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Grocery bills blow out as the cost of living continues to soar

4 min read
10 Jul 2022
man shopping at the grocery store

Shoppers are continuing to feel the pinch at the supermarket checkout, with new data from Compare the Market showing that the average Australian weekly grocery bill grew to $184.21 in June – up nearly $15 (9%) from last September’s weekly average of $169.35.

Monthly, that means Australian households are now having to fork out around $64 more than they were in September last year – as the cost-of-living crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

Compare the Market’s latest Bill Shock Survey found that the average weekly shop in New South Wales has been on the end of one of the biggest hikes – now $193.45, up $10 from April’s $183.71 and 7% more than last September’s average of $180.40.

Queensland respondents revealed they are spending 13% more at the supermarket than they were just 9 months ago, as their average weekly shop nears $180.

 Average weekly shopping spend September 2021Average weekly shopping spend June 2022Percentage increase
Nationwide$169.35$184.21^ 9%
NSW$180.43$193.45^ 7.2%
QLD$156.95$177.73^ 13.2%
VIC$168.58$173.54^ 3%

Compare the Market’s Chris Ford said that any price hike could significantly impact the household budget.

“From fresh fruits and vegetables to tea bags, breakfast cereals and cooking oil, we know that the price of the groceries is increasing across the board,” Mr Ford said. “While a few dollars here and there doesn’t seem like much, it really does add up when we factor in things like rising fuel costs, soaring energy prices and increases in daily expenses.

“It’s looking like an expensive end to 2022 for many Australian families, but Compare the Market’s latest Bill Shock Survey shows that many are trying to claw back some cash at the checkout.”

The survey found that over a third (39%) of people said they’ve now cut back on their weekly supermarket shop. Last September, just 27% of shoppers said they were cutting back on their grocery spend, which grew to 28% last December and 34% in April.

There’s been an uplift in Australians searching harder for discounts (24% in June compared to 21% in April), switching to home brands (17% in June compared to 15% in April) and purchasing more frozen foods (16% in June compared to 11% in April).

“We’ve seen prices for some of our favourite groceries skyrocket in the last few months, but it’s important to remember that the major supermarkets run weekly specials on hundreds of items,” Mr Ford said. “Spending a bit of time researching what’s on offer before your shop or opting for home brand items and frozen foods can be an effective way of slashing bills.

“Discounts can be found above or below your eyeline on supermarket shelves, and make sure you’re checking the unit price to get the best possible deal.”

Mr Ford said it’s also important to remember that prices and specials can vary between stores, so you may be able to score a deal by shopping somewhere else.

“We know that 12% of Aussies are already trying to save by shopping at cheaper stores and 8% are buying in bulk to save long term,” Mr Ford said. “Pay close attention to which stores have the biggest discounts and note whether you’d actually save by buying in bulk or buying a smaller quantity. This is an easy way to keep costs low as prices rise.

“Some shoppers can also nab discounts on baked goods, hot chickens and meat closer to closing time, while you may also be able to take advantage of supermarket reward programs that allow you to exchange points for discounts on your shop.”

Meanwhile, Compare the Market’s Bill Shock Survey found households are trying to slim their dockets with a variety of other saving methods, including:

  • 19% using what’s in the cupboard (up 2% from April)
  • 18% eating less meat (up 2% from April)
  • 14% only buying in-season fruits and veggies (up 2% from April)
  • 16% buying more frozen foods (up 5% from April)

Worryingly, 9% of respondents in June said they’re skipping meals as a way of cutting their grocery spend – up 3% from April.

A variety of factors are contributing to increased grocery costs, including supply chain issues, rising fuel prices, labour shortages, extreme weather events and the ongoing war in Ukraine. Mr Ford said now was the time for Australians to save as much as possible.

“It’s likely going to be a tough time for many people as the cost of living continues to rise and hit every aspect of our lives,” Mr Ford said. “Now’s the time to take back control, compare your options and pay as little as you can for the essentials you need.

“There are savings to be had and discounts to enjoy, but you do need to spend some time looking for them.”

For more information, please contact:

Chris Ford | 0411 560 116 | [email protected]  

Phillip Portman | 0437 384 471 | [email protected]

Compare the Market is a comparison service that takes the hard work out of shopping around. We make it Simples for Australians to quickly and easily compare and buy insurance, energy, travel and personal finance products from a range of providers. Our easy-to-use comparison tool enables consumers to find products that best suit their needs and back pocket.

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Written by Phillip Portman

When he’s not busy writing, Phillip can usually be found at the movies, playing with his Italian Greyhound Wilma, hanging out with his cockatiel Tiki, or talking about everything pop culture. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Journalism and has previously written about health, entertainment, and lifestyle for various publications. Phillip loves to help others and hopes that people learn something new from his articles.

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