4 July 2022

How unit pricing should work at grocery stores

Clearer pricing in the pipeline - here's how we think it should work.

One of the Commerce Commission’s recommendations from its market study into the grocery sector is to make unit pricing mandatory.

We wholeheartedly agree. Unit pricing makes it easier for customers to compare prices to make sure they’re getting value for money.

Unit prices show the cost per unit of measure – for example, per 100g – so you can easily work out whether it’s cheaper to buy the big bag of pasta or the smaller one. It also helps you compare prices across brands.

While supermarkets have voluntarily introduced unit pricing, it can be hit and miss. Not all products show unit prices, or if they do, they are sometimes incorrect, hard to read and not always displayed when products are on special.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has issued a discussion paper asking for opinions on how the new unit pricing rules should work.

Here’s how we think unit pricing should work:

  • It should be mandatory for all supermarkets and convenience stores to display unit pricing.

  • Consistent measurements should be used within each product category to enable direct comparisons. It is not helpful for some products to be measured per 100 grams and others to be measured per kilogram.

  • There should only be limited exemptions to the requirement to display unit pricing. For example, we think tobacco, alcohol, and other items such as clothing and toys should be exempt.

  • Grocery retailers should be required to educate consumers on how unit pricing works.

  • Unit pricing should be prominently displayed beside the cost of the product – in a size customers can easily read.

You can have your say on unit pricing by submitting to MBIE by 11 July at 5pm.

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Steve
04 Jul 2022
Why exempt alcohol?

Why would consumer suggest that Alcohol be exempt from unit pricing? Do they want their members (and the rest of the population) to be ripped off??. I often check unit pricing to determine if (for example), it is cheaper to buy beer in 12, 15 or 24 bottle packs.