Supermarket prices

Updated: 05 Jun 2013
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Introduction

Find out where your dollar goes furthest with our supermarket price survey.

We sent undercover shoppers to buy groceries from supermarkets in 7 centres around the country so we could compare prices.

One chain rules – mostly. But the competition is heating up.

About our survey

Shopping trolley

Our shoppers bought from a list of 40 top-selling supermarket products. As well as food and drink, personal care and cleaning items were also on our list.

The survey didn’t include fresh meat, fish or produce because for a fair comparison we’d need to consider quality. Wine and beer are also excluded – the discounts are so huge that a supermarket with a listed wine on special would have a massive price advantage.

For most items we specified a brand and a pack size. Where our shopper couldn’t find the brand or pack size specified on our list, they substituted a similar item and bought it at all three supermarkets in that city. This means the list varies slightly between cities.

For 10 basic items (such as sugar, milk, butter and flour) we specified just a pack size and asked our shoppers to buy the cheapest brand.

Our shoppers took advantage of multi-buys (we calculated a unit price) and coupon and Onecard specials.

See the Survey results for details of how the supermarkets compared in each centre.

Shopping tips

  • Take a list and stick to it. That’s the key to avoiding impulse buys.
  • Join the store’s loyalty programme (Fly Buys or One Card) to take advantage of discounts or rewards.
  • Check the unit price – smaller sizes are sometimes cheaper than the larger size.
  • Take advantage of multi-buys or stock up on good specials, even if you don’t need the items immediately.
  • You can make big savings by buying house brands for basic products such as milk, sugar, butter and flour.
  • Does the special really offer you something? Or is it a more expensive brand than you’d usually buy? Don’t buy it just because it’s a bargain.
  • Avoid shopping when you’re hungry. With a full stomach you’re less susceptible to free samples and promotions designed to tempt you into extra purchases.
  • Get to know your local supermarket layout, so you can avoid temptation. (See our interactive supermarket layout to see how supermarkets manipulate your shopping experience to tempt you to spend more.)

 

Report by Bev Frederikson.