Are supermarkets price gouging?

Figures out this week confirm what we have suspected for at least the past 12 months. Supermarket prices aren’t going up because of inflation, supermarket prices are going up because the two big chains are greedy.

All those locked and dropped prices supposedly to help everyone who was ‘doing it tough’ were camouflaging the fact that they were steadily increasing the prices everywhere else.

It’s not just supermarkets though, it seems to be a problem across the world. So much so it’s coined a new word – ‘greedflation’.

The Guardian reported this week that the investment bank UBS found Australian grocery prices had increased by an average of 9.6 per cent in the 12 months to April.

Australia’s inflation rate is 3.85 per cent, and that’s after several increases.

The UBS Evidence Lab tracked more than 60,000 prices online between the two big chains monthly and found Coles’ prices jumped 10.5 per cent over the year. Woolworths was a bit better with a 8.7 per cent increase over the year. However, if you had taken the figures from March, it was 9.7 per cent.

Not surprisingly, Coles said in a statement the UBS analysis was “not accurate”.

“Our official inflation figure was reported significantly lower at 6.2 per cent,” a Coles spokesperson said. 

Woolworths said it was paying higher prices to suppliers, which was driving higher food prices. I would have loved them to name some of these suppliers.

Time to buy shares in supermarket chains.

This week’s best deals


Sensible: Pet sale! Sadly, no actual puppies but a few pet food bargains. Supercoat Smart Blend Dry Dog Food, selected varieties, $13, My Dog Wet Dog Food, 6x100g varieties, $6.50 and Purina Felix Wet Cat Food, 12x85g selected varieties $8.50. If only I had a pet.

Indulgence: Continental Cup-A-Soup varieties, two for $2.80, save $3.40. Handy to have in the cupboard when you want a salty snack on a cold day.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Whistling Butcher Chunky Cheese and Bacon Sausages, $5.99. Well, that’s three of my favourite words together, bacon, cheese and sausages. Winter winner, not chicken dinner.

Indulgence: Bakers Life Spiced Fruit Buns, $3.69. You may also know these ‘spiced fruit buns’ as hot cross buns. I am very much enjoying how retailers are just carrying on selling them after Easter. Why can’t we have delicious buns all year? I love a delicious bun.

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Woolworths roasted and salted cashews and macadamias, $9, save $3. I love how nuts have come down in price so much. Once only a Christmas indulgence, now they are a snack staple. Packed full of protein, they fill you up quick smart. 

Indulgence: Toni & Guy purple shampoo and conditioner, half price $15 each. Still not cheap, but great for all the silver foxes out there. The purple tones cancel out any brassy yellow you may be harbouring. 

See the catalogue here.


Sensible: Black seedless grapes, $3.90. We are probably seeing the last of the fresh Australian grape season so get in while you can. Strictly weird varieties and overseas offerings from here on in.

Indulgence: Coles Australian Lamb Half Leg Roast, $12/kg. Remember when lamb was affordable and we ate it every week? Yeah, the good old days. Anyway, you can get something close to that with a half leg – just a half, mind you – at a fairly reasonable price. A lot of that is bone, of course, but you can’t have everything.

See the catalogue here.

Have you cut back your shopping because of price increases? What do you think is the answer to increasing prices? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: Are baby boomers making inflation worse?

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. They are enjoying their lower prices as per their financial statements.
    It’s called “profitinflation”.
    My example is a Package of 12 No sugar Coke small bottles, last week $11 this week $17.

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