CHOICE membership

Unit Pricing: Comments sought on a draft international standard


#42

meltam.
Having unit prices per unit of weight or per unit of count is a breach of the UP Code which requires that only one unit of measure be used for the unit pricing of a product by a retailer and that must be the unit of measurement by which the grocery category is most often supplied.

So, depending on what is considered a retailer, either all the tea bags sold in one shop or in all the company’s shops should be unit priced by count or by weight (per 100g).

In the past we have talked about which is most useful to consumers for tea bags, a unit of count or per 100g but I don’t think we reached a consensus on that…

BTW if the retailer decides to use count as the unit of measure for tea bags if most of the tea bags on offer are in packs of more than 40 tea bags they all should be unit priced per 100 bags.

The label with the unit price $3.30 per each is completely non compliant since it refers to the complete pack!

Excellent examples of a retailer not complying with the Code.


#43

Yes, from Woolworths


#44

johnb44. Thanks for clarifying that.

I do not shop at Woolworths very often so had forgotten they have several types of shelf labels for regular priced products.

I refreshed my knowledge and see that your example is of a shorter shelf label used mainly for products with a small shelf facing.

The print size used for unit price is slightly smaller (about 3mm ) than on other labels (about 4mm) which reduces legibility. However, there is more white space around the unit price which increases its prominence.

The main things I learned from my visit were:

  1. the long and short labels often seem to be regarded a substitutes eg the short labels are also used for products with wide shelf facings.
  2. the layout of info on the labels varies greatly in terms of print size used for the unit price and for the product name and the quantity info. Also, info for store use is sometimes below the bar code and sometimes beside it. And there is no bar code on some labels.

The end result is a great lack of consistency in the prominence and legibility of the unit prices provided which IMO does not facilitate consumer awareness and use of the unit prices.

It seems to me that Woolworths could improve this quite easily simply by reducing the number of formats used, for example one for long labels and one for short labels…


#45


Coles (and other large supermarkets) are still not providing unit prices in particular areas of their shops - see photo of a price list that has zero information about volume or weight or count.
Don’t say “but you can see the size of the empty containers” because the supermarket is free to change the size of a ‘medium’ etc container any time it wants; also there is likely no consistency between different supermarkets as to what ‘medium’ versus ‘large’ may mean in terms of volume or weight.


#46

Here is another example of a supermarket price sign that has neither price per count (number of tomatos) nor price per unit weight.
These tomatos were not ‘$2.69 per kg’ as claimed by the sign, they were $10.76 per kg


#47

Yes. I want to see unit pricing of eligible goods in all the stores that sell these types of goods.
Hardware stores are a good example - once upon a time you could read the unit price and ask the sales assistant for 8 bolts and 8 nuts, but then along came prepackaging (bomb-proof plastic packaging that’ll slice your skin, quantities in the packet that don’t match your needs, and prices up to cover all the “anti- theft” measures necessary for self-serve prepackaged).

Agree totally. The purpose of unit pricing is twofold - (a) compare between stores, and (b) compare between brands & package sizes.
Allowing store A to to use unit pricing per X for a type of product and store B to use unit pricing per Y for the same kind of product is very much one of the “confusions” that unit pricing is meant to eliminate.


#48

Agree with your caveats, and also there is the variation on how the containers are filled. Some staff fill almost to the top, others only 3/4. Funnily, the customers I see buying these at the deli counter never ask for the part filled containers to be topped up. Must be extra rich!


#49

If they tried to charge me $10.76/kg I would have been claiming false advertising and asking for money back. The sign clearly states they are $2.69/kg, and they can’t charge any more than the price on the sign.


#50

The no volume info about the tubs used at the deli is a weights and measures (trade measurement) issue which I have raised with NMI in the past and made no progress on.
I think it has also been discussed by the Choice Comunity.
It can, and should, be raised again in submissions to and comments on a discussion paper on trade measurement laws just released by the dept of industry (which NMI) is part of) and about which I’ll try to start a new conversation here.


#51

The cherry tomato UP error is a breach of the UP Code ensuring compliance with which is the ACCC’s responsibility.


#52

I would have done the same…taken 4 containers to the checkout then indicated that they were $2.69 per kilo…and the 4 countainers make the kilo.

I suspect that the first customer would get get 4 for $2.69, with the shelf label being chsnged shortly there after to $2.69 each.


#53

there is likely no consistency between different supermarkets as to what ‘medium’ versus ‘large’ may mean in terms of volume or weight.

