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Supermarket price survey 2017

CHOICE says Aldi has the cheapest grocery basket in Australia

06 June 2017

CHOICE's latest supermarket price survey, which looks at the average cost of a basket of 33 items at Coles, Woolworths and Aldi from 110 supermarkets across Australia, has found you can save nearly $80 by switching from leading brands to a basket of Aldi budget products.  

"With our latest Consumer Pulse research finding 71% of Australians feeling the pressure at the checkout, it seems the popularity of Aldi and supermarket brand baskets looks set to continue,"[1] says CHOICE's head of media Tom Godfrey.

CHOICE found: 

• The most expensive was our basket of leading brand items purchased from Coles ($170.54) and Woolworths ($168.74).[2]  

• Savings can be made by buying comparable supermarket brand products with Aldi's basket ($102.50) cheaper than Woolworths ($112.89) and Coles ($113.10) 

• The biggest savings were for budget baskets[3] with Aldi ($91.76) the price leader followed by Woolworths ($97.31) and Coles ($99.40). 

"Although the big supermarkets make a lot of very loud claims about value, it's clear Aldi is Australia's cheapest supermarket and it is forcing the big two to compete on price," Mr Godfrey says.

"This comes through strongly at a state level with non-Aldi states such as Tasmania ($173) and the Northern Territory ($171) serving up some of the most expensive leading brand baskets. 

"While Aldi's push west is likely a key factor in South Australia ($168.10) and Western Australia ($168.60) recording the cheapest leading brand basket prices. 

"But Aldi's offering won't be for everyone with the German raider lagging behind Coles and Woolworths when it comes to stocking leading brand items and products with some Australian ingredients," says Mr Godfrey. 

CHOICE found of the 28 food items in our basket, country of origin statements indicate the Coles supermarket brand basket had 22 containing at least some Australian ingredients, Woolworths had 21 and Aldi only had 15.

"The other trend that came through strongly was the supermarkets' continued use of 'copycat' and 'phantom' brands. Copycat products look similar to leading brand items when it comes to colour and design but there's a big difference in price," Mr Godfrey says.

"When it comes to 'phantom' brands such as GoldenVale, Trimat, Clean and Goliath – which are all owned by the big retailers – it seems some retailers are desperate to create the illusion of choice on their shelves," says Mr Godfrey.  

Key findings

• Our budget basket from Aldi was cheapest ($91.76) followed by our budget baskets from Woolworths ($97.31) and Coles ($99.40).

• Just $1.80 separated the cost of our leading brand basket of 33 items at Coles ($170.54) and Woolworths ($168.74)

• The cheapest copycat basket was at Aldi ($102.50) followed by Woolworths ($112.89) and Coles ($113.10).

• The most expensive state to buy our leading brand basket (Coles and Woolworths stores only) was Tasmania ($173) followed by Queensland ($171.90) and the Northern Territory ($171).

• The cheapest leading brand basket was in South Australia ($168.10) followed by Western Australia ($168.60). 

• Country of origin statements indicate that of the 28 food items in our basket, the Coles brand basket had 22 containing at least some Australian ingredients, Woolworths and the leading brand baskets had 21, and Aldi had 17.

• The leading brand basket we priced at IGA (with just 25 of the 28 packaged products) was 6–7% more expensive than the same basket at Coles and Woolworths.  

Media contact: Tom Godfrey, CHOICE, Head of Media and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669 

How we survey

Supermarkets and locations 

We sent undercover shoppers into 110 supermarkets – 32 Coles, 32 Woolworths, 26 Aldi and 20 IGA stores – in 33 locations across Australia in March. Supermarket locations were chosen to give good coverage of socio-economic status and geographic spread across the country. We surveyed supermarkets in clusters so that each store has local competition.

Grocery basket items

Our full grocery basket consisted of 33 items, 28 of which were packaged products, either leading brand or comparable supermarket brand/budget brand options (including beef mince, chicken breast fillets and eggs), with five fresh fruit and veg items (apples, bananas, broccoli, carrots and potatoes) completing the list. Prices quoted exclude specials.

Due to item availability a smaller but identical basket of 25 packaged leading brand items was used for the IGA comparison. In total our shoppers collected price data for 77 different grocery items. For the country of origin comparison we looked at the labels of the 28 food items our basket.

[1] Consumer Pulse Report.

[2] These leading brand basket prices exclude specials, which are subject to change. If you include specials you can save six percent on a leading brand basket at Woolworths ($157.83) and nine percent at Coles ($154.89).

[3] For our budget baskets we took our supermarket brand baskets and substituted items for the supermarket's budget versions where they were available.