Australia’s best supermarkets revealed

Big two dominate the market, but survey delivers a blow on customer satisfaction.

Australia’s best supermarkets revealed

Coles and Woolworths have almost 62 per cent of Australia's grocery market, but how satisfied are their customers with their service?

The answer was revealed in a CHOICE survey of 2886 supermarket shoppers. The results would not have set off alarm bells at headquarters, but the pair did end up finishing in the bottom two positions in a comparison of the eight biggest supermarket chains in Australia.

Shoppers were asked to rate their supermarkets according to 18 different criteria, including: range of products, availability of locally produced goods, quality of the supermarket’s own brand products, quality of fresh produce, value for money, frequency of specials, clarity of unit pricing, helpfulness of staff and speed and ease of checkout.

Shoppers were also asked for their biggest gripes.

South Australian-based Foodland (82 per cent) was rated your favourite supermarket, closely followed by NSW-based Harris Farm Markets (81 per cent). Then followed Costco (76 per cent), Aldi (74 per cent), IGA/Super IGA (73 per cent), Foodworks (71 per cent), Woolworths (69 per cent) and Coles (67 per cent).

The major contributors to Foodland’s rating were ease of locating items, ease of use of shopping trolleys/baskets, speed and ease of checkout and clarity of signage showing unit pricing.

For Harris Farm Markets, it was quality of fresh produce, and for Aldi and Costco, value for money.

Coles was criticised for: availability of locally produced food products, speed and ease of checkout, quality of fresh produce, ease of parking, product availability and helpfulness of staff. Woolworths escaped censure.

CHOICE reports that while overall satisfaction scores were generally positive, some aspects of shopping at supermarkets regularly incensed even the most seasoned shoppers.

The top five frustrations were:

  • too much packaging on products (54 per cent)
  • lack of locally produced products (45 per cent)
  • long wait at the checkout (43 per cent)
  • products being unavailable/sold out (42 per cent)
  • lack of staff member to provide assistance (37 per cent)

“There’s more to attracting and keeping customers than simply having a lot of stores,” report author and CHOICE food expert Rachel Clemons wrote. “You need to provide a positive shopping experience too.”

In other supermarket news, Coles has announced it is taking on Costco in the bulk-buy department.

It has launched a new strategy that will see it expand into the bulk-product market, with more than 25 products including dinner staples, condiments and baking products set to appear on shelves in supersized form.

Do you choose your supermarket according to location or are you prepared to go further for satisfaction? Is packaging one of your key gripes?

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    COMMENTS

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    mogo51
    16th May 2019
    10:14am
    I agree with the survey. I am an Aldi fan, pity it is not Aussie.
    BERRYUPSET
    16th May 2019
    12:03pm
    MEE TOO!
    sunnyOz
    16th May 2019
    12:04pm
    Same here,p have just got back from my local Aldi, great goods.
    FrankC
    16th May 2019
    5:05pm
    I agree.
    disillusioned
    16th May 2019
    10:16am
    I NEVER get any Woolworths Rewards points, even though I am a regular shopper there, and don't use points on petrol purchases. Go figure!
    sunnyOz
    16th May 2019
    12:01pm
    Agree, because most pensioners are lucky to spend more than $30 in shopping. My elderly aunt has Flybys, in nearly 2 years, she has reached the huge sum of $28.65. So called reward cards once again only benefit families. Same as the recently announced super bulk buys, the bigger the item, the more saved. Again, discriminates against poor seniors who do not want or need to buy 5 kgs of pasta, etc.
    Hardworker
    16th May 2019
    12:07pm
    It sounds to me like you may not have your Flybuys card set up properly to benefit YOU. I am a single person household and a pensioner who does not overspend on groceries. I have my card set up so that when I reach a certain number of points (I think its 2,500) it comes up on the self-serve check-out screen and asks if I want $10 off my groceries or whether I want to leave the points there for another time. Go online and check your card. You can also choose with a Woolworths Rewards card whether you want money off your groceries or let the points go to something else like Qantas Frequent Flyer.
    KSS
    16th May 2019
    12:09pm
    Its not just discriminatory against 'poor seniors' it is discriminatory against anyone catering only for themselves and not feeding an army.