Does anyone have any info about the volume of these types of containers within and between supermarkets? If so I’d be very interested in it.


#54

I will happily source and label the containers (both for store and size) for you so measurements and comparisons can be made.


#55

thanks grahroll much appreciated.
Am flat out working on a few projects at the moment so do not have time to do it myself.
Will be very interested in your findings.
Even if there are no differences in container volumes between supermarkets, knowing the actual volumes of the different sizes (small, medium, large, etc.) will be a big step forward and something that Choice might want to publicise.


#56

Coles provide 5 sizes they are ~75 ml to brim and about 70 ml to fill point(no marking for size on container), Small is 280 ml (to brim 290 ml), Medium is 440 ml (to brim close to 455 ml), large is 600 ml (to brim about 620 ml), and finally jumbo at 1 litre all the containers other than the very small one have markings on the bottom to indicate volume. Jumbo container is a close approximation of a rectangular prism with the top being of a larger dimension than the base. The sizings are proceeded by a capital T then capacity then an italic i with no spacing (excepting jumbo which is a simple 1000 number and the very small one on which I could not locate a sizing indication)…so for a 440 ml container it is T440 i

Woolworths supply three sizes that are designated small, medium, and large which have the same volumes as their comparison containers in Coles. The sizings are simply indicated by a number eg 440 ml is 440.

All the other containers than the jumbo are close approximations of cylinders with the upper diameters slightly larger than the base.

The volume steppings between the comparative containers (S to M to L) is 160 ml per step
Hope that is of some help.

Based on the prices above the snack classic per ml is 2.86 cents (worked on 70 ml as some room is normally left at the top), small classic size in Coles 1.42 cents, at medium classic it is 1.13 cents and for large classic the cost is 1 cent per ml, jumbo is same price per ml as the 600 ml container. In the Gourmet it is 4.3, 1.78, 1.36, 1.16 and for jumbo 1.1 cents per ml.

The snack gourmet size is hugely different to the classic range pricing structures even if compared to the snack classic it is still a huge price increase per ml.


#57

I couldn’t see it mentioned before, but another annoyance for me is when we go to the local (large) fruit market, and they sell things by the bucket.

How big is the small bucket to start with? How do you compare between buckets to work out which one is the best value, and how do you know how the asking price compares to other stores?

Oh bucket! I find it frustrating!


#58

Thanks for collecting this info grahroll. I was just at a Woolworths store to see what they do and charge but could not see any tubs.
Will try to look at another bigger store.
Retailers are not required to indicate the amount in these tubs because the product is not considered to be prepacked if the product is put into the empty container at the time of purchase.
If it had been put in before purchase the quantity would have to be shown.
This is an issue for the current review of measuremt law.
At the moment only meat, fuel and some alcoholic drinks are the only products sold loose (not prepackaged) that must be sold by measure.


#59

meltam, F&V not prepackaged can be sold in containers of any size and just be priced per container.
Sometimes though the container will be marked with a price per kg and the contents are weighed at the check out and the cost is the weight multiplied by the price per kg.


#60

Where that is the case, I don’t have a problem.

My concern is where goods are sold by the bucket. The price is ‘by the bucket’. No weighing. Nothing.

There is no quick and easy objective way of comparing between buckets, except by taking each bucket to scales (if they have any for customers to use). If there are no scales which is often the case, nor a price per kg, there is no way of comparing to other smaller businesses and the big supermarkets.


#61

Not too common, although many products at the real growers markets are often sold by the case or tray.

It is probably no different from buying avocados at $3 each or 2 for $5 or a bag with many more labeled with 1kg and a $10 sticker. Is the bucket just a larger quantity, unweighted and able to be counted if you choose? Similar to a tray of mangoes, only more effort to count?

Regardless, why buy a bucket without knowing the fruit on the bottom is as good as that on top!

Do you get to keep the bucket?

Another concern about product sold might be for that by the bunch. Asparagus and broccolini come to mind, while garlic also vary greatly in size/condition by weight or each? I’ve picked and packed silver beet and black eyed snake beets commercially. There was no weighing at the farm end! Just a guess and need to adapt to changes in shape and size of the product as you handled it. We always thought the super markets etc split our bunches down in store any way! Some times the in store markups looked to be a 4 digit percentage!

P.s. our local F&V does not use buckets, but the owner will happily answer any questions about the produce. The unmarked bags do have a minimum weight for the contents to be fair. You just need to ask if it is a concern.