Sainsbury’s is trialling a new digital pricing display on its supermarket shelves to cut the use of paper and automatically update prices.

Jon Rudoe, director of digital and technology at Sainsbury’s, said: "A key part of our strategy is to make sure we’re looking at new technology on behalf of our colleagues to make their lives easier.

Sainsburys digital shelf prices
Sainsbury's trial will assess if digital pricing can create efficiencies and reduce paper waste. Image credit: Sainsbury's

"So this trial will give us useful feedback about quicker, efficient digital pricing information and how much time and paper we’ll save in the process."

The trial has started at the Shoreditch Old Street Local store in east London, and will give teams at Sainsbury’s "some useful insight" before deciding whether to introduce it to other stores, said Rudoe.

The electronic units will be programmed by trained staff, who will assign them to various products. Prices and offers will then be updated automatically using pricing data from central systems, said Sainsbury's.

The units use secure, encrypted software and are designed to resist cold temperatures in fridges and freezers.

Electronic shelf pricing has been trialled by a number of UK supermarkets over the last 10 years but up to now has never taken off.

The Co-operative group was among the supermarkets to have held extensive trials.

Sainsbury's has not confirmed the length of its current electronic shelf pricing trial, or whether it will be extended from its Local stores and into its larger store sites.