    I have been railing against this constant upsizing and packaging of fresh foods into huge packs that sees single either eating the same thing for days on end or throwing mouldy food away for literally years now.
    FrankC
    16th May 2019
    5:08pm
    I'll go along with that KSS. When you buy meat, they aregenerally in packs of 4.
    Paddington
    16th May 2019
    10:38am
    We use Coles delivery and our main gripe is removing favourite products from the list to purchase although still in store. The delivery service is excellent though with the food being placed on our kitchen bench by polite and friendly people. Ordering online is great because you can be more organised with the specials and build your list as you go and then place the order and even go back in and change right up to hours before delivery.
    bluebottle
    16th May 2019
    11:01am
    Always enjoy shopping at Foodland - good selection of items, friendly staff and several "12 items or less" checkouts, whereas our local Coles has 1 that's often closed and staff that look like they would rather not be there. Prices are usually comparable with Coles and Woolies - sometimes better sometimes worse.
    Silverhead
    16th May 2019
    11:15am
    Pasadena Foodland is a fabulous store, with lots of European and Asian Foods, has fine dining as well. Lots of fresh food, Unfortunately very expensive, but its the nearest to Harrods that Australia will ever get.
    Bushbaby
    16th May 2019
    11:25am
    We only have one supermarket where I live and it's 500 kms to the next town so we're stuck with IGA. Main gripes are inflated prices (no competition), empty shelves, restricted range of products, some common items not being available for months and months at a time and most importantly, lack of really fresh food. Even root veges with a long shelf life are often obviously at the burial stage! The service is usually pretty good and trolleys are mostly ok. My experience has shown that they are generally willing to order in special items and there is never any quibbling about returning items. Most problems are related to our isolation but it does get a bit old when the old 'derailed train' excuse is trotted out every time we query the lack of items.
    sunnyOz
    16th May 2019
    12:03pm
    Can't have a fair review if some supermarkets are only in certain states. Aldi has only recently reached WA. When I recently had WA friends here in QLD, they quickly became Aldi converts raving about quality, cost and variety.
    BtL
    16th May 2019
    12:29pm
    Hey Hardworker I've checked with Flybuys. The notification of $10 being available only works if you have a Coles financial services card. I don't have one. like the way that the Woolworths Rewards card does it automatically.
    Hardworker
    16th May 2019
    7:41pm
    Well aren't I the lucky one! Got my fee free Coles Mastercard years ago. They have offered me all sorts of other cards to try to get it off me and charge me fees for other types of cards, but I am no fool. It is the main credit card that I use so I get all sorts of points each time I use it but make sure I pay the bill in full every month so that I never pay any interest. The other way to make extra Flybuys points is to answer the stupid surveys Coles send you via email every now and then even if you only purchase one item. They give you 50 free Flybuys points for about 5 minutes of answering their questions. I haven't had one of those surveys for a while though. I guess they have woken up to the fact that I am building up points rapidly that way - hee! hee! What the heck, I've got plenty of time, I'm retired! I also read those vouchers they send you very carefully and only use the ones that benefit ME. My biggest gripe about my local Coles is that I live in an area where a lot of people seem to do the Click & Collect thing which is all very well but the staff who do the picking speed around the store with this big black trolley and just about run you down as if what they are doing is so much more important than the customers actually shopping in store.
    BtL
    16th May 2019
    12:29pm
    Hey Hardworker I've checked with Flybuys. The notification of $10 being available only works if you have a Coles financial services card. I don't have one. like the way that the Woolworths Rewards card does it automatically.
    BtL
    16th May 2019
    12:29pm
    Hey Hardworker I've checked with Flybuys. The notification of $10 being available only works if you have a Coles financial services card. I don't have one. like the way that the Woolworths Rewards card does it automatically.
