One of Australia’s big supermarkets is a quite a lot cheaper than the others when it comes to everyday items. But there is also a glaring issue.
In a totally unscientific experiment last week, news.com.au discovered that one supermarket was quite a bit cheaper when it came to the cost of everyday ingredients.
The mission was to see which of the big supermarkets was cheapest and we had a set list of the same ingredients to buy at Aldi, Woolies and Coles.
The ingredients were what we needed to cook a stir-fry and the results were tighter than expected.
While Woolies came to $32 for the basket and Coles came to $36, Aldi was noticeably cheaper at just under $30.
I haven’t often shopped in Aldi so I was intrigued to see whether its claims of being cheaper could be backed up.
I tackled the German chain after visiting Coles and there was a marked difference in the price of the ingredients we needed.
One of the cheaper items was red capsicum which was retailing for an eye-watering $10.90/kg at Coles. At Aldi those same red peppers cost you $6.99/kg – quite a staggering difference in cost.
The chicken was also cheaper at $10.99/kg, compared to $14/kg at Coles. A box of mushrooms at Aldi cost just $3.40, compared to $4.19 at Woolies and a whopping $5.50 at Coles.
It wasn’t just our stir-fry ingredients that were cheaper either. I compared some other items like rump steaks for example and Aldi fared far better than bother Coles and Woolies at just $18.99/kg.
However there was an issue that would make me think twice about shopping at Aldi again – for a comprehensive shop at least.
The selection for fresh produce was disappointing with many green vegetables missing including snow peas, broccoli, cabbage and lettuce.
To be fair, lettuce has been hit by a widely publicised shortage, and they were in short-supply at Woolies too.
However, the shortages at Aldi also extended to items like meat, with many types of cuts missing from the shelves, as well as other types of items like baby wipes.
It made it difficult to do a full shop at Aldi when there were so many important everyday items missing from the shelves – items that Coles and Woolies both had in abundance.
On the plus side, at Aldi you can pick up a bizarre selection of miscellaneous items in the middle aisle, like a shabby acoustic guitar, a paper cutter or a trouser press. And you can even pick up a selection of booze near the checkout.
However, we had to supplement our Aldi shop by buying vegetables at another store, and that’s just when we were buying items for one basic dish.
As a cheapskate, I am prepared to do this to get my hands on the discounted items at Aldi, but not everyone has the luxury of trotting around several shops when buying groceries.
Here is a breakdown of what my shopping trip cost at each store.
Broccoli: $11.50/kg (200g) – $2.30
Sugar snap peas $32/kg (200g) – $6.40
Carrot: 1kg bag $1.50
Zucchini: $4.90/kg (200g) – $0.98
Mushrooms: punnet $5.50
Red capsicum: $10.90/kg (200g) – $2.18
Onion: bag $1.50
Garlic: $25kg (80g) – $2
Soy sauce: $2.60
Chicken thigh: $14/kg (500g) – $9.27
Coles total: $36.23
Broccoli: $9.99/kg (200g) – $1.99
Snow peas: $27.96/kg (200g) – $5.59
Carrot: $1.79 bag
Zucchini: $8.99/kg (200g) – $1.79
Mushrooms: punnet $3.40
Capsicum: $6.99/kg (200g) – $1.39
Onion: bag $2.49
Garlic: $24.99/kg – $2.49
Soy sauce: $1.79
Chicken: $10.99/kg (around 500g) – $5.40
Aldi total: $29.91
Broccoli: $11.90/kg (200g) – $2.38
Snow peas: $35.60/kg (200g) – $7.12
Carrot: 1kg bag $2.40
Zucchini: $4.90/kg (200g) – $0.98
Mushrooms: punnet $4.15
Capsicum: $10.90/kg (200g) – $2.18
Onion: bag $1.50
Soy sauce: $2.50
Chicken: $11.50/kg (500g) – $5.75
Woolies total: $32.06
More pain on the way for Aussies
There is more bad news on the way for Australians already struggling with rising interest rates, record petrol prices and grocery bills that keep going up.
News.com.au reported that household bills are set to skyrocket in the next 12 months as the cost of living crisis worsens.
It will impact public transport, the cost of seeing a doctor, mobile phone bills and health insurance.
Now energy companies are issuing a warning that their bills will “double” in the next six months and, therefore, so will the energy bills of everyday Australians.
Brickworks Managing Director Lindsay Partridge told the Australian Financial Review on Thursday that it is inevitable costs would be passed on from the manufacturer to the consumer.
“We’re budgeting for a 100 per cent increase (in electricity prices),” he said. “It will have a significant impact.”
“You have to pass those costs on to customers. We would be in real trouble if we didn’t have long-term gas and electricity contracts.”
The trickle-down effect of large global events like the pandemic and the war in Ukraine are being blamed for much of the cost-of-living increases Australians are seeing.
There is an end in sight, but it will not come quickly.
Economist Saul Eslake says manufacturers are feeling the impact of the disruption to the supply chain and vendors are raising prices to survive.
“Businesses have been able to pass on these cost increases to their customers in the form of higher prices because consumer demand has been so strong around the world,” Mr Eslake said.
— with Rohan Smith