- A photo shared on Twitter appears to show a UK Aldi store using security tags on blocks of cheese.
- Other items spotted at supermarkets with security tags on include butter, chocolate, and toothpaste.
- This comes amid a period of surging inflation, which is believed to spark an increase in retail theft.
Discount retailer Aldi appears to be putting security tags on blocks of cheese to deter theft at a store in the Midlands region of England.
A photo shared on Twitter showed blocks of white cheddar cheese from Aldi's Essentials range with tags on, which the user said was taken at a store in Wolverhampton, just north of Birmingham.
—Tam (@Celeste_Tam42) July 5, 2022
The cheese was priced at £3.99 ($4.76) for a 900 gram (32 ounce) block. Insider was unable to independently verify the use of the security tags and Aldi did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Another Twitter user posted an image of £6 ($7.14) tubs of Lurpak butter with security stickers on at an Asda store in Elswick, Newcastle.
"Asda hasn't started tagging this product as a rule, individual stores may add tags to products they may have noticed have been going missing," an Asda spokesperson told Insider. "We've no data to suggest it's being stolen more than anything else or more than it has been in the past."
"We're certainly not looking at this as any kind of change in customer behavior or a side effect of inflation, a single store has probably had some of this product stolen recently and has decided to place tags on the rest to ensure they don't also get stolen," the spokesperson added.
One Sainsbury's that Insider visited in London had security stickers on a wide range of items. These included many medical, healthcare, and beauty products, such as hay fever tablets, disposable face masks, plasters, mouthwash, hair wax, and toothpaste, as well as bars of Cadburys and Lindt chocolate.
"To maintain great prices, these products have been protected with a security device," one sign in the store said. Sainsbury's didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
—Charlie Bennett (@CharIieBennett) July 5, 2022
It is normal for higher-value items, including alcohol, video games, meat, and batteries, to come with security tags or cases on. But it is rare for them to be used for everyday products.
This comes amid a period of surging inflation, which is believed to spark an increase in retail theft. One store manager told UK industry publication The Grocer that more shoplifters were targeting low-price, everyday items, while another said an elderly customer had tried to steal shampoo and washing powder.
"We have seen this before in previous times of austerity or economic downturn," Sinéad Furey, a senior lecturer at Ulster University, told the publication.
The price of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 8.7% in the year to May 2022, according to the UK's Office for National Statistics – and increased by 1.5% between April and May alone.