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CHOICE sizes up food packaging

Quantity statements on the front of food packaging cut through marketing mess

 20 January 2015

With food and groceries the second biggest cost-of-living concern for Australian consumers[1], CHOICE has compared a selection of similar-looking groceries from rice bubbles to laundry powder to show consumers how they can get more value at the supermarket.

“You don’t need celebrities or cartoon birds to tell you what the best buy is, if you are looking to get more bang for your buck with your weekly shop you should look past the flashy brands and bright sales signs and read the quantity statements on the front of pack,” says CHOICE Head of Media, Tom Godfrey.

“Retailers often try to trick consumers with fancy branding, celebrity spruikers and bold marketing claims on packaging so one of the best ways to work out how much you are getting for your money is to look at the quantity measure.”

 "It’s easy to see how consumers can get short changed because relying on a celebrity endorsement or the look and style of packaging when shopping can seem an easy option but similar looking products often have vastly different quantities.”

To demonstrate the value of quantity statements, CHOICE bought similar products that looked like they were a similar size. The results show how quantity statements on the front of packages can help shoppers get better value for money.

“Our comparison of two similar grocery baskets found that by paying attention to the quantity statements, shoppers can save money and take home more breakfast cereal, laundry powder and snacks,” Mr Godfrey says.

“We found although Mission Chips and Doritos look similar, Misson Chips give you an extra 55 grams of corn chips while their rival load you up with extra air. Arnotts get in on the act too with its White Chocolate Tim Tams serving up the same pack size and price as its much loved original Tim Tams but containing two fewer biscuits.”

“We know companies use a range of tricks to fool shoppers into buying less and paying more so shoppers need to size up their options on the supermarket shelves.”

The comparison comes following a National Measurement Institute review of almost 35,000 prepackaged items in 2013-14, which found numerous examples where product weights weren’t properly labelled. On average, 14% of prepacked items were not labelled in accordance with trade measurement law.[2]

“It’s vital that shoppers get what they pay for and that they are able to easily glance at a supermarket shelf to find out if they are getting value for money,” says Mr Godfrey.

[1] CHOICE, Consumer Pulse Report, December 2014. 'Australian housee purchasing."ekly shop, Electricity remains the number-one household cost-of-living concern at 79% (easing from 82%), followed by food and groceries at 78% (up from 75%)’ http//www.choice.com.au/consumerpulse

2.http://www.measurement.gov.au/TradeMeasurement/NationalData/Pages/default.aspx

[2] http://www.measurement.gov.au/TradeMeasurement/NationalData/Pages/default.aspx 

 

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