.1% in the second quarter of 2011 and unemployment reached 2.51m over the three months to July.

"Our position on value has never been stronger," a Waitrose spokeswoman told Marketing Week. "This campaign has the aim of highlighting that."

Waitrose marketing director Rupert Thomas added: "Our customers are telling us that value is now more important than ever."

In announcing the Big Price Drop, Tesco specifically cited the economic volatility as having informed the development of the campaign.

It claimed that around 80% of consumers are currently experiencing an income "squeeze".

"Across the country families are telling us the same thing - their budgets are under real pressure," Tesco UK CEO Richard Brasher said.

"They want more help today to afford everyday essentials."

Data sourced from Press Association/Marketing Week/Waitrose/Tesco; additional content by Warc staff