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How easy is it to use unit pricing in the supermarket?



One of my biggest gripes is pricing in imprecise units such as ‘bunches’. Asparagus or broccolini are good examples. What does $2 a ‘bunch’ from Woolies vs $2 a ‘bunch’ from Coles mean per value? Could it be $2.50 a ‘bunch’ from one is a better deal than $2 a ‘bunch’ from the other? Was $2.50 a ‘bunch’ last week really more expensive or was it better value than $2 a ‘bunch’ this week? Is a ‘bunch’ always the same ‘bunch’?


Between the farm gate and Supermarket F&V?
Definitely not in our experience. That comes from experience picking and packing for markets silver beet and snake beans. Farm products of one of the family.

Both produce vary greatly. Leaf size and stalk length for silver beet varying by more 2-3 times (volume) from smallest to largest. That is unless you selectively pick to a size and bundle count, which can be wasteful and is inefficient. The beans can vary in length when mature from 30cm to more than 60cm.

The only measure was to fill each packing case, with each shipment invisibly priced at the markets in Brisbane. There was no other criteria.

It was easy to see the difference in bunch sizes at the Supermarket. Typically the value add post farm gate, or more precisely after delivery to market was typically two-three times the selling price, if any one is curious. And that excludes the packaging materials, freight costs and selling agents fees which are all included with the farm costs.

Many F&V products appear to be rehandled and repackaged, except for those on direct supply contracts. Typically very large producers. It would be great to know what the criteria for a bunch really is and have a marked weight. Broccolini must be $20-$30/kg in some stores?


No, and even in the same week there is variations. Take asparagus as an example. It may be a smaller number bunch of thicker stemmed ones or more thinner stemmed ones. The weight of each bunch may vary as well as the number of stems per bunch.

For items like these, the unit pricing possibly doesn’t work well as historically fresh produce has been sold in bunches and there is enormous temporal variation between plants, locations and varieties.

At the end of the day, one has to ascertain whether the bunch is value for money or not…by looking at it. Trying to compare uniformity such as weights, number or leaves/stems etc will be an impossible or ineffective task.

The other aspect is there is unlikely to be multiple different suppliers/brands of the fresh produce in the one store where unit pricing is needed to compare between the different products available. There is usually only one fresh product available (sometimes loose or bagged), but there is really no other comparable fresh products to compare it with.


How does a customer today determine the “size” of a bunch?
One way would be for the customer to be able to weigh the “bunch” or what ever it is.
Remember when the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket had a number of conveniently placed weighing scales for customers to use? - for exactly this purpose (as well as to determine a quantity to purchase from loose items).


:star_struck: yes, and yes again

Visibility is prime when it comes to unit pricing


Wait, that’s not how it’s supposed to work. The first rule of economics is that the market is infinite, and buyers and sellers have perfect knowledge!



Another unit pricing example from Twitter, aluminium foil displayed at a cost of $250+ per metre.


Aside from arithmetic absurdities this is nonsense as one metre is not a useful standard unit across the market due to differences in width and obscurity of thickness and strength. Foil can be labelled “strong”, “super strong”, “extra strong”, “caterer’s strength”, double strength" with equal lack of meaning.


Well, $250+ per kilometre might be more correct.

Although who uses that much at once? One or two rolls is enough to wrap a whole house if you see the need! :roll_eyes:

As @syncretic points out the thickness, and perhaps even the grade of the foil varies between products.

Aluminium cash price is approx $2,550 AUD per tonne LME, or $2.55 per kg.

At 0.016 - 0.024mm thick, or thinner per one source a 15m roll might weigh only 200gms or so.
About 50c of metal.


Yeah, I make it $0.253 per metre, which is approximately the same …


It might be a per metre of thickness?

Anyway, someone needs some more training in conversions.