Grocery pricing in the ACT on the new Government site.

astrojax 6 August 2008 27

Woolies seem to pip Coles in dairy, but otherwise Coles in the ACT conforms with the national trend.

http://www.grocerychoice.gov.au/Basket.aspx?region=11

That said, there are Aldi stores in canberra, so why not reflect them in the list?  What do canberrans reckon about this grocery-watch thing? 

And why isn’t high school maths good enough to let people work out the best price of two competing items??

[ED – sure, compare the price for 6x800ml or 4x1100ml? want a calculator]?

UPDATED: The Chief Minister has used this occasion to pledge support for competition.

Apparently this will mean another supermarket in both Kingston and Dickson (and then I will never again set foot in that stinking Woolies)


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27 Responses to Grocery pricing in the ACT on the new Government site.
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jakez jakez 3:25 pm 07 Aug 08

Thumper said :

Coles and Woolies are a duopoly. They can charge what they want at any time. Thus, they can drive small independent stores out of business by keeping prices low for a time.

Ever wondered what happened to the old corner store and why petrol stations are now selling more and more consumables.

Once the independents have gone, watch the price fixing and rises.

Coles and Woolies are not a duopoly and they cannot charge what they want at any time. Please do not misuse terms that have specific economic meanings.

They are two companies that have a very large share in a monopolistically competitive market. This share allows them to influence prices and (and I put this hypothetically) engage in the behaviour you have described.

If you actually have a source to back up your claims I will be more than happy to read and analyse it. Beyond that I will neither suggest that you are correct, incorrect, or somewhere in between.

I will say that I do not believe that food provision has a high barrier to entry, however I am happy to be shown to be incorrect in that regard.

As for the corner store, it’s still there. Where do you live?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:53 pm 07 Aug 08

There is often a ploy by supermarkets to make the bigger/larger packages of goods actually more expensive than the smaller packs

I noticed this happening with butter last year. The price of a 500g block of butter was more than twice the price of a 250g block, sometimes by as much as 20%. People seemed to catch on after a while – there’d be no 250g blocks left but a shelf full of the larger blocks.

Aldi’s ‘cents per 100g/ml’ approach is law in Germany and makes it very easy to compare similar products with different prices and different quantities. Which do you buy – the 210g pack of corn chips at $1.89 or the 230g pack at $2.15? Having a sticker that says ’90c per 100g’ and ’93c per 100g’ makes it much easier to decide, especially for stuff like beetroot that (allegedly) all comes from the same factory in the first place.

Don’t even get me started on canned products that only have to report gross weight. John West Tuna Slices in Oil 185g and Sirena Tuna in Oil 185g. Same price, same size – but one contains 60% tuna while the other contains 81%.

Thumper Thumper 12:53 pm 07 Aug 08

No, but competition policy comes firmly under the ACCC, which has always been a paper tiger.

jakez jakez 12:30 pm 07 Aug 08

And as the report said, a lack of competition is often due to local planning problems, which also isn’t the perview of the Federal Government.

Thumper Thumper 12:30 pm 07 Aug 08

Coles and Woolies are a duopoly. They can charge what they want at any time. Thus, they can drive small independent stores out of business by keeping prices low for a time.

Ever wondered what happened to the old corner store and why petrol stations are now selling more and more consumables.

Once the independents have gone, watch the price fixing and rises.

neanderthalsis neanderthalsis 12:21 pm 07 Aug 08

tylersmayhem said :

I think this website is just another example of the KRudd government not keeping it’s election promises.

How so Big Dave?

Well, we had a promise in the lead up to the election that KRudd would make groceries cheaper. So we had an enquiry which found that the three main contributing factors to grocery prices were the drought, international economy and pricing pressures and the lack of competition. And guess what, all three are well outside of government control and therefore KRudd can wash his hands and say “well, nothing more we can do” in much the same manner he did after the petrol price enquiry. (Deja vu anyone?)

So they set up a website to inform the public and increase competition.

They say you should never hold an enquiry unless you know in advance what the outcome will be, and the grocery price enquiry could have come up with the same conclusions by asking half a dozen peasants at the Queanbeyan woolies.

Sir Humphrey Appleby would be proud of our petty bureaucrat of a PM.

jakez jakez 11:53 am 07 Aug 08

ED – sure, compare the price for 6×800ml or 4×1100ml? want a calculator]

No. 6×8 and 4×11 should be quite easily calculated in the head. One then has to divide the price by the total to get a price per 100mL. One can then make a decision for themselves as to whether any price improvement is worth the particular packaging.

However I realise I am a jerk that is good with numbers and that many probably can’t do this, can but with great difficulty making it not . My fiancee is one example (she has the creativity genes), so I do this for us both. I’d be shocked however if a mobile phone of today does not have a calculator as a feature.

Do they still teach times tables in schools?

Deano Deano 11:38 am 07 Aug 08

Thumper said :

And the consumer continues to get screwed by the duopoly of Woolworths and Coles.

Please explain how Woolworths and Coles are screwing the consumer when they are consistently cheaper than the independents? I notice that IGA is now winging that it is not fair that the independents are being shown as poor value by comparison.

