Pub chain to offer free refills to combat "rip-off Britain

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Related tags: Coca-cola

Pub retail brand Hungry Horse last week announced a new campaign to address consumer concern over "rip-off Britain".The chain, owned by Suffolk...

Pub retail brand Hungry Horse last week announced a new campaign to address consumer concern over "rip-off Britain".

The chain, owned by Suffolk brewer Greene King, is offering free unlimited refills to any customer ordering a large glass of Coca-Cola or Diet Coke.

The move follows accusations that pubs are ripping off their customers over soft drink pricing.

Marketing manager Clive Reddihough said: "The pub trade, among other retail sectors, has come under scrutiny from industry and government bodies about pricing policies.

"By instigating this campaign we hope that we will see the beginning of the end of rip-off Britain and a better deal all round for UK consumers."

Licensees have defended the price of soft drinks in pubs, which have to cover overheads, including staff wages.

The Hungry Horse Great Value Campaign would mean that drivers or children could enjoy unlimited soft drinks in outlets nationwide for only £1.25.

Greene King has been experimenting with refill offers for some years, targeting drivers around Christmas and New Year periods.

Soft drinks giant Britvic, which distributes Pepsi, has long been urging licensees to review prices.

The company has successfully persuaded many licensees to offer larger measures with only a small price increase.

The practice erodes margins, but generates sales and cash.

Over the millennium period, Yates's and a number of other companies offered free soft drinks.

Consumer concern over pub pricing last year sparked an inconclusive investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Reports suggested that some pubs were charging nine times more than supermarkets and that pub soft drinks prices had outpaced inflation for 20 years.

The trade's anti drink-drive campaign, Wheelwatch, published a Good Practice Guide, which recommended free soft drinks promotions.

The guide backs the case against lowering the drink-drive limit. But there is concern among some licensees who fear they will be unable to compete if other high street chains follow suit.

Related topics: Other operators

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