Recently I’ve noted that Woolworths Online has started pricing items of fruit and vegetables that would normally be sold per kg, by units (per each). Example is a pumpkin @ $10.50 each, instead of $x per kg. Bananas and tomatoes are similar.
When I rang and asked for the reason I was told it was due to the rise in online shopping and saves time having to weigh items for orders. Given the variability of sizes for all of these items it amounts to variable customer pricing. One person may be paying $10 for a 3kg pumpkin and another the same amount for a 2 kg pumpkin, making a difference of about $1.75 per kg in what is paid. While I can understand that the online shopping area has been under huge pressure due to the pandemic I believe this is bad consumer service.
If you watched ‘war on waste’, it is evident that the major supermarkets have very tight specifications (size, weight, colour, blemishes etc) on fresh fruit and vegetables they sell. They have done research over time and know the preferences an average customer has when they buy fruit and vegetables. They have tight specifications to reduce the waste in store with fruit/vege which doesn’t meet what would be seen as perfect to the average customer (while it reduces supermarket waste, it increases waste at the front end/farms). Having a more uniform product also allows affords better transport/handling/packing from farm to store and for in store displays (a display of shiny red apples of uniform size and colour looks better and a all sorts apple display - it is also more attractive to the customer and may encourage a purchase).
I have been looking at fruit and vege in a range of supermarkets (Coles, Woollies and IGA) and have noticed that they rather uniform when compared to an independent green grocer (which has its own farms and markets its own products through its own stores. The only different are the specific ranges sold which are marketed as being different.
You might find that the variation is very narrow (small percentages) rather than large variations. It is worth doing your own survey to see how the supermarkets manipulate what it sells, while natural variation that exists on the farm is non-existent.
Even in the groceries and F&V shops there are many examples such as a cauliflowers or a ‘bunch’ of asparagus or brocollini or kale, lettuce, etc. sold by ‘each’. It has probably been a l.o.n.g time since they were sold by weight though.
That also exempts them from informative unit pricing since a bunch of asparagus at $2 is unit priced at $2 each