21jan grocery costs top shoppers concerns hero
19 January 2021

Grocery costs top shoppers’ concerns

Six out of 10 Kiwis worried about food and grocery costs.

Rising prices have helped push grocery bills to the top of the list of consumers’ concerns about everyday expenses.

In our annual survey, 63 percent picked food and grocery costs as their biggest worry. Among renters, concern was even higher at 74 percent.

Many households are likely to be feeling the pinch with food prices rising 2.9 percent in the past year. The biggest hikes have been for fruit and veges, up 8.9 percent.

Grocery prices will be under scrutiny this year as the Commerce Commission’s investigation of the supermarket sector gets underway. It’s looking at whether consumers are getting a fair deal at the checkout and is due to be completed in November.

Our survey shows grocery prices have now pipped fuel costs, which were the number one worry in 2019.

This year, 55 percent were worried about the cost of fuelling up. Household power bills took out the third spot on 53 percent.

For homeowners, council rates (71 percent) and the cost of house insurance (59 percent) also featured as key concerns.

Cutting back

Across all consumers, 61 percent thought their household bills and expenses had increased in the past 12 months.

To help cope with rising costs, 56 percent said they’d cut back spending on non-essentials in the past year and 32 percent had delayed a major purchase.

A third had dipped into savings to cover the gap until payday while 13 percent had relied on their credit card to tide them over.

Survey results

Everyday costs

Home ownership costs

In the past 12 months, have you ...

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Can you help?

Have you been misled by a less than “special” supermarket deal? Have you noticed routinely discounted items being advertised as “special” offers? Have you got examples of confusing pricing from your local supermarket?

Let us know. Support our campaign for fair supermarket prices by sending your examples to info@consumer.org.nz.

Member comments

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Gavin K.
23 Jan 2021
Kumara is King!

I noticed in a recent TV news item ( TV1) featuring a local fruit/veg shop in the North Island somewhere, a price tag of $4.99 per kg. Local supermarkets and f/v shops here in Blenheim have a price tag of around $8.99. Transport, obviously, cuts in here, but at nearly doubling the price seems incommensurate with what must be a spread of the cost across bulk delivery.

roy s.
23 Jan 2021

One thing that all of these commerce commission inquiries have in common is that they have not changed a thing in meaningful terms. Yes, the banks have reduced fees, but they have taken it the slack by closing branches. Insurance prices are out of control, and fuel has only come down in price because international demand has been lower than usual. An inquiry into supermarket prices will only tell us what we already know, that the current duopoly will do what it wants until some meaningful competition in the food market forces them to act.

Diane K.
23 Jan 2021
Food expenses

I agree food & housewares have risen in price across the board & are concerning to us budget conscious consumers.It is going too get tougher as imported items get scarce.We have to relie on good old fashion ways to reduce our spending.Freeze leftovers.This time of year preserve while fruit & veg are plentyful.