Mandatory unit pricing a win for consumers

But CHOICE says details need to be right to gain the most benefit.

Peak consumer group CHOICE welcomes the federal government’s announcement today of a mandatory code for a unit pricing regime, however it would like to be involved in the consultation over the details in order to develop a system that offers consumers the most benefit.

CHOICE has long campaigned for a national uniform system of unit pricing for Australian grocery shoppers. From December 1, 2009 supermarkets over 1000 square metres will now have to prominently display the unit price of most grocery items (e.g. per 100 grams, 100 millilitres) in addition to the usual ticketed price.

CHOICE says while it hopes that supermarkets display the unit price of items at a “prominent” size, a minimum font size is needed in order for consumers to really get the benefits of such a system. CHOICE says it's also imperative that unit pricing applies to specials and multi-buys.

“Unit pricing will make it very easy for savvy consumers to determine the best value across different product sizes and brands and it will really benefit those who choose to use it,” said CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

CHOICE encourages grocery shoppers to start using unit pricing where possible and notes that Aldi, Franklins and Woolworths have already begun the rollout and implementation in some stores. CHOICE expects supermarkets to play an important role in educating consumers on how to get the most out of unit pricing.

“There’s no doubt that over time, unit pricing will save consumers who choose to use it time and money. We have already seen how this has benefited shoppers in the United States and Europe,” said Mr Zinn.

While some retailers claim any cost of implementation will be passed on to consumers CHOICE says any minor increase in pricing will be far outweighed by the many tens of millions of dollars consumers could save by using unit pricing.

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