New Zealand Supermarket Shopping Guide


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How do supermarkets in New Zealand compare with those overseas? Which of them offers the lowest prices and how do you get the best value? This article includes an accurate grocery price guide for early 2013.

If you’re coming to New Zealand from a larger western country, the first thing you’re likely to notice is that, however big they are, there’s less choice of products in the supermarkets here. This is especially noticeable for lines such as pre-prepared meals. Fewer product-lines are a natural result of the small population here and New Zealand’s geographical isolation.

If you need to cut your living costs, read 22 Ways to Slash Your Cost of Living in New Zealand.

Which Supermarket Is Cheapest?

The New Zealand Consumer’s Association carries out regular surveys of supermarkets. For a typical family they currently report that the cheapest stores are Pak’N Save branches. In the latest Consumer survey (2012) Pak’N Save was six to eleven percent cheaper than its nearest competitor in each of the seven centres assessed. The difference between the cheapest and most expensive Consumer shopping trolley of forty identical items was greatest in Wellington at $25 and least in Christchurch at $14.

Outside the large cities, grocery prices rise. Many people who live in small towns will drive to city supermarkets every so often and stock up on non-perishable goods.

There are two main supermarket groups in New Zealand:

• The Countdown / 3 Guys chains / Big Fresh / Price Chopper chains.

• Pak’N Save / New World / Four Square chains.

Price Guide

Fruit and Veg

Price-guides for shopping in New Zealand often take no account of the frequent special offers in supermarkets or orchard outlets in cities. Fresh farm produce can be cheaper in the countryside but the “orchard shops” within cities are very competitive, often offering significantly lower prices on fruit, vegetables and eggs than the supermarkets.

All supermarket groups run frequent special offers on their products.
In the price list below the “Bargain Buy” column lists typical special offer prices.
Some of the prices quoted in the “Bargain Buy” column – milk and bread, for example – are everyday Pak’N Save prices.

Unless stated otherwise, the prices are quoted for supermarket own-brand products rather than branded goods.

supermarket

We base our prices on careful, price conscious shopping at supermarkets and typical orchard outlets in and around Christchurch or Auckland. If you have neither the time nor the inclination to:

• visit two supermarkets in a week (at least once to Pak’N Save)

• also visit an orchard outlet

• buy special offers in quantity (except for quickly perishables such as fruit)

then you should expect to pay more for your groceries. These higher prices are shown in the “Regular Price” column. At many orchard outlets, it makes good sense to buy larger quantities of potatoes, carrots and onions because the bulk-buy discounts are large. If you’d like to check-out Countdown’s prices for yourself, they offer on-line shopping. This can be a good way to get an idea of grocery prices – although often not the cheapest prices – in New Zealand.

The Canny Shopper’s Grocery Price Guide 2013

1 kg = 2.2 pounds; 1 litre = 1.76 UK pints; 1 litre = 2.1 US pints.

