How prices compare

NZ has enjoyed the largest annual fall in food prices since 2012, but how do the major chains compare in the competitive food stakes?

NZ has enjoyed the largest annual fall in food prices since 2012, but how do the major chains compare in the competitive food stakes?

SAVING ON OUR DAILY BREAD: The item Kiwis put most in their shopping trolley has also had the biggest reduction in price over the four years since The Gisborne Herald started to compare the cost of eight basic pantry items across town. The fiercely competitive market of bread is saving customers around 50 cents a loaf today compared to 2012. Standing in the bread aisle at Countdown is assistant store manager Anthony Littlejohn. Overall prices have increased between one and two percent on the staples at Gisborne’s two leading supermarkets since 2012 but are still lower than a price spike in 2011, and having a cup of tea hasn’t changed at all. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

ELEVEN common grocery items priced at Gisborne’s two main supermarkets have shown a cost increase of around 20 percent since 2012.

A smaller sample size of eight gave Pak’n Save the edge over Countdown coming in cheaper by 34 cents to buy milk, bread, eggs, butter, flour, tea bags, pasta and potatoes.

But when mince, broccoli and oranges were added, Countdown was cheaper with its mince at only $12 a kilogram.

The overall result differs to national figures released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand, which show the country has had the largest annual fall in food prices since 2012, with a 1.3 percent decrease overall.

Statistics NZ analyst Geoffrey Wong said Statistics NZ sampled around 10,000 food items across 12 different regions but did not include Gisborne supermarkets.

He cautioned to take the local sample with a grain of salt because of fluctuations in seasonal prices of fruit and vegetables, the size of the sample and the influence of world prices on export commodities like meat.

The Gisborne Herald 2012 prices are from November and the 2016 prices were taken in January.

Overall, prices on the eight basic items have increased between 1 and 2 percent across the two leading supermarkets and are still lower than a price spike recorded in 2011.

Notable exceptions since 2012 include a big jump in the price of a kilogram of mince and about a 30 percent decrease in the cost of bread.

Pak’n Save Gisborne manager Ewan Atherton, whose aisles had the cheapest loaf in town on Thursday at 95 cents, said bread was the most competitive commodity in the New Zealand grocery market.

“It’s ferociously competitive.”

Bread has decreased significantly in price across all five stores sampled over the last three-and-a-half years.

Comparatively, Countdown commercial manager Stuart Barnett said they tracked a basket of 100 of the most commonly purchased items in their supermarkets and this had come down by 2.1 percent in the year to December 2015.

“This basket includes meat, produce and dairy items, where there can be substantial seasonal and commodity price variations.”

The common meal of meat and potatoes pushed this week’s grocery shop up in Gisborne.

There was a particularly good special on mince in 2012 at Countdown, which skewed 2016’s results slightly, but there has been an overall hike in beef prices due to demand outstripping supply in the world beef market, said Beef + Lamb general manager Lisette Knight.

Having a simple cup of tea costs the same today as it did in 2012. The cheapest pack of 30 tea bags had zero increase across four of the shops, and a 17 percent reduction at the Kaiti SuperValue store.

But if you have milk with your tea, that changes things. Milk has crept back up in price since 2012 but is still not near where it was in 2011. The cheapest bottle of blue top milk has gone up around 9 percent, except for at the dairy where it dropped almost 20 percent in price compared to 2012.

Difficult for small business to be competitive

A dairy owner, who The Herald is not identifying, said it was hard to stay competitive but he passed on the savings where he could to his customers.

He bought a lot of his items in bulk from Pak’nSave because he had no choice. While he tried to deal with local people and suppliers when he could, often he could not get products at the same low cost as the supermarkets.

Seasonal demand also dictated the price. For example, it was more expensive to buy mayonnaise from suppliers in summer because that was when people wanted it most. Although the dairy was the most expensive, it also had the biggest overall decrease in prices since 2012 — a reduction of 5.7 percent across the eight basic grocery items.

Gisborne Budget Advisory Service manager Lynda Markie said finding money for food remained an issue for many of its clients because people often prioritised other expenses and bill payments first.

“When other costs like rent, power and fuel increase, that impacts on a family’s grocery shopping. Combine that with low or inconsistent incomes that we often see in this region and we have families who frequently struggle to keep up with what is socially seen as normal.

“This is the formula that pushes people into booking up credit that they can’t afford and with every extra payment added to the family’s weekly budget there is less for food.