    granje
    16th May 2019
    12:35pm
    I live with my husband and just shop for the 2 of us . I definitely gain from my Coles Fly Buy card. I am sent regular offers saying if I spend so much a week for 4 weeks there are bonus points to be had and I use this to my advantage. Already this year I have accumulated enough points to give me $150.00 worth of goods. $50 a week is not that much to spend and one time it was only $30 If I'm a bit short I stock up on specials that I know I'll use. This total does include meat but not vegies as I buy them from the greengrocers at a cheaper price.
    Troubadour
    16th May 2019
    3:21pm
    I agree Granje - we are also just a couple and I have earned several $10 and $20 vouchers with my Fly Buys, and take advantage of some, not all of the offers that come through via email - which boosts your rewards totals. Also you get points when shopping at K mart too and other places.
    Like Ganje we do not buy our fruit and veg from Coles as we have a very
    good Market Garden Fresh Shop in the same complex.
    Just earned 2000 points with our shop today! As we spent over $90 and
    today was out fortnightly stock up on Pension Day.
    BORIS
    16th May 2019
    1:28pm
    What a lot of whiners
    purplejan88
    16th May 2019
    2:16pm
    i shop at Aldi now and with money i save there by not shopping at Coles or Foodland (and believe me my bill is considerably cheaper ) i now shop at a local family butcher and will go to Foodland fruit and veg section - money only goes so far and i also enjoy not having tonnes of choice - quick to choose when only one or 2 to choose from. Do not miss the 'variety'
    JoJo
    16th May 2019
    2:49pm
    I live in a remote area. We have a local IGA. That's IT!!
    Staff are always pleasant and helpful.
    They try hard- and get things in we request when possible.
    They often run out of certain items due to transport difficulties.
    We have to live with these problems in mind.
    YJK
    16th May 2019
    3:06pm
    Bloody Woollies! They won't give you a plastic bag (although they will SELL you one!!) yet everything is sold wrapped in plastic!! The biggest rort is in the vegetable sections where absolutely EVERYTHING is sold in elaborate plastic wrapping!! Making Woollies (and probably Coles) the biggest hypocrites in the market! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr !!!
    Hardworker
    16th May 2019
    7:55pm
    I agree with them doing away with the plastic bags as it is a step in the right direction. However I don't agree that selling you a different type of plastic bag is any better. We need to encourage people to train themselves to keep their reusable shopping bags in the car or somewhere where they will remember to pick them up when they go shopping. It took quite a while for me to realise I needed to put them on the back seat of the car instead of in the boot where I always forgot them and had to return to the car park to get them. It took a while but I am pleased to report I am now fully trained. You are right about everything else being wrapped up in Gladwrap unnecessarily, and usually in larger quantities to encourage you to buy more than you want. I read an article recently about a scientist diving deeper in the ocean than any man had been before, in a special submarine. And guess what? There was even plastic in the deepest depths where no-one had ever been before. We all need to take responsibility and do whatever we can to save the planet because it's the only place we know we can live. There is NOWHERE else to go.
    terrib
    16th May 2019
    4:10pm
    I am a single pensioner & shop at Coles near me & use my flybuys card. I usually manage to get $10 off my bill at least once a month. I get the weekly vouchers to get points & always buy items when I get my emails each week with either cash off or bonus points. Only if I use those items of course. I think the card is great. I don't like Aldi as they are not Australian & do not have the type of items I buy. I have my brands I prefer. I do not believe in compromising taste for price.
    Blossom
    16th May 2019
    9:26pm
    Same here, I get about the same amount each month, although it varies if if buy more of an item when it is on special if it is something I use regularly.
    Blossom
    16th May 2019
    9:28pm
    Pasadena Foodland IGA won the award for South Australia
    Please note - the supermarkets are officially known as Foodland IGA, not Foodland


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