CHOICE membership

Inaccurate Unit Pricing


Woolies still struggles with unit pricing.



Nice pick up.

The ticket is reflective of the WW website [Finish Powerball Quantum Tablets Original 64pk Woolies].(

Interestingly, all the other Finish Powerball products WW website search for Finish Powerball Quantum are priced per ball, EXCEPT this one.

It is noteworth that five of the products are cheaper unit pricing wise than this large packet (at $0.55).

Lucky you’re alert!


I noticed the same thing on the Coles website just a few days ago. I was looking at floss, and half of the products were per pack and the other half were per metre. It’s a bit silly, honestly.


Agree. It is a totally meaningless use of unit pricing and it contravenes the mandatory code ACCC Unit Pricing Code, and the Trade Practices (Industry Codes — Unit Pricing) Regulations 2009 which says at 11 (1) item 12
Products supplied on a roll (including toilet paper)
(a) if supplied by continuous length — per metre; or
(b) if there are 40 or fewer items (including sheets) on the roll — per item included; or
© if there are 41 or more items (including sheets) on the roll — per 100 items

So it seems to me that Coles may be contravening the legislation.


Here are some anomalies I found during yesterdays shopping:

Unit pricing of coffee capsules per weight vs per item.

Unit pricing of coffee capsules per weight vs per item.

Unit pricing of tea bags per weight vs per bag.

Unit differences per 100g vs per kg for stuffed olives


The last one is interesting, a 935g container measured per 100g for unit pricing vs a 700g container measured per kilogram for unit pricing.

This stuff doesn’t ‘just happen’ - the labels are printing exactly as the code is written - decisions are made, the label printing code just ‘does its job’.

Maybe there are 4 groups of developers, one for each label type - maybe even in 4 different countries since everything has beeb ‘right-shored’ … but really, this doesn’t make sense, unless there is something more sinister behind it … rules on how this is treated consistently would be a fundamental part of even the most basic design. If this is coded to spec, then you have to wonder what the spec is, and why. If it’s just coded freestyle by a heap of cowboys, then you have to wonder what other stuff in the back end they have screwed up (other than rounding in the bottle shop, they still miss the mark on that quite blatantly on occasion :wink: )


And this wasn’t a ‘serious look’. I was just doing my shopping, and noticed these. I’m sure if an audit was done, there would be heaps more.

Numerous times I’ve seen staff walking around with reams of printed pricing labels that they have to place into the correct spot. This leads me to think that the pricing is ordained from ‘on high’, which confirms what you said about failure of specifications, coding and back end.


Hi all! As many of you would know, unit pricing can be a useful tool to save you money. But it isn’t perfect. Supermarkets try to make it difficult for us, they use small text, don’t display information correctly or don’t display the unit price at all!

With the government due to review unit pricing soon, we’re looking for volunteers to help us find examples of supermarkets using unit pricing incorrectly or not at all.

Can you help us crowdsource examples of bad unit pricing?

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sign up here, so we know you’re in:
  2. Keep an eye out in the shops for common unit pricing issues like too-small text, and pricing that’s not displayed, incorrect or obscured.
  3. Get your phone or camera out, snap a pic and send it through to

Once we’ve got enough photos, we’ll compile all the problems in a report to take to decision-makers.

Any questions, please let us know. Thank you!!


I wonder if there are any people from our @Consumer-Campaigner group willing to help out?


Went to Coles yesterday and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Some weeks it’s one mistake after another.


Thanks Katinka. This is a great and very welcome initiative from Choice.

I encourage Community members to sign up and send in photos of bad unit pricing not only for food and grocery items displayed in shops but also at online selling sites and in printed catalogues, adverts etc. all of which are covered by the mandatory Unit Pricing Code of Conduct administered by the ACCC.


Just sent this photo to

First glance, the one on the left looks cheaper until one realises that different measurement units are used for similar products on sale (and are actually the same unit price). Why a standard unit of measurement is not used store/nationwide, is anyone’s guess.

Why not use $/kilogram for those products sold by weight (or which has a weight on the packaging) and $/number for those sold by the number in packets (and no weight shown on the packaging).


This is a really good example of issues with unit pricing @phb. We are finding that different units of measurement are a common issue. Thanks so much for sharing!


I think one could make an argument for a break point somewhere in there, as in the case of saffron - $1408 per 10g is quite a big number per kilogram, and the competition is $1399 per 10g - so displaying it per kilogram makes the difference in price for one item hard to reconcile when its hundreds of dollars when the actual price difference is only 9 cents. You could still have packagings <100g priced per 100g and anything over by kilogram - same for litres. Of course there’s nothing stopping a single unit of measure - and we’d just get used to really big numbers for a handful of these special cases - the world wouldn’t end …

‘each’ or by number doesn’t seem to suffer as bad a problem - unless woolies starts applying it to ‘hundreds and thousands’ :wink:

What concerns me is consistency - and your photo illustrates how absurd Woolies are being about this - same brand, same product weight, different units of measure - you have to wonder what is triggering the difference in the software?. It would be interesting to know if the normal price labels underneath the special were similarly confusing. I notice the product description on the right is missing a unit off the 220 … knowing the system they use in the back end, this makes me smile … nervously …



This also has problems.

In a local independent grocer, a carton of dozen eggs the unit price was $/dozen. Next to it was a carton containing 10 which was $/egg. If I remember to take the camera next time I pass it, will take a photo if it is still displayed the same.

Toilet paper also has inconsistencies, either $/roll, $/100 sheets or other varying units.


Actually a lot of the issue may stem from the stock keeping aspect. The labelling just grabs its data from that, so the item could be put into a group that it doesn’t belong have a slightly different category, have been moved about or just flat entered incorrectly.

single can of soda … six pack … 10 pack … 12 pack (20,24,30 etc etc).

that grouping works for cans of soda but cans of veg might have a different set.

different suppliers probably provide different info in different ways and then totally different people enter and update that info in the system too.


Which is exactly my point - it doesn’t ‘just happen’ - what we are seeing on the shelves is the direct result of choices that are being made, coordination, planning, communication (or by omission of any combination of same) but all choices none the less - what we are seeing is essentially the presentation layer, and how many muppets there are supporting what we see isn’t entirely clear, but there’s a few layers for sure (or to borrow from the problem of infinite regress, “it’s muppets all the way down”). I have a smidgen of experience in the field which tells me none of the problems we are seeing in the retail outlet are insurmountable and in reality none of them are even particularly difficult to address - well, if it’s ‘planned’ that way, of course remediation post muppet-fest might be a little more difficult, and thats where the big stick approach is helpful.


I used to program POS systems (was in charge of labelling reporting and apps among others), don’t have to be a muppet for issue’s to occur as its quite complex and its worth noting they mostly get it correct atm.

% of issues being small and that it almost never affects their bottom $ means there’s little reason for them to want someone to urgently fix it (how many customers complain/point out the issue to staff … they might not even realise the issue exists etc)

does the same issue occur in each store or is it store specific (which goes to program issue vs how a store’s staff is using the program) is it a data issue at store or company level (or both), is it a supplier sending them dodgy data.

WW/Coles they are their own wholesalers and logistics companies too and the sheer volume of products as well means overall error %'s very low.

It bugs me every time I see it happen as again I used to program these things, and I’m very keen to see what the choice campaign comes up with etc!


Here is a snip from a few I sent in. From Woolies online.