And if you are so concerned about the prices the producers are getting, send them a cheque – at least that way they will get the extra money.

tylersmayhem tylersmayhem 11:16 am 07 Aug 08

I think this website is just another example of the KRudd government not keeping it’s election promises.

How so Big Dave?

peterh peterh 10:35 am 07 Aug 08

smokey4 said :

Agree with Thumper – a waste of time.

If you wish to save money buy Fruit, veg, meat etc at “farmers markets” like the new one opening at Snow town. Down in Vic these along with Aldi are giving the big supermarkets a run.

mother natures is good for fruit and veg, as is the greengrocer in chisholm shops. we break up our spend at the supermarket so that we get best value. and considering the new sausage creations coming out of the butcher at kambah village (as well as his foray into jerky), we managed to feed 2 adults and 3 kids (twins are now on solids) really well.

smokey4 smokey4 10:05 am 07 Aug 08

Agree with Thumper – a waste of time.

If you wish to save money buy Fruit, veg, meat etc at “farmers markets” like the new one opening at Snow town. Down in Vic these along with Aldi are giving the big supermarkets a run.

jakez jakez 9:48 am 07 Aug 08

Jonathon Reynolds said :

I challenge anyone next time they are out shopping shopping to work out what the cheapest way to buy Vegemite is without a calculator handy. There is a plethora of jars (and a tube) all with odd sizes that it comes in.

There is often a ploy by supermarkets to make the bigger/larger packages of goods actually more expensive than the smaller packs. This plays on the psychology that bulk packaging should nominally reflect better value for money.

We need legislated unit pricing.

I have never seen that and I often pedantically work out the value of going bigger however I’ll take your word for it.

I do note that you as the almighty wise johnboy decree that people are too stupid for their own good and thus the Government must step in. What would we ever do without johnboy and the Federal Government…

I for one can’t wait until the wonderful day when our wise betters do all of our thinking for us.

As for the topic at hand, I think Thumper summed it up perfectly. Grocery Watch and Fuel Watch make Hollowmen look like a documentary.

‘Public Choice theory’ and ‘spin over substance’ are all the tools one needs to understand the actions of Government.

Mælinar - *spoiler alert* I've seen S04E13 Mælinar - *spoiler alert* I've seen S04E13 8:32 am 07 Aug 08

So how is this any different to the Stock Exchange top 100 quotes that get trotted out every night on the news chaps ?

I doubt anybody gives a flying about the figure, all they want to know is what their shares are doing, yet every night on the news out it comes.

What it is, in effect is a 5 second executive view of the Stock Exchange. Enough time to precisely say either ‘it went up’, or ‘it went down’.

Requiring the Government to tell you how much watties spaghetti with sausages is before you hit the supermarket aisle is so retarded a concept I’ll pause now to allow a few punters to gracefully step back from the fray before I attack.

Thumper Thumper 8:21 am 07 Aug 08

What an unbelievable waste of time and money. Besides the fact that it makes not one iota to price differences anywhere.

It’s out of date, does not take into consideration specials, and cannot influence anyone to do anything to their prices.

And the consumer continues to get screwed by the duopoly of Woolworths and Coles.

Makes the Hollowmen look like a documentary.

johnboy johnboy 11:42 pm 06 Aug 08

I never said you couldn’t choose to care about it.

caf caf 11:18 pm 06 Aug 08

Independents don’t get to screw their suppliers the way the big guys do.

Not that consumers should care about that.

Well, one of the reason I shop at the local independent is that I don’t agree with the way the Colesworths screw their suppliers, and don’t want to be a party to it.

ant ant 10:53 pm 06 Aug 08

futto said :

I’m starting to fear this governments solution to everything is a webpage.

… after it’s been fed through the compulsory ISP-level net-nanny….

bubzie bubzie 10:50 pm 06 Aug 08

wow, what a waste of time, and money..

bd84 bd84 10:25 pm 06 Aug 08

Hey look.. A complete utter wast of time and money of a website, as was krudd’s superficial “enquiry into grocery prices” which was an attempt the lure the gullible people into voting for him.

The website is rediculous, it supposedly shows an average price of a similar basket of goods and basics that you have no idea what the goods are. How they actually calculate the cost would be at best a poor estimate. For a start the areas are crazy, while Canberra would work out roughly suitable for an area you look ar the surrounding area it covers everywhere from Young to Queanbeyan and down to Eden and the Victorian border. How reliable would a measure of prices in Young, Queanbeyan and Eden be? and this “average” would also be interesting, over how many stores per retailer are they averaged? and the comparability in the quality and brands of the items selected.

Again the ACCC doesn’t know their own legislation and the scope of other retailers in the market. It’s a bit like Mr Supabarn’s story in the paper the other week where he drew a little map to show competition in the Canberra market, conviently for his point he left off all the Aldi stores and all other small supermarkets.

Anyway from every area I clicked in each state the only difference was about $2 and it looked like Woolworths were just as cheap as Coles in a lot of “markets” and almost always cheaper in the basic goods, unless you count Aldi to sacrifice all selection and quality. It’s not going to change a thing and the market will continue along in the same way.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 8:55 pm 06 Aug 08

Independents don’t get to screw their suppliers the way the big guys do.

Big chains buy lots more than independents, and expect discounts (which is why they are often cheaper than independents). The free market at work, and the consumer wins.

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