Supermarket price monitoring to help Australians make informed choices at the checkout

Australian Treasury

The Albanese Government today welcomes the release of CHOICE’s first quarterly report into supermarket prices.

This is about making our supermarkets as competitive as they can be so Australians get the best prices possible.

Australians are under cost‑of‑living pressure, and we know that a lot of that pressure is piled on at the cash register.

This research will help consumers make more informed choices so they can get cheaper prices at the checkout.

The Albanese Government provided CHOICE with $1.1 million to conduct quarterly price monitoring reports for three years to help give Australians the information they need to get the best deal on their weekly shop.

Today’s CHOICE ‘basket of goods’ report using data from March of this year is the first of these quarterly updates designed to help consumers make informed decisions about what they’re buying.

This initiative is an important part of the government’s broader efforts to boost competition and put downward pressure on the price of essentials, including through our ongoing inquiry into pricing and competition in the supermarket sector run by the ACCC, the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct review, and the Competition Taskforce’s focus on cost‑of‑living initiatives.

We understand that Australians are under the pump and that’s why the government is focused on addressing inflation and easing the cost of living for Australians, with tax cuts for every taxpayer, energy rebates for households and small businesses and a suite of reforms and initiatives to help consumers get a better deal.

CHOICE’s next quarterly grocery price report will be released by the end of September 2024.

Background

CHOICE’s ‘basket of goods’ report found Aldi’s basket was about 25 per cent cheaper than comparable baskets at Coles and Woolworths, saving shoppers around $17 on a basket of 14 typical grocery items.

The average basket price for Aldi, Woolworths and Coles nation‑wide was:

  • Aldi: $51.51 (with and without specials)
  • Woolworths: $68.58 (without specials), $64.93 (with specials)
  • Coles: $69.33 (without specials), $68.52 (with specials)

Other findings include:

  • The absence of Aldi in Tasmania and the Northern Territory, means that shoppers end up paying higher prices.
  • The average price of the basket in Western Australia was about one dollar higher than in the eastern states.

State and territory averages

Australian Capital Territory

Average basket cost:

  • $62.62 (without specials) $61.21 (with specials)
  • Aldi $50.82
  • Woolworths: $68.25
  • Coles: $68.80

New South Wales

Average basket cost:

  • $63.22 (without specials) $61.78 (with specials)
  • Aldi: $50.82
  • Woolworths: $69.04
  • Coles: $69.80

Northern Territory

Average basket cost:

  • $68.62 (without specials) $66.19 (with specials)
  • Woolworths: $67.99
  • Coles: $69.24

Queensland

Average basket cost:

  • $62.82 (without specials) $61.40 (with specials)
  • Aldi: $51.52
  • Woolworths: $68.23
  • Coles: $68.70

South Australia

Average basket cost:

  • $62.92 (without specials) $61.43 (with specials)
  • Aldi: $51.52
  • Woolworths: $68.23
  • Coles: $69.03

Tasmania

Average basket cost:

  • $68.90 (without specials) $66.78 (with specials)
  • Woolworths: $67.95
  • Coles: $69.85

Victoria

Average basket cost:

  • $62.85 (without specials) $61.30 (with specials)
  • Aldi: $51.52
  • Woolworths: $68.66
  • Coles: $68.36

Western Australia

Average basket cost:

  • $64.19 (without specials) $62.69 (with specials)
  • Aldi: $52.52
  • Woolworths: $69.29
  • Coles: $70.78

Supermarkets and locations

CHOICE sent undercover shoppers into 81 supermarkets – 27 Woolworths, 27 Coles, 23 Aldi and 4 IGA stores in 27 locations across Australia.

CHOICE recorded regular prices as well as special prices at these supermarkets. Supermarket locations were chosen to give good coverage of socio‑economic status based on ABS Indexes and geographic spread across the country.

Grocery basket items

CHOICE’s full grocery basket consisted of 14 items, 12 of which were packaged products, either national brand or comparable supermarket brand/budget brand options (including beef mince and milk), with two fresh fruit and vegetable items (apples and carrots) completing the list:

Grocery items in CHOICE full 14‑item basket

  1. Apples
  2. Carrots
  3. Weet‑Bix
  4. Sliced white bread
  5. Flour
  6. Penne
  7. White sugar
  8. Tea bags
  9. Tinned diced tomatoes
  10. Block of tasty cheese
  11. Full‑cream dairy milk
  12. Frozen peas
  13. Beef mince
  14. Butter

IGA comparison

Mystery shops were completed at IGA where there were no Aldi supermarkets to compete with Coles and Woolworths (in the Northern Territory and Tasmania).

Grocery items in the 10‑item IGA basket (Northern Territory and Tasmania)

  1. Apples
  2. Carrots
  3. Weet‑Bix
  4. Sliced white bread
  5. Flour
  6. Penne
  7. White sugar
  8. Tea bags
  9. Tinned diced tomatoes
  10. Full‑cream dairy milk

In Tasmania, the cost of the 10 item IGA basket was $41.05, compared to $33.50 at Woolworths and $34.40 at Coles.

In the Northern Territory, the 10 items cost $46.75 at IGA, compared to $33.54 at Woolworths and $33.79 at Coles. However, CHOICE noted that prices and supply in the Northern Territory were impacted by Tropical Cyclone Megan and its aftermath at the time of this survey.

CHOICE intends to carry out a more comprehensive analysis of IGA prices in future quarterly reports.

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