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Australians fed up with fake supermarket price tricks: survey

Media release: CHOICE calls on Australians to stand up to the supermarkets.

CHOICE surveyed Australians on their use of "unit pricing" – the shop labels that show Australians the real value of a product and not just the packet cost.

Unit pricing shows prices represented per litre/grams/kilograms/etc to provide a true comparison of cost between different packet sizes:

wrong unit pricing

In the national survey CHOICE found that while the majority of people like and use unit pricing, 64% of people had issues when trying to use it. The most common problems were:

  • different units of measure for the same products
  • difficult to read or obscured/covered unit pricing
  • unit pricing not being displayed at all.

Further survey results, imagery and video are available for media on Dropbox.

Treasury has launched its own consumer survey, seeking feedback on the unit pricing system, with the survey closing on 28 February.

"The research couldn't be clearer – Australians value unit pricing and want to see it improved so that they can easily make comparisons in the supermarket" says CHOICE Food and Health Expert Linda Przhedetsky.

"By taking a few minutes to complete Treasury's survey, Australians can stand up to the supermarkets and their price tricks. The overwhelming majority of people find unit pricing helpful and it's now up to the Government to update the rules to ensure that shoppers can compare prices whether they are in a hardware store, chemist or supermarket."

"Fundamental right for people who are blind or have low vision"

Vision Australia Government Relations Manager Chris Edwards said unit pricing is a significant issue for people who are blind or have low vision.

"It's really important for unit pricing to be displayed in a clear and readable font style and for font size to be as large as possible to maximise readability for people who have low vision, including many older Australians" says Edwards.

"With the increased availability of online shopping, it's also important for unit pricing information to be a requirement on grocery shopping websites in a way that complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

"Being able to shop in the same way as everyone else is a fundamental right for people who are blind or have low vision and unit pricing is just one way to make sure we are not discriminated against when undertaking this fundamental activity."

Treasury's survey closes on 28 February 2019.

Media contact: Jonathan Brown, CHOICE, Senior Media Adviser and Spokesperson: 0430 172 669 / media@choice.com.au

Vision Australia contact: Jamila Savoy, Senior Communications Adviser, 0403 003 238 / jamila.savoy@visionaustralia.org

Editor's notes:

CHOICE has an explainer video available for embedding here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=55&v=fdNjexajHHU

Further survey results, raw video file and photos of Chris Edwards are available on Dropbox link here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9twvo3ouqdas7d4/AACbkdWyt5o54EtovmPE3ux9a?dl=0