The British Retail Consortium, which represents supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, has warned the prime minister that returning to imperial measurements could worsen the cost-of-living crisis and further drive up inflation.
The comment comes after the BEIS is to launch a 12-week consultation on Friday made up of business groups and consumers to gauge whether retailers should be able to sell goods in pounds and ounces rather than metric measurements.
The BRC said that “reintroducing pounds and ounces would increase grocers’ costs as they would need to update product labels”, pointing out that manufacturers and retailers are already free to list imperial measures alongside metric ones, if they so choose.
Although exemptions to the system exist, with beer, cider and milk still being sold in pints, the UK formally introduced the metric system in 1965.
BRC assistant director of food Andrea Martinez-Inchausti said: “Supermarkets are focusing on delivering the best value for their customers in the face of intense inflationary pressures.
“Introducing new laws to change the way we measure food and drink would both distract from this vital task, and add cost and complexity if existing products are required to be relabelled.”