Item Bargain Buy (or in season price) Regular Price (or out of season price)
Economy White Bread (600g slice loaf) $1.57 $1.57
Economy Wholemeal Bread (600g slice loaf) $1.57 $1.57
Burgen Wholegrain Bread (700g slice loaf) $3.79 $4.89
White Flour (5 kg) $7.00 $7.49
Milk – full or no-fat (2 litre pack) $2.99 $3.49
Butter (500 g) $3.69 $4.99
Yoghurt (1 kg) $4.49 $5.49
Colby Cheese (1Kg) $8.99 $9.99
30 Fresh Eggs (medium) $6.99 $8.68
12 Free Range Eggs (medium) $5.99 $6.99
Whole Chicken (1.6 kg) $8.99 $15.69
Chicken Drumsticks (1 kg) $7.99 $9.99
Chicken Breasts – skin on (1 kg) $13.99 $19.99
Mince – topside (1 kg) $11.99 $14.99
Topside Roast Beef (1 kg) $11.99 $14.99
Shaved Ham (1.0 kg) $14.00 $24.00
Potatoes (4 kg) $5.99 $7.49
Onions (10 kg) $6.99 $12.99
Onions (1 kg) $1.49 $2.50
Cauliflower $1.69 $2.50
Carrots (1 kg) $0.99 $1.99
Iceberg Lettuce $1.98 $2.89
Tinned Veg – beetroot/tomatoes/corn (400 g) $1.33 $1.50
Frozen Peas (1 kg) $2.99 $3.49
Frozen Sweetcorn (1 kg) $4.49 $5.89
Broccoli (per head) $0.89 $1.99
Braeburn Apples (1 kg) $1.99 $3.49
Bananas (1 kg) $1.99 $2.99
Oranges (1 kg) $1.50 $2.49
Tangelos (1 kg) $0.99 $2.49
Avocado (medium) $0.50 $1.49
Kiwifruit (1 kg) $0.99 $2.50
Tinned fruit – pears / peaches /fruit salad (410g Tin) $0.99 $2.25
New Zealand Tomatoes (1 kg) $0.99 $3.49
Ice Cream (2 litres) $4.99 $5.99
Cadbury’s Chocolate (200g) $2.50 $3.69
Potato Crisps/Chips (150g) $1.25 $1.59
Eta Salted Peanuts (400g) $4.49 $4.99
Kellogs Cornflakes (380 g) $2.89 $3.09
Rolled Oats (1.5 kg) $4.99 $6.19
Pasta Shells (500 g) $1.49 $1.99
Monkfish (1 kg) $17.99 $23.99
Salmon Fillets (1 kg) $24.00 $33.00
Smoked Hoki (Fish) Fillets (1 kg) $9.99 $13.99
Tuna (185 g tin) $1.99 $2.49
Heinz Tomato Ketchup (500 ml) $2.99 $4.39
Canola Cooking Oil (2.0 L) $7.99 $8.49
Coca Cola (1.5 L) $1.99 $3.29
Coca Cola (18 x 330 ml cans) $21.99 $17.99
Natural Apple Juice (1.0 L) $1.99 $2.99
Sugar or Diet Lemonade (1.5 L) $ 1.49 $1.99
Palmolive Liquid Handwash (500 ml) $2.99 $3.69
Gillette Shaving Gel (195 ml) $4.99 $7.29
Economy toilet rolls (12 pack) $4.99 $5.99
Macleans Protect Toothpaste mildmint (120 g) $1.99 $2.50
Economy Baked Beans / Spaghetti (420g Tin) $0.75 $0.95

Comments

  1. The article and table above are great thanks but is possible to expand the table by adding a column that tell the period of the “In season”

    thanks

  2. Are credit cards accepted in supermarkets ie American Express

    • Hi Barry,

      Yes credit cards are accepted in supermarkets. I know Countdown accepts American Express, I’m not sure about the others.

  3. Dear ENZ Forum,
    The above article on food prices/supermarkets etc was very useful however I was in NZ last Christmas and found that a lot of the fruit and vegetables were of a B-grade quality.. in many places. I eat a lot of these and was astounded that most of the vegetables were sold in these conditions .I suppose because I come from Australia and have a greater variety to choose from, that when I did buy fruit, I found it to be tasteless and floury which indicates long cold storage.
    Are there not regulations in place to ensure that freshness of produce is to be presented when selling to the public ? I was told that fruit comes into season in NZ, in Feb-March and for the rest of the year it is pretty droll… So, if you want fresh fruit /veges, year round, you should grow your own ?
    Personally I loved the climate in NZ and could adapt quite well to it and the lack of litter on the roads was quite impressive. it shows that New Zealanders take pride in their country., and with the exception of perhaps a mere handful, every person I spoke too, in 2 weeks responded well….They are a very friendly mob. .In 2 wonderful weeks of backpacking, I met so many people from overseas and native NZ’ers that you feel like you’ve come home..! I’d like to explore NZ more in-depth, still on a budget though, sometime in winter next year. .Any suggestions as to where I could winter for 3 months and write ? Thank you .

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