Friday, May 27, 2022

Mike Hosking: If you look hard enough, you'll find deals on the supermarket shelves

The Herald focus team did what we should all be doing. They worked out exactly how much you can save at a supermarket if you want to.

Complaining about the price of things is easy. And when the two major players got into the game of making a contribution towards savings and price cuts, most people viewed it through a very cynical eye.

But what I have been trying to argue is that although there is no escaping price rises, inflation, and all the other issues the economy faces, it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be.

The supermarkets aren't the robber barons you want them to be despite what Consumer New Zealand and the Government are trying to tell you they are.

That late night legislation last week by the Government over land covenants and competition was window-dressing, given the supermarkets, pre the release of the Commerce Commission report, had already said they had stopped it and wouldn’t do it again.

By the way, this is a practice they should never have entered into, was shabby, and goes some way to explaining why so many see them the way they do.

Anyway, the Herald Focus team go out, grab a group of essentials items and compare price. The Warehouse price was $30.54, Pak N Save $31.27, and Countdown $41.28. So even on a comparatively small group of goods, there are big variances in price.

That backs up what I have been saying all along. If you think about it, look for the bargains, don’t get hung up on brands, or even the same product every time, you can help yourself out a lot.

Convenience is what the supermarkets rely on. Our laziness lets us down. Moaning takes very little effort but research and shopping around does. Hence, we do more of one than the other.

The difference between $30 and $40 on a small shop could well extrapolate out to the difference between $300 and $400 on a bigger shop. $100 difference for the same stuff is major.

It also explains why the Commerce Commission didn’t come up with anything really scandalous. It's simply because when you actually look, compare, and work at it, they are not in cahoots and they're not scandal merchants.

On any given day at any given place there are a world of variances and reasons for prices being what they are.

As always, the headline about cheese being $21 or the supermarkets ripping us off is more noise than it is reality.
Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

while there is no 'evidence' of price collusion, i can assure that three of them look at each other to drive the pricing signals - and thankfully keep each other in check.

case in point: basic sliced bread was 1.40 at all 3 places. first countdown raised it to 1.50, expecting others to follow suit. but new world put bread on 'rollback' and reduced it to 1.19 (the price before recent change). within a week, countdown brought it down to 1.20 (its earlier price in 2021). not to be outdone, the warehouse went down to 1.00 (which was the price in 2019).

what's the true cost & what's the markup? who knows & who cares! just allow amazon to enter and hope for some major change...