A supermarket is displaying half-empty bottles of tomato ketchup in an attempt to deter shoplifters.
460g squeezy bottles of Heinz ketchup, priced at £2.50, have been marked ‘Display Only’.
Customers at the Co-op in east London were told by a sign to speak to a member of staff for help.
An employee at the Blackhorse Lane branch in Walthamstow said it was ‘to stop shoplifters nicking them’.
Completely empty bottles have been displayed in place of the larger 700g bottles of Heinz ketchup.
A Co-op in east London is displaying half-empty bottles of Heinz ketchup to deter shoplifters
Another Co-op store in north London has started locking up items such as chocolate
Basic provisions , such as coffee, are among those displayed in GPS security boxes
A shop worker in the store in Manor House said the measure was taken in response to shoplifting
But a 51-year-old local customer, who declined to give his name, thought the practice was unhygienic.
They said: ‘It’s a sign of the times, I suppose, and people round here really like their ketchup.
‘But I don’t think it’s very hygienic to put half-empty bottles on the shelf. It’s proper minging.’
They added: ‘There’s loads of rats round here already.’
Other Co-op stores have been forced to lock away everyday goods such as chocolate, coffee and even honey as the cost-of-living crisis causes a surge of shoplifters.
Many basic items at a Co-op in Manor House, north London, are now in thick, plastic GPS protected security boxes to stop people from swiping them off the shelves.
Toiletries are also among the goods locked up, as well as sun cream, moisturiser and nose spray.
Shoppers wishing to purchase items such as dishwasher tablets must now take them to the till to be unlocked
But this is the first time chocolate has been locked away along with items such as a fruit and nut bar selling for only £1.35.
A shop worker from the branch said that they have had to take the measure due to shoplifters in the store.
He said: ‘We have had to do it because of shoplifters.
‘Things like coffee, even chocolate was being stolen so much so that’s why we have done this.
‘Now if you want to buy something in a box you have to bring it up to us and we can get it for you.’
The cost-of-living has continued to rise in recent months, creating challenges for many in the UK.
According to the Office of National Statistics: ‘In the UK, the price of consumer goods and services rose at the fastest rate in four decades in the year to October 2022.
The cost-of-living crisis has seen the price of consumer goods rise at its fastest rate in four decades, according to the Office of National Statistics
‘The annual inflation rate rose to 7.9 per cent in the 12 months to May 2023, up from 7.8 per cent in April 2023.’
Food prices have also been rising quickly over the past year. In May 2023 they were just over 18 per cent higher than the year before.
One of the main reasons for the cost of living crisis is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With gas supply lines cut from Russia, energy prices have soared, while a shortage of Ukrainian exports such as grain and sunflower oil has contributed to a jump in global food prices.
As a result, according to the Office of National Statistics, in England and Wales, shoplifting has risen by 20 per cent compared with the year ending September 2021.
A spokesman for Co-op said: ‘Protecting the safety of our colleagues is a priority and we know shoplifting can be a flashpoint for violence against shop workers so, whilst this is not a nationwide policy, a decision to implement product security measures will be made, if a store is experiencing a particular issue.’