Grocery Commissioner’s Call for Everyday Low Pricing in Supermarkets

Default Profile ImageBen O'Connell
Everyday Low Pricing in Supermarkets

Grocery Commissioner Pierre van Heerden is urging supermarkets to maintain everyday low pricing throughout the holiday season, despite the increased demand. He wants to ensure competition in the $25 billion supermarket sector and help with the cost-of-living pressures facing consumers.

Van Heerden has challenged supermarkets to offer genuine savings, reminding them of their legal responsibility to ensure that any advertised specials or promotions are accurate and not misleading. He has emphasised the importance of clear, accurate, and unambiguous pricing and promotions to help consumers make informed decisions.

With six months in his role holding the sector to account, van Heerden is actively working to ensure lower prices on everyday staples. He is calling on supermarkets to implement Everyday Low Pricing rather than frequently moving prices up and down, to help consumers get a genuinely good price for their groceries. As part of this effort, he has been meeting with supermarket executives and communicating directly with them.

On the other hand, Stats NZ has revealed that food prices in November were cheaper than in October, with a 0.2% fall due largely to cheaper fruit and vegetables. Despite this monthly decrease, food prices are still 6 percent higher than a year ago, driven mostly by higher prices for fresh eggs, lollies, and peanuts. Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food are the second largest contributors to the annual increase.

Diving Deeper on cost-of-living

Further reported by Stats NZ, petrol fell 2.2 percent month-on-month but was up nearly 11 percent on the year earlier. Rental housing also fell slightly in November by 0.2 percent month-on-month but was up 5.5 percent on the year earlier.

While acknowledging some disagreements with the sector dominated by Foodstuffs and Countdown duopoly, van Heerden has announced his intention to call out anyone in the industry where he believes consumers are not getting the best deal.

Unit Pricing Regulations requiring grocery retailers to clearly and legibly display the unit price for goods came into effect on 31 August 2023. Van Heerden is encouraging retailers to start considering how they will comply with this regulation, especially in relation to promotions.