Our latest supermarket survey found products can be on special so often shoppers risk being misled about the savings they’re getting.

Supermarkets use a confusing array of terms in their price promotions, making it harder for shoppers to gauge whether they’re getting a genuine discount.

Stores enticing customers with price promotions must be offering a genuine deal. Otherwise, they’ll mislead consumers and breach the Fair Trading Act.

Kiwi consumers also face one of the most concentrated supermarket industries in the world, with just two big players, Countdown and Foodstuffs (owner of the New World and Pak’nSave brands).

Despite this, the industry hasn’t had a lot of scrutiny. It’s time for that to change.

We want the Commerce Commission to use its powers to investigate competition and prices in the supermarket sector.

Calling out supermarket “specials”

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 playfair@consumer.org.nz.

Member comments

Get access to comment

29 Aug 2020

I swapped over to the Airpoints option only to find out later that you have to spend $200 minimum to get one airpoint! Why don't they inform you of this before you're tempted to do so? The checkout operators aren't au fait with the terms of the Clubcard. They can't even tell you what you have to spend to get one Clubcard point. I say the "rules and requirements" of Clubcard should be displayed in large font near the checkout so customers can brush up on the "advantages" etc and make an informed decision. I agree with the other comments made by Clubcard holders re the so-called specials.

Russell F.
09 Aug 2020
regular specials

There are several products that I regularly use that I only buy when on special. The specials often last for 2 to 3 weeks and run every few months. By stocking up I rarely run out before they are on special again. I have also noticed that, at least some, products are on special at the same time in both NewWorld and Countdown which makes me suspect that these specials are driven by the supplier.

Personally I am less concerned with specials in supermarkets where I am buying standard stuff so I know what is going on and much more concerned with other major retailers - Farmers, Briscoes, et al where I am making one off or infrequent purchases. There I really don't know if the price is special or not!

For any significant purchases I generally use priceme or pricespy to sanity check prices.

Phil D.
08 Aug 2020

500 gram butter which is the normal weight of butter but purchasing 400 gram butter not realising the weight difference.
There can be a slight discount which attracts you to pickup.