The weekly grocery shop is no mean feat and the task can be made even more difficult by confusing and misleading unit prices, which leave customers scratching their heads over how much the products in their trolleys are actually worth.
We’ve all been there, standing with our shopping list in hand, trying to figure out whether it’s cheaper to buy loose capsicums or pre-packaged, and whether those ‘special offers’ really are all that special.
Now a survey, carried out by CHOICE, has revealed that an overwhelming majority of Australians (64 per cent) can’t understand unit pricing, despite the majority of people saying they like and use the figure whenever they shop.
Unit pricing is displayed on labels in supermarkets and show the real value of a product rather than a packet cost, with prices represented per litre/kilogram/gram etc, allowing customers to compare the actual value of different packet sizes.
The most common problems people reported were different units of measure being used for the same products, as well as unit prices that are difficult to read or covered, and some even complained that no unit pricing was displayed at all.
“The research couldn’t be clearer ,”said CHOICE Food and Health Expert Linda Przhedetsky. “Australians value unit pricing and want to see it improved so that they can easily make comparisons in the supermarket.”
The consumer advocacy group are now calling on Australian consumers to voice their issues to the government about fake supermarket price tricks, telling them to complete a survey launched by the Treasury.
Przhedetsky added: “By taking a few minutes to complete the survey, Australians can stand up to the supermarkets and their price tricks. The overwhelming majority of people find unit pricing helpful and it’s now up to the Government to update the rules to ensure that shoppers can compare prices whether they are in a hardware store, chemist or supermarket.”
Unclear, covered or obscured unit pricing is also a real issue for people who are blind or have poor vision, according to Chris Edwards, from Vision Australia.
“It’s really important for unit pricing to be displayed in a clear and readable font style and for font size to be as large as possible to maximise readability for people who have low vision, including many older Australians,” the Government Relations Manager said.
“Being able to shop in the same way as everyone else is a fundamental right for people who are blind or have low vision and unit pricing is just one way to make sure we are not discriminated against when undertaking this fundamental activity.”
Please note, the Treasury survey closes on February 28.
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