How to halve your grocery bill

We discover which supermarket can save you the most on groceries.

How to halve your grocery bill

According to the most recent Household Expenditure Survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2009–10, on average, Australians spend more than $200 per week on groceries.

Aside from housing costs, groceries take up a major portion of our income. In fact, CHOICE's Consumer Pulse Survey in March revealed that 75 per cent of Australians are concerned about increasing food and grocery expenses and, in these difficult times, are looking to cut back on costs anywhere they can.

When it comes to grocery shopping, savings, low prices and value for money are more important to Australian consumers than shopping experience, inspiration and, surprisingly, food quality and freshness. So which of the major shopping chains can provide Australians with the savings they so sorely desire?

The last time CHOICE conducted such a survey was in 2009, and German discount chain Aldi took out the gold when it came to providing the cheapest groceries. Aldi performed so well in this area that the discount chain actually brought down the prices of the other major players, such as Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.

So, in 2015, which supermarket offers shoppers the lowest prices?

To find out, CHOICE wrote a shopping list and sent undercover shoppers into 93 supermarkets across 17 cities around Australia. These surveyors collected price data on 31 different products at each supermarket, including a mix of leading brands and private label equivalents (products made by another company but sold under the supermarket's own branding, such as Woolworths’ Macro or Select range), as well as fresh, unbranded produce.

The results showed that Coles' and Woolworths' advertised everyday low prices are still no match for Aldi's overall lower grocery costs.

In fact, a shopping basket cost $87.29 more from Coles ($174.97) and $89.09 more from Woolworths ($176.77) than the equivalent basket from Aldi ($87.68). Going by these figures, shoppers can save around 50 per cent on their grocery bill by shopping at Aldi supermarkets.

Such savings should be enough for shoppers to head to their nearest Aldi store, but what if there isn’t one close by? For lower grocery bills in the absence of an Aldi store, CHOICE recommends shopping around for specials and choosing private labels over leading brands.

Would these results lead you to consider shopping at the German Aldi stores over Australian-owned Coles stores? Would you be prepared to travel extra distance in order to save around 50 per cent on your grocery bill? Do you know of any other ways to buy quality groceries at cheaper prices, such as farmers’ markets or ‘direct from importer’ outlets?

Read more about the CHOICE Supermarket Price Survey.


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    could be worse
    10th Aug 2017
    I have been to Aldi twice and neither time could I find what I wanted. They have very little in variety of groceries. I got on the computer and checked thoroughly all their products origins, as I was thinking whether to shop there in future or not. The majority of their products were from Germany, All over Europe, America North and south, Asia and just about every other country, but only some of the fresh vegetables from Australia. I will definitely not shop there in future as I try to support Australians and Australian jobs. love to all
    21st Mar 2018
    I find ALDI at least 50% cheaper!
    granted the choice is limited (but still OK) I was brought up in the war rationing years(UK) and did my mums shopping for her so understand choice!.............spoiled for generally!
    SORRY BUT ON MY INCOME I`M LOYAL TO ME!$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    21st Mar 2018
    ! have noticed that some of the products from Aldi are actually smaller in size......which is why they are cheaper. I also like to support Australian companies, even if they are a little more expensive.
    27th Jun 2018
    I have been to ADIS in smaller store in our area.Came away with an extra $10.00 in the wallet,. Choices of fruit and vegetables were limited, No I will not shop there in the future. Will shop through my company who delivers Australian made goods and support Australian farners.

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