Supermarket survey: P & S still cheapest in Wellington

September 17, 2008

Via the NZ Herald, we learn that Consumer magazine has done another survey of supermarkets. Pak’N’Save are the cheapest in Wellington still, though interestingly, not in Auckland.

The Consumer survey checked the prices of 15 staple items, including milk, bread, cheese, rice and wheat biscuits.

It left out popular brands like Weet-Bix and Wattie’s Baked Beans, going for the cheapest brand on offer in each item. That meant buying Budget brand at New World and Pak’nSave, and Home Brand at Foodtown, Woolworths, Countdown, SuperValue and Fresh Choice.

When there was no house brand item available, the next cheapest item was picked.

In Auckland, Woolworths ($37.33), Countdown ($38.24) and Foodtown ($38.57) were the cheapest places to buy, followed by Pak’nSave ($40.11), New World ($40.36) and The Warehouse Extra ($41.51).

Pak’nSave was the cheapest in Wellington and Christchurch, where the same basket of goods cost $36.80 and $37.75 respectively.

Of the 15 supermarkets tested in the three centres, the most expensive was New World in Wellington’s Wakefield St, where the basic basket cost $46.58.

Interesting that Wellington is cheaper than Auckland. That was not my impression when I moved here 2 years ago.



  1. Interesting that Wellington is cheaper than Auckland. That was not my impression when I moved here 2 years ago.

    It was an interesting survey, though, focussing as it did on the budget brands exclusively. I’m a big fan of those, but it doesn’t mean that Wellington is necessarily cheaper than Auckland, since there are plenty of products where the budget option doesn’t apply (cheese, fruit and veg, meat, wheetbix etc.). That said, didn’t the Pack and Save in Kilbirnie use to be the cheapest in the country according to Consumer?

    I’m surprised to see that PnS was outperformed in this survey, at least in Auckland (but even in Wellington it barely squeaked by). We find that overall shopping there is A LOT cheaper than at New World.

  2. Sorry to post this here, but I can’t seem to find the relevant comments thread – should there be an archive in this thing, or there is one and I’m worthy of the gold medal for incompetence in navigating blogs? Mine stops at the Taxi tactics.

    Anyhow, a couple of people talked about bartering, and I mentioned a Newtown exchange market in the process of being set up. I can now confirm that the organisers will take part in the Knack Market this saturday, 9.30 to 1.30 at Berhampore School, 105 Britomart Street, Berhampore, Wellers. They’re going to have posters where people can write down what they’d be willing to exchange (things, time, knowledge) and share ideas – it’s a pretty cool setup. I realise I’m also shamelessly pimping the craft market itself, but it’s a school fundraiser and it supports local crafters so I don’t feel so bad.

    Mods, please feel free to move this comment to the proper thread if you are able to.

  3. P&S: cheap but generally crap. It’s fine if you want 9say) chickens filld with water that give 3p profit to the famer (yes, I watched *that* jamie Oliver programme).

    I don’t call that frugal, I call that cheap & nasty.

  4. I don’t call that frugal, I call that cheap & nasty.

    See, I’m going to have to disagree there. I don’t buy my meat at the supermarket anyway, so I won’t comment on the chicken, but aside from that I don’t mind saving 3 dollars on the exact same 5kg bag of flour that I could buy at New World, and the same goes really for everything else we buy at P&S. It’s the same stuff, but cheaper.

  5. P&S meat is not the same quality meat as the butchers meat (for instance).

    IF it’s the same product at lower prices then fine … IF that still means the producer is being paid a fair price. IF, however, the flour producer is getting screwed by P&S then I don’t count that as “frugal” I see that as “stingy”.

    If frugal is ONLY a matter of price I pay ($$$) then I will have to redefine “frugal”

  6. Mike – not everyone has the luxury of making that sort of decision. While I know about P&S and their screwing of the producer, when it comes down to it I am going to be “stingy” because I have a family to feed.

    On the other hand I buy most of my fruit and vege direct from the producers at the local market which is cheaper than P&S. Maybe its swings and roundabouts?

  7. My thinking, Mike, is that the end-producer – the farmer – is unlikely to see much of any margin produced by branding.

    Almost all flour in NZ comes from a couple of large corporate middlemen. For fairness to be a factor, we would have to look for “fair trade” flour a la fair trade coffee. But in the absence of any way to see who’s getting what out of the deal, I might as well go on my price.

    I have no problem equating frugality with stinginess. Paying more than you have to is not frugal. And so there are going to be times when ethics and frugality conflict. In which case we don’t have to be frugal – it’s not an overriding concern that trumps every other consideration.

    You’re right about the meat though.

    This ties back to our earlier discussion about tomatoes, where there are two different considerations – are the house brand ones as good (yes); are they produced in an acceptable way (according to Idiot/Savant, no).

  8. Was in woolwortys today and they appear to have a few specials on.

    Anchor Cheese 900gm for $9
    Surf Laundry Powder (may fav) $5 for 2kg
    15 pack eggs – 2 for $6 (probably baterry laid tho)

    Nothing else really stood out but I picked up flyer anyway

  9. Aha, the great cheese brand wotsit. P&S Kilbirnie have “Rolling Meadow” Edam at less than $8 for 800g. We find it acceptable.

    Must set up that price/special wiki – once the hols are over, I’m on to it.

  10. but stephen, surely 800g for $8 is better than 900g for $9! [/betrays poor numeracy skills]


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