27 May 2022

New Zealanders now trust the supermarkets less than the banking industry

New nationally representative research from Consumer NZ has found sentiment in the supermarket industry has taken a sharp hit over the past year, with trust plummeting.

In June last year, 17% of New Zealanders said they did not trust the supermarkets. Today that has nearly doubled, jumping to 32% of the population. Of the 15 industries measured, supermarkets have seen the most significant decline in trust since June 2021.

"It's particularly concerning that consumer trust in a sector that is essential to our well-being as a nation, and is virtually impossible for consumers to do without, is seeing such a marked decline," said Jon Duffy, Consumer NZ chief executive.

“The Commerce Commission’s study into the grocery sector found the duopoly is consistently making profits in excess of what it should,” he said. “Couple that with cost-of-living challenges, and no wonder there has been an erosion of trust in the supermarket industry.”

Consumer is calling for measures to increase competition in the supermarket sector and has launched a petition to #stopthesuperprofits. The petition asks the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, David Clark, to go further than the commission’s recommendations and bring about meaningful change in the sector. To date, 74,000 New Zealanders have signed the petition, and we’re aiming for 200,000 signatures.

"The supermarkets have recently introduced measures to temporarily address high prices,” Duffy said.

“Countdown has put a temporary price freeze on 500 items over winter ‘in response to the cost of living’ and Foodstuffs has returned prices on more than 110 everyday items, to 2021 levels.

“Some of this activity will be helpful for struggling consumers, however we don’t think the supermarket giants should be applauded for their efforts. We should be asking how a lack of competition has been allowed to create this situation in the first place.”

Food prices were 6.4% higher in April 2022 compared with April 2021. Consumer’s research found that New Zealanders are preparing themselves to spend more on groceries. In June 2021; a quarter (24%) expected their groceries to increase. By April 2022, more than two in five (43%) anticipated an uptick in grocery expenditure.

Concern about the price of food has jumped significantly. Groceries went from the eighth biggest financial concern in June 2021 to third in April 2022, beaten only by rent and mortgage payments.

Consumer NZ has also noted that in the last year New Zealanders are incurring an increasing proportion of debt on essential items like groceries, fuel and bills.

Member comments

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STEPHANIE J.
01 Jun 2022
SUPERMARKET MONOPOLIES

The Government created a total monopoly for the supermarkets during our lockdowns as the Supermarkets were mostly the sole suppliers of our food and essentials. The duopolies have taken advantage of this repeatedly whilst the Government have ignored the situation. It remains to be seen if the Government will forge ahead with some competition and allow other retailers to enter the market. Many people are struggling to feed their families along with increasing utilities expenses and interest rates. This Labour Government must take some action or we risk a potential National Government.

Rose R.
30 May 2022
Leave the supermakets alone. Get rid of government taxes on food and reduce petrol costs

Certain groups in society are intent on getting control over the food supply, hence this constant anti-supermarket marketing. Since when has government intervention ever resulted in a better, lower cost outcome for the general public? It is characterised by inefficiency and wasteful spending.

The government profiteers off food through GST and taxes on petrol and other essentials. Remove GST off these items and the cost of food would drop.

If you would like cheaper food go to your smaller markets and growers directly. Support independent owners who get to set their own prices and stop going to Countdown.

STEPHANIE J.
01 Jun 2022
SUPERMARKET MONOPOLIES

Rose, how do people in rural areas and those in urban areas without transport access those more affordable suppliers? Many low income people rely on their local 4 Square dairies for groceries as they don't have the ability to shop elsewhere. I live in a city and see increasingly long queues at Foodbanks daily. For whatever reason, and mostly these people and their families are desperate.

EDWARD R.
30 May 2022
Too much profit

Fact / in 2007 a tomato grower in Favona was paid $1.20 per kilo for Tomato produce by countdown.
The price per kilo at Countdown Teatatu South was $6.00 per kg.

Eddie

F N G & Mrs B A M.
29 May 2022
Profiteering

In the context of the Covid pandemic, the world is in some senses at war. During the last major world war, essential items were price-controlled, and profiteering was severely punishable by law. Capitalism has become such a sacred cow that such controls are now considered unthinkable, but should they be?

K D W.
28 May 2022
Is this avarice?

In the last two months at Countdown a large bag of Wild Bird Seed has moved up from $12 a bag to $16 a bag. It must be sourced from the Ukraine !!

Your Highness
28 May 2022
Media beatup

This negative sentiment has been largely driven by the media. While prices of some items have gone up, I still see shoppers putting overpriced goods (and often of questionable nutritional value) in their trolleys. If it’s overpriced, leave it on the shelf: the supermarkets will soon get the message!
I live on the outskirts of town and have nearby access to a greengrocery which grows some of their offerings themselves. Anything between 20%-70% cheaper than PakNSave.

Willem D.
28 May 2022
Misleading prices at PaknSave

I completely agree with this article. Three weeks ago I bought Avalance Thai Tumeric tea for $3.79 a box at PaknSave, Blenheim. Yesterday it had the SuperSaver tag on, $5.00 a box!

Anna C.
28 May 2022
OMG

Countdown freezing prices...lol...after they put the prices up the week before to counter their price freeze, what a joke!!! We're stuck between a rock & a hard spot

Richard W.
28 May 2022
Change to New world

New World has actually reduced items to a price level that is lower than before. The items I've seen didn't go up prior to fixing i.e. rolling meadow cheese 1kg prior @ $ 15 now @$11:60.