20aug supermarket concentration hero
Research report
4 August 2020

Supermarket power: are stores playing fair on price?

Two players dominate our supermarket trade. Are we getting the sharpest prices or paying more than we should?

Member comments

Get access to comment

Peter R.
21 Nov 2020
Supermarket pricing

I'm sure there is room for keener price competition between our supermarkets but another neglected area is the pricing they pass on from the big multinationals like Unilever, Mondelez, et al. Prices in UK supermarkets for products like deodorants, denture cleaner, shampoos and so on are a fraction of what we pay here, not because of our supermarkets but because the multinationals choose to compete via slick marketing rather than price.

Linda Y.
09 Aug 2020
Abuse of suppliers by Countdown during Covid?

Countdown lost my custom when it comes to meat and vegetables as I discovered the had used Covid as an excuse to give a very low price to growers and suppliers. I heard stories of people being told”We are your own buyers. Take our price as you won’t be able to sell. Would lover Consumer to check this. I now shop in Farmers markets and local butchers.

Barbara E.
08 Aug 2020
Meat prices

Yes why is our meat so damned pricey? Was telling my son that we had meat meals every day of the week when I was a kid - we were not rich, Dad was a mechanic, and Mum stayed home and looked after us 4 kids. Why could we afford lamb, beef, steak meals most nights of the week, when we are earning so much more now and having to cut down on meat meals? Something is really wrong here in NZ.

Christopher C.
08 Aug 2020
Pricing is based on think of a number and add 30%!

Arrived here from U.K. four years ago and was stunned at the cost of groceries and more so when you realise that most of it is produced here in N.Z. The quality is very good, particularly fish and meat (although poorly butchered) but still very expensive. For instance, NZ lamb leg costs at least 30% more here than in the U.K. Why? No competition is why. Something that definitely needs looking into by government but no doubt vested interests will get in the way.

Dawn N.
08 Aug 2020
UK Comparison

We worked in UK for 18 years and suffered price shock on return to NZ too. Tesco is the major player in Supermarkets over there but we also had Waitrose, Sainsbury's Aldi, Lidl and Iceland plus small grocers. The choice of goods were baffling at times, with too much choice (43 brands of honey one day!) but the thing I noticed in particular was the choice of sizes. A lot of people these days live alone or as a couple and don't need as much as a family. We found individual servings, half loaves of bread, and one I particularly noticed was 6 slices of cheesecake in one pack with each slice a different flavour. I get frustrated at finding 3 or 5 serving packs in the meat dept here and when pointing out that we only needed two I was told to buy 2 packs and freeze the extra 4! I don't want to have to freeze things because I like fresh, and see no logical reason why a 2-pack can't be available.
Reference the price of NZ meat in UK, I bought 3 legs of NZ lamb, frozen, from Sainsburys for Christmas one year, much to the horror of our sheep farming relations back home when we told them the tiny price we had paid. The equivalent of approx NZ$10 each! Still haven't worked out how they could be imported and sold so cheaply.
Now retired and not having to count every penny I spend, although cautious, I gave up checking prices between the supermarkets and now shop solely at New World, for several reasons. Not sure why, but the number of harassed mothers and screaming children is lower there, (A child's scream plays havoc with my husbands hearing aids), the staff seem happier and the customers generally more relaxed. I also believe that although I might find something cheaper elsewhere, the prices balance out and New World's quality is generally better. This, of course, might only apply to my local shops, but they are the ones that concern me anyway.

08 Aug 2020
NZ lamb

Why is lamb dearer here? Because we are subsidising the exported lamb, that's why. Not only do we get the "rejects" that are not perfect enough for overseas customers, eg fruit, etc but we also pay a premium for anything that is exported from this country. During the lockdown lamb chops in my supermarket were $15.00 per kg, now it is back to $26.99 per kg "on special", reduced by $6.00 per kg. I can only assume that the low price was due to having a backlog of product that could not be exported at that time.

N R.
01 Nov 2020
And yet sheep and beef farmers have had it tough for so long

New Zealand consumers are paying more and more, and farmers are struggling because the prices they receive are so low. NZ farmers are having it so tough, with government regulation changes, constant farmer-bashing by politicians and the media, and climate conditions changing. It is no wonder whole farms are going into pine trees. Prices at the farm gate for sheep and beef are so poor and income from planting trees is better.

It is only going to get worse as production decreases due to changes in land use. Less land in food production equals lower production and even higher prices.

Alan B.
08 Aug 2020
Pricey Pineapple

I'm very frustrated with the price of Pineapple at my local Countdown.
They are usually $4.99 ea but this can vary to as low as $5.00 for 2.
I would like to see prices of goods at a steady reasonable price rather fluctuating wildly.

Peter C.
08 Aug 2020
Pricey Pineapples

Alan B - you need to compare the quality at each price.
It's possible that at $5 for 2 the pineapples were old stock that the supermarket wanted to clear quickly.

08 Aug 2020

Strange, I have been buying pineapples for $3.00 each for a couple of months now from Countdown in Christchurch.