Supermarket price survey

And the cheapest chain is ... Aldi.
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  • Updated:3 Jul 2007

03.Other chains

Cheapest supermarkets

  Comparison between Coles, Woolworths and IGA basket prices in all cities surveyed
Including specials Excluding specials
Store (number surveyed) Average basket price ($) Comparison with average Average basket price ($) Comparison with average
Coles (30) 97.47 6.0% cheaper 104.87 3.2% cheaper
Woolworths/Safeway (28) 105.43 1.6% more expensive 107.49 0.8% cheaper
IGA (14) 108.3 4.4% more expensive 112.72 4.2% more expensive

Table notes

Aldi's basket of items cost just $55.70. However, Aldi is not included in this table because it sells only its own brands, so is not directly comparable with other supermarkets.

How the supermarket chains compare

There was no runaway winner in terms of the cheapest major supermarket. Although Coles had more specials at the time of our survey (with around 10 items in the basket on special, compared to around two or three items at Woolworths/Safeway), its prices were found to be only 2.6% cheaper than the Woolworths/Safeway basket when the specials were disregarded — $104.83 (1.3% below average) versus $107.66 (1.3% above average) for the Woolworths/Safeway basket.

Specials can make a substantial difference to your weekly shop, so it's a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for them when wandering the aisles. With specials included, the average Coles basket was 7.7% cheaper than the Woolworths/Safeway basket.

Although IGA is one of the largest groups of independent supermarkets and continues to grow in size, it still doesn’t offer tough competition for the two major supermarkets. When we compared Coles, IGA and Woolworths/Safeway baskets for price, the IGA basket was found to be the priciest at $108.30 (including specials) — 4% more expensive than average (see table for full results).

Since our last survey of supermarket prices in 2003, there’s been a 12% average increase in the cost of the CHOICE shopping basket from major supermarkets. This is lower than the 16% CPI rise in food in that period. (See  'Price hikes') for a table showing how much each item in the CHOICE basket has increased or decreased in price since 2003.)

More specials also probably contribute to a difference in how much the two major supermarkets have gone up in price since 2003. It's clear even from a glance at the store-by-store percentage increases from 2003 in the stores surveyed in both years that Woolworths/Safeway has gone up considerably more than Coles: on average 14% vs 6%, including specials.

Some Woolworths/Safeway stores rose in price by as much as 17% or 18% for the items in the CHOICE basket, while one Coles store's prices even fell by 1%. The difference in price rise when you exclude specials is smaller: on average 11% higher for Coles versus 13% for Woolworths/Safeway. 


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