Help at hand but supermarket habits may prevail

A NEW website that helps grocery shoppers find the best value for money won't change where Ballina woman Helen Jones does her shopping.

Ms Jones said even if she knew a product was cheaper at another supermarket, she would still shop at Woolworths and Aldi, 'where I know where everything is'.

The Federal Government website – www.GROCERYchoice.gov.au – was launched this week and provides monthly comparisons of a basket of selected groceries from supermarkets in 61 locations across the country.

The service fulfils an election promise by the federal government, and started just after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a report of its six-month inquiry into grocery prices, which found there was not enough competition among supermarkets.

It also found the entry of Aldi into the eastern states had provided a substantial and beneficial impact on competition in the grocery market, benefiting even those who didn't shop at Aldi because of the downward pressure it put on prices.

“Food is the biggest waste of money and where I can save money I will,” Ms Jones said.

“But I won't skimp on some things, like coffee. Aldi doesn't have a wide range of products and I get the brand I like from Woolies.”

The website shows Coles is the cheapest of the major supermarkets, while Aldi, now in 40 of the 61 regions, is the cheapest in relation to their general staple items, by up to 25 per cent.

Ms Jones, a habitual Woolworths customer, said she shopped at Aldi for certain items because she knew they were cheaper there.

“I shop at Woolies and go to Aldi for some specialty items, like cheap napkins,” she said.

The website sources prices from independent monthly surveys of about 500 products from 600 supermarkets, and will be updated on the first business day of each month.

But while Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the website was part of a strategy to increase competition in the grocery sector, he wouldn't guarantee it would bring down prices.



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