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Clearer pricing at supermarkets imminent


Ōtautahi – New regulations will require grocery retailers to display pricing consistently and clearly by weight, volume or number.

Kiwis will find it easier to compare product prices at the supermarket, with new regulations due to come into force at the end of August, Consumer Affairs Minister Duncan Webb says.

Supermarkets will be required to display unit pricing clearly and consistently for grocery products, such as the price of a product per kilogram or litre.

“New unit pricing regulations are a step forward in the Government’s wider work to increase competition in the retail grocery sector,” Webb says.

“This helps make working out whether tomatoes are cheaper at $6.99 per 500g punnet, $10.49 for a 700g bag, or $11.99 a kilo so much easier for Kiwi shoppers.

“Unit pricing will support inter-brand competition and encourage grocery retailers to compete on best value for money, benefitting customers in the long term.

“This will help Kiwis to make informed choices to suit their needs while shopping. This is particularly helpful where products are sold in different sized packaging and by various brands.”

While the regulations come into force on August 31, there will be a transitional period before compliance is mandatory, providing retailers time to put the required systems in place.

A unit price is the price per standard unit of measurement, usually displayed together with the retail price of the product. For example, where a 700 gram loaf of bread is sold for $3.99, the unit price displayed would be $0.57 per 100 grams.

In 2022, mandatory standard for unit pricing was introduced in response to the Commerce Commission’s third competition study looking into the retail grocery sector.

The regulations will apply to stores that sell all of the following product categories: bread, dairy products, eggs or eggs products, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, rice, sugar, and manufacturer-packaged food.

Unit pricing will be required in online grocery stores, physical grocery stores with a floor space of 1000 square metres and smaller physical grocery stores choosing to display unit pricing.

Physical stores meeting the threshold will be required to display unit pricing 12 months after the Regulations come into force, in August 2024, while online stores that meet the threshold will be required to display unit pricing 24 months after the Regulations come into force, in 2025.

Meanwhile, Consumer NZ has lodged a complaint with the Commerce Commission, asking it to investigate Woolworths and Foodstuffs stores for potential breaches of the Fair Trading Act.