Supermarket Shopping Guide
How do supermarkets in New Zealand compare with those overseas? Which of them offers the lowest prices and how do you get the best value? This article includes an accurate grocery price guide for late-2008.
If you're coming to New Zealand from a larger western country, the first thing you're likely to notice is that, however big they are, there's lesschoice of products in the supermarkets here. This is especially noticeable for lines such as pre-prepared meals. Fewer product-lines are a natural result of the small population here and New Zealand's geographical isolation.
Which Supermarket Is Cheapest?
The New Zealand Consumer's Association carries out regular surveys of supermarkets. For a typical family they currently report that thecheapest stores are Pak'N Save branches in Christchurch.
For a typical basket of groceries in Christchurch, Woolworths is generally around 10 percent more expensive than Pak'N Save.
Outside the large cities, grocery prices rise. Many people who live in small towns will drive to city supermarkets every so often and stock up on non-perishable goods.
There are two main supermarket groups in NewZealand:
The Countdown / Woolworths / Foodtown / 3 Guys chains / Big Fresh / Price Chopper chains.
Pak'N Save / New World / Four Square chains.
Woolworths is the winner for pleasurable shopping. The Woolworths shops are laid out more spaciously and tend to be quieter than the others, probably because their prices are higher.
Countdown stores are slightly lessspacious, a bit busier (and a bit cheaper), although recently renovated stores are spacious.
Pak'N Save is generally busy - it's known jokingly as "Push'N Shove" - and has a lower standard of decor, with bare concrete floors.
In Woolworths and Countdown, shop assistants pack your bags for you. In Pak'N save, you pack your own.
Price-guides for shopping in New Zealand often takeno account of the frequent special offers in supermarkets or orchard outlets in cities.
Fresh farm produce can be cheaper in the countryside but the "orchard shops" within cities are very competitive, often offering significantly lower prices on fruit, vegetables and eggs than the supermarkets.
All supermarket groups run frequent special offers on their products. In the price list below the"Bargain Buy" column lists typical special offer prices. Some of the prices quoted in the "Bargain Buy" column - milk and bread, for example - are everyday Pak'N Save prices.
Unless stated otherwise, the prices are quoted for supermarket own-brand products rather than branded goods.
We base our prices on careful, price conscious shopping at supermarkets and typical orchard outlets in and aroundChristchurch or Auckland. If you have neither the time nor the inclination to:
visit two supermarkets in a week (at least once to Pak'N Save)
also visit an orchard outlet
buy special offers in quantity (except for quickly perishables such as fruit)
then you should expect to pay more for your groceries. These higher prices are shown in the "Regular Price" column.
At manyorchard outlets, it makes good sense to buy larger quantities of potatoes, carrots and onions because the bulk-buy discounts are large.
If you'd like to check-out Woolworth's prices for yourself, they offer on-line shopping. This can be a good way to get an idea of grocery prices - although often not the cheapest prices - in New Zealand.
The Canny Shopper's Grocery Price Guide 2008
Note: NewZealand weights and measures are metric.
1 kg = 2.2 pounds. 1 litre = 1.76 UK pints. 1 litre = 2.1 US pints.
Item | Bargain Buy (or in season price) | Regular Price (or out of season price) |
Economy White Bread (700g slice loaf) | $1.30 | $1.30 |
Economy Wholemeal Bread (700g slice loaf) | $1.30 | $1.30 |
Burgen Wholegrain Bread (700g slice loaf) | $2.99 | $4.15 |
White Flour (5 kg)...