The supermarket trend that could be costing you big bucks

Supermarkets seem to be showering us with ways to save at the checkout, but there’s one shopping trend that’s pushing our grocery dockets up

With so much choice in supermarkets now, it can be tricky to work out if you’re really getting value for money.

But a Nine News investigation this week has exposed huge differences on exactly the same product on different shelves at supermarkets. The price you pay depends on which shelf you select your product on, which means it’s important to — quite literally — shop around your supermarket.

Nine News spoke to busy mum Karen Ghidella who tries to watch her grocery spend, however with two hungry boys it isn’t easy.

“It’s all about convenience so if the kids can go to the cupboard and grab something out that’s self-contained and deal with it themselves it’s an easy out; it saves us time,” Ghidella explained.

But now it seems that the price of convenience is adding up.

Janine Mergler from Families magazine is on a mission to show us all how we’re being cheated at the checkout, which includes massive price differences on exactly the same product, in the same aisle, in the same supermarket.

In fact, multi-packs could be costing us hundreds of additional dollars.

Mergler has identified that a 1kg block of Woolworths own brand cheese costs $7.50 — while own brand Woolworths Tasty Cheese Sticks 160g come in at $28.13 per kg.

Sweet treats in snack-size can also fool consumers — Arnott’s Scotch Fingers can cost $2 for a 250g pack.

“These biscuits are 80 cents per 100g,” Mergler explained.

But an eight pack of Arnotts mini-scotch fingers can cost $3, which equates to $1.50 per 100g.

“Put them in a snack pack and you’re paying twice as much,” Mergler said.

If you’re a pet owner, buying bundle offers of wet and dry food may seem convenient and like it will save you money, but be careful to confirm the prices.

Mergler pointed to a bundle of Friskies wet and dry cat food, costing $11. However, the same products bought separately would currently be more than 30cents cheaper — with the 12 pack of 85g Friskies Seafood Sensations pouches costing $7.69 and, Friskies Indoor Delights 1KG dry food currently reduced to $3.

“When you’re going to purchase a product that’s already that’s already been processed for you, you need to understand there are some extra costs involved,” Dr. Gary Mortimer from QUT Business School said.

Top tip

Even healthy snacks can end up costing almost three times more in snack-size.

“Sultanas are great in the school lunchbox if you buy them by the kilo,” Mergler said.

Woolworths own brand sultanas can cost $3.99 for a 1kg bag, but snack packs of plain sultanas can vary from $8.13 to $14.29 per kg — with organic snack packs coming in at the most expensive.

Mergler hopes highlighting the massive price difference will convince more shoppers to ditch the snack packs and pack their own.

While consumers may not realise it, supermarkets are always using tactics to market their groceries to us. For instance, the products they want us to buy are usually positioned at eye level so we pick them first, it’s important you look around and ensure you’re getting the best value for money.