According to Choice magazine sometimes the larger ‘bulk buy’ pack is no cheaper than buying the smaller pack. It can even be more expensive. How many of us have the time or the inclination to use a calculator – or rusty mental arithmetic skills – to compare the value of different priced and sized products?
Manufacturers seem to use their knowledge about consumer behaviour to decrease the size of their product whilst the price remains the same. Maybe they are hoping we won’t notice – but some of us do – and CHOICE receives lots of complaints.
“So in the space of a year the bars have shrunk in size and the number of bars in each box reduced by 25% yet the price has stayed largely unchanged – what a scam”.
“Other people I know also said they noticed [the packet] got suddenly smaller – although the price of a box of 8 bars stayed the same”
There is an answer: Unit Pricing!
Unit pricing means displaying the price of goods per unit of measure (e.g. per 100 g, per kg or per litre). It is a simple way that supermarkets could help consumers get value for money, save time and make better choices. They already have to do it for meat, fruit and vegetables.
Unit pricing is widely used in the US and Europe – it’s even a legal requirement in some countries. Retailers in Australia are resistant to its introduction. Coles Myer and Woolworths give reasons such as lack of consumer demand for unit pricing, opposition from suppliers and extra costs.
But feedback we’ve received from you suggests that many consumers would use unit pricing if it was there.
Choice has written to the Ministers for Consumer Affairs/Fair Trading in each State as well as the CEOs of Coles, Woolworths and ALDI about supermarkets displaying the unit price for products sold by quantity – a relatively simple change that would allow accurate price comparisons between different brands and sizes.
The Consumers’ Federation of Australia also campaigns on Unit Pricing and you can send a letter to the Minister for Consumer Affairs or Fair Trading in your State or Territory. Click here to show your support.
Since the Choice article Is bigger cheaper? it comes to light that:
You can get more information from the Consumers’ Federation of Australia that also campaigns on Unit Pricing.