The grocery savings hidden in plain sight
Grocery shoppers are missing out on savings at the supermarket by not taking full advantage of unit pricing.
Unit pricing requires large grocery retailers to display shelf labelling that shows consumers how much they are paying for a standard measurement - for example per kilo or per litre - so they can easily compare across products and brands.
But Ian Jarratt of the Queensland Consumers Association says supermarket shoppers are not taking full advantage of the money-saving labels.
He says he suspects most shoppers only use unit prices to compare different pack sizes of a product within and between brands and whether it's cheaper to buy fresh meat and veggies loose or already packaged.
However, he says there are many more comparisons that can be made to help you get better value.
For example, it can be cheaper to buy an alternative product that will still do the job (for example basmati rice versus long grain rice); and between known brands and generic brands.
Some items are cheaper in different packaging (cans versus bottles or buying oils in a bottle or aerosol).
Savings savvy shoppers should also look at the difference in costs to buy fruit and veggies fresh, in a can or frozen.
Last week for example brussels sprouts, grown in Australia were selling fresh for $10.90 a kilo in Woolworths while the Woolworths frozen version were $2.35 for a 500g pack which works out at $4.70 a kilogram.
And how much are you prepared to pay for convenience.
"Many food and grocery items are now sold prepackaged and the amount in these varies greatly," Mr Jarratt says.
"Just comparing the selling prices of prepackaged products does not allow you to compare the cost per unit of weight or volume.
"Indeed, looking only at the selling price can result in very poor value because although small pack sizes generally have the lowest selling price they have highest cost per unit of measure."
At Coles Uncle Toby's original oats in sachets cost $6.30 or $1.37 per 100g. The same oats in a box and not in sachets cost $1 box which works out at 60c a kilogram.
And don't forget too check the deli prices.
Still at Coles prepackaged Coles Deli brand double smoked ham was $5.30 for a 150g pack or $35.33 a kilogram.
At the in-store deli triple smoked leg ham was on special for $26 a kilogram and even when not on special was $31.50.
"The differences in unit prices between different pack sizes and between loose and prepackaged products are often very large," Mr Jarratt says.
And when comparing between stores - keep an close eye on the package sizes.
For example Aldi sells a 150g jar of Moccona coffee but at Coles and Woolies the closest in size are 100g or 200g.
Working out the best deal needs unit pricing. In this case the difference in price per 100g was $4.50 the lowest up to $9.95.
Originally published as The grocery savings hidden in plain sight