“What we see at the service are many people who are ‘doing the best they can’ on very low incomes that simply do not cover the costs of life.

“This month we are seeing families getting ready for the new school year and trying to prioritise uniforms and other basic school expenses.

“Extra costs like school trips will be more difficult for families who are on low incomes and have been vulnerable to instant credit fixes that inadvertently keep them trapped in poverty.”

ELEVEN common grocery items priced at Gisborne’s two main supermarkets have shown a cost increase of around 20 percent since 2012.

A smaller sample size of eight gave Pak’n Save the edge over Countdown coming in cheaper by 34 cents to buy milk, bread, eggs, butter, flour, tea bags, pasta and potatoes.

But when mince, broccoli and oranges were added, Countdown was cheaper with its mince at only $12 a kilogram.

The overall result differs to national figures released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand, which show the country has had the largest annual fall in food prices since 2012, with a 1.3 percent decrease overall.

Statistics NZ analyst Geoffrey Wong said Statistics NZ sampled around 10,000 food items across 12 different regions but did not include Gisborne supermarkets.

He cautioned to take the local sample with a grain of salt because of fluctuations in seasonal prices of fruit and vegetables, the size of the sample and the influence of world prices on export commodities like meat.

The Gisborne Herald 2012 prices are from November and the 2016 prices were taken in January.

Overall, prices on the eight basic items have increased between 1 and 2 percent across the two leading supermarkets and are still lower than a price spike recorded in 2011.

Notable exceptions since 2012 include a big jump in the price of a kilogram of mince and about a 30 percent decrease in the cost of bread.

Pak’n Save Gisborne manager Ewan Atherton, whose aisles had the cheapest loaf in town on Thursday at 95 cents, said bread was the most competitive commodity in the New Zealand grocery market.

“It’s ferociously competitive.”

Bread has decreased significantly in price across all five stores sampled over the last three-and-a-half years.

Comparatively, Countdown commercial manager Stuart Barnett said they tracked a basket of 100 of the most commonly purchased items in their supermarkets and this had come down by 2.1 percent in the year to December 2015.

“This basket includes meat, produce and dairy items, where there can be substantial seasonal and commodity price variations.”

The common meal of meat and potatoes pushed this week’s grocery shop up in Gisborne.

There was a particularly good special on mince in 2012 at Countdown, which skewed 2016’s results slightly, but there has been an overall hike in beef prices due to demand outstripping supply in the world beef market, said Beef + Lamb general manager Lisette Knight.

Having a simple cup of tea costs the same today as it did in 2012. The cheapest pack of 30 tea bags had zero increase across four of the shops, and a 17 percent reduction at the Kaiti SuperValue store.

But if you have milk with your tea, that changes things. Milk has crept back up in price since 2012 but is still not near where it was in 2011. The cheapest bottle of blue top milk has gone up around 9 percent, except for at the dairy where it dropped almost 20 percent in price compared to 2012.

Difficult for small business to be competitive

A dairy owner, who The Herald is not identifying, said it was hard to stay competitive but he passed on the savings where he could to his customers.

He bought a lot of his items in bulk from Pak’nSave because he had no choice. While he tried to deal with local people and suppliers when he could, often he could not get products at the same low cost as the supermarkets.

Seasonal demand also dictated the price. For example, it was more expensive to buy mayonnaise from suppliers in summer because that was when people wanted it most. Although the dairy was the most expensive, it also had the biggest overall decrease in prices since 2012 — a reduction of 5.7 percent across the eight basic grocery items.

Gisborne Budget Advisory Service manager Lynda Markie said finding money for food remained an issue for many of its clients because people often prioritised other expenses and bill payments first.

“When other costs like rent, power and fuel increase, that impacts on a family’s grocery shopping. Combine that with low or inconsistent incomes that we often see in this region and we have families who frequently struggle to keep up with what is socially seen as normal.

“This is the formula that pushes people into booking up credit that they can’t afford and with every extra payment added to the family’s weekly budget there is less for food.

“What we see at the service are many people who are ‘doing the best they can’ on very low incomes that simply do not cover the costs of life.

“This month we are seeing families getting ready for the new school year and trying to prioritise uniforms and other basic school expenses.

“Extra costs like school trips will be more difficult for families who are on low incomes and have been vulnerable to instant credit fixes that inadvertently keep them trapped in poverty.”

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Do you support the school children who have been striking for action on climate change?