CHOICE membership

Unit Pricing: Comments sought on a draft international standard


Forgot to include in my previous comment the need for research on consumer impacts from provoking more that one unit price for some products.

It might just confuse many consumers.

Also, it might be difficult to fit 2 unit prices on some shelf labels, especially if they both have to be prominent and legible, which is essential otherwise there is little point in providing unit prices. .


Another Woolies fail. Is it to be per each (box) or per each (tablet)? One could ask how hard can it be, but it is apparently so hard they cannot do it :roll_eyes:


Yes, lack of attention to detail seems to be the cause of many of the errors with the units of measure used for unit prices.

Also of failure to provide unit prices. For example, as can be seen from the photos below, today in their newspaper New Year adverts Coles did not provide the unit price for any of the 6 items it should have whereas Woolworths did (albeit in very small print) for the 3 items required by the UP code.


I, too, would like to see all solids, powders etc priced by the kilogram

and the obvious liquids priced by the litre.

Big fan of SI units.


$139,900/kg for saffron might push the limits of the price tag ‘real estate’. @draughtrider’s point has to be taken as a matter of practicality.

and for solids, a bit of diversion (US-centric historical data)

and computers have been going for about $440/kg :smiley:


I think per 10g as the unit of measure for the unit price works OK for most dried herbs and spices, except for saffron.

Re. unit prices for computers! You may be interested to know that I have seen provided, and think very useful, printer ink/toner unit priced per printed page yield (calculated using an international standard for measuring the yield of ink/toner).


I thought that metric has been around for yonks and is commonly available. Officeworks has a nice page about it for the products they sell.


Would it be best for saffron as a comparison to use a like product, EG gold or platinum etc and use the troy ounce as the base unit of measure? :wink:

That’s about $4,351 per ounce which might fit the label, or $9.06 per grain weight? :smiley:

I prefer the second option as in Metric Safron still appears too expensive. It is based on @TheBBG $139.90 per gram, which is dearer than fillet steak even with lobster on the side? :yum:


Safron is expensive. Fact of life.

Twiddling with units to try to disguise the cost of saffron, or anything else, is ridiculous.

Another fact of life - people who use saffron (real saffron) know the very tiny amounts to use (eg recipes talk about ‘thread of saffron’)

Laws about displaying unit pricing were introduced, and need to be upgraded, to stop the “twiddling with” that is used with packaging and labelling to try to disguise the cost of things and mislead shoppers.


Yes, I have known about it for a few years. I often use it as an example of how helpful it can be for consumers if some products are unit prices relative to a useful and standardized unit of measure of final product or output.

Officeworks does this (see pic below). However, using the cost per page results in unit prices that are far too small. IMO per 100 pages would be much better. Also, although it may appear OK in the pic, in practice the the print is too small and should be bold font.


I agree. That’s why I favour using per 10g as the unit of measure for saffron and all other dried herbs and spices.

The chosen unit of measure (weight, volume, number, etc) and denomination (per kg/100g/10g) for the unit price of a product type has to achieve several objectives, including not have excessively small or large prices.

Also, to be useful to and understood by consumers, to be the same as that used for other unit pricing (e.g. when the product is sold loose from bulk), and not using several units of measure for the same or similar products (e.g. some dried spices and herbs per 10g, some per 100g, and some per kg)


@ijarratt, if you have (more than) enough examples just let us know.

From Woolies, per 100g


From Coles, per ‘each’



Thanks. I tend to see mainly at differences in the unit of measure used to unit price the same product within a store. So, good to have an example of a difference.between retailers. And, more examples are welcome.

With products with more than one item of info about quantity (in this case weight and number) on the pack, the Code requires only one unit of measure to be used for the unit price and it should be that by which the category is “most often supplied”. So in this instance if Woolworths unit prices ALL per 100 g and Coles per each they are complying with the Code. However, if most of the packs sold at Coles contain more than 40 sticks the unit prices should be per 100 sticks.


I think that is a failure as the units used should be mandated and universal so consumers can compare shops, not just products within shops, but I can see where the retailers would push back strongly as they would lose their opportunity to obfuscate their pricing.

An example is Woolies and Coles stocking different sizes of the same products, and when one goes by 100g and the other by each as in the case I posted, one needs their calculator (mental or physical) to figure which is the better buy. Making them both use per 100g or per unit on the same product would make their faux sales as well as sales far more transparent.


It’s also a problem with some fruit and vegetables. For example, (see pics below) at an Aldi store Navel oranges are unit priced per each when in transparent BAGS containing 5 oranges and per kg when sold LOOSE.

So, I have asked Aldi to unit price the bagged oranges per kg. It may work because now they unit price packaged capsicums per kg not per each.


Hi everyone,

The Treasury is conducting a survey and is seeking your views on unit pricing!

This is the first wide consumer consultation that has been conducted by Treasury.

For anyone that is preparing a response to the survey, the best place to raise issues is in question 10. In your response, you don’t have to address every point and you’re welcome to share your personal experiences. The more individual your response, the more likely it will be read and taken on board by the people looking at this survey.

Our guide for Question 10

Here are some pointers and ideas to think about when you get to Question 10. In your response, you don’t have to address every point and you’re welcome to share your personal experiences. The more individual your response, the more likely it will be read and taken on board by the people looking at this survey.

Unit pricing is inconsistent


You might find variations in layout and presentation which make it difficult to scan for unit prices when you’re shopping: some canned foods show the unit prices for drained weight, while others use the total weight as a reference.

When you’re filling out question 10, think: What inconsistencies have I seen while shopping?

Labels aren’t always clear and visible


The unit price shown here is far too small to see when you’re scanning supermarket shelves. Sometimes unit pricing uses colours, font sizes, language and placement that is difficult to see or interpret, and sometimes it’s missing altogether!

Last year, Aldi even went so far as to shrink its unit prices. What standards would you like to see introduced to make unit pricing more visible?

It’s not always easy to use unit pricing online


A lack of clear, consistent unit pricing is a problem for those of us who shop for groceries online – you’re unable to see the physical products and compare their sizes.

Sometimes it’s also difficult to accurately sort groceries online according to unit prices. How could using unit pricing online be easier?

Unit pricing isn’t available where you shop


Your local Woolworths and Coles have to comply with unit pricing but many smaller stores don’t, like this pharmacy. Do you want to see unit pricing in pharmacies, hardware stores and smaller groceries?

It’s hard to raise issues when you find them


Like knowing whether you should speak up at the store or call head office. Would you like to see a simpler way to register complaints about unit pricing?


Went looking in Woolworths for tea for the boss lady and was trying to work out which tea was the best value.

I found these two more examples of confounded unit pricing. How do you compare these?

There were more like this, but I thought this would be enough to show how the current inconsistency of unit pricing makes an informed decision nigh on impossible.


Hi, noticed Woolies is using using 1 std (per each) for normal pricing and another (per 100g) for special, Twinning Teabag

. Makes it impossible to compare pack sizes.


Wow, no cup of tea comparing those numbers. Thanks for sharing the examples :+1:


johnb44. Is the label with the unit price $0.11 per each from Woolworths? If so I do not think i have seen one like that before. Just the ones in meltam’s photos.
I hope it is not 'cos if it is it it might mean that Woolworths is also starting to reduce the print size for the unit price on the shelf labels used for regular prices.