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Unit Pricing Allows Military Precision in the Shopping Aisle

Delia Rickard
17th September, 2014

Save money on your grocery bill by comparing unit prices.

Most supermarkets and large grocery retailers are required to display unit prices.

You will find them on in-store shelf price labels and promotional signs, online listings, and in newspaper and catalogue advertisements.

The best thing about unit pricing is that it allows you to compare the prices of products, regardless of their size or brand, by using standard units of measurement.

Unit prices appear as per litre, kilogram, 100 millilitres, 100 grams, 10 grams or per item, depending on the type of product.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently went shopping for several grocery items; carrots, apples, bread, chicken breast, eggs, rice, milk and chocolate.

We found that if consumers compare different brands and sizes, as well as pre-packaged and loose products, they could save around $250 each year on these products alone just by selecting the product with the lower unit price.

This was a big saving for only a handful of products.

Think about how much you could save if you used unit pricing on a broader range of products for most of your grocery shopping throughout the year.

Another good thing about unit pricing is that it can cut down your shopping time.

These days doing the grocery shopping can take military precision – for most busy people it is an ‘in and out’ mission.

Unit pricing means you don’t have to waste time working out whether the jumbo pack or the family pack of toilet paper rolls offers you the best value for money.

Follow these tips to get the most out of unit pricing:

  • Compare the unit price of different sizes of the same brand’s product, as well as products from different brands of the same product.
  • Look out for special offers which might temporarily have the lowest unit price – but not always.
  • The unit price of large packs is often lower than small or medium size packs.  But avoid buying a bigger pack if it’s likely to go to waste.
  • If a product is available loose or pre-packaged, check the unit price of both.
  • The same product may be sold in different parts of the supermarket, for example, cheese, meats, seafood, nuts, fruit and vegetables. So, compare unit prices in different parts of the supermarket

For more information visit: http://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/groceries/grocery-unit-prices

Happy shopping.

Delia Rickard
Deputy Chair
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

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