My Grocery Price Check For Spetember 26th 2013

My Grocery Price Check For Spetember 26th 2013

It has been a while since we compared Costco grocery prices with our local, friendly Colworths duopoly. Apparently A Current Affair, that ‘quality’ program on Channel 9, recently ran a story on Costco prices versus supermarket prices, claiming that bulk buying really didn’t do anything for saving money. Well once again our latest comparisons below based my last shopping trolley load at Costco disprove ACA’s claim, but let’s not let the truth get in the way of a good story on a TV station that features ads with the ‘Down, Down’ and ‘Fresh Food People’ jingles.

I will leave the discussion on ACA’s story there as a response to it is a topic for a future post. Instead we can now look at some real data to test if Costco saves you money. Here are my trolley contents from this week’s trip to Costco in Docklands:

  • Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese – 2 kg = $21.49
  • Tinned Tuna in Springwater – Greenseas, 4 x 425g tins – 1.7 kg = $13.79
  • Light Milk (2%) – 3 L = $2.88
  • Fresh Salmon fillet – skin off – 1 kg = $29.99
  • Lurpak Spreadable Butter – 0.5 kg = $6.79
  • Mission Pizza Bases – 1 kg = $8.49 [Large, family sized bases]
  • Catsan Cat Litter (Crystals) – 8 kg = $25.99
  • Unibic Anzac Biscuits – 1 kg = $6.59
  • Napisan Vanish Powder – 3 kg = $15.88
  • White Potatoes (washed) – 5 kg = $6.49
  • Whiskas Single Cat Food (60 x 100g packs) – 6 kg = $30.89
  • Cottonelle Toilet Paper – 48 x 270 sheet (12960 sheets) = $28.99  [Long rolls, 270 sheets]
  • Broccoli – 1 kg = $3.99
  • Strawberries, fresh – 1.4 kg = $10.49
  • Mushrooms, closed cup – 0.5 kg = $4.49
  • Gnocchi, fresh – 1 kg = $9.29 [Alligator brand]
  • Soft Taco Kit, Old El Paso, 24pk – 0.785 kg = $9.29
  • Corn Chips, Mission brand, plain salted – 1 kg = $7.99
  • Mango pieces, frozen – 2.27 kg = $14.39
  • Parchment (baking) paper, Kirkland brand – 49.9 m = $8.69 [38.1cm wide]
  • Panadol Optizorb – 20 pk = $3.49
  • Purity Laundry Liquid – 4 L = $11.89
  • Corn Kernels – Frozen – 2 kg = 6.99 [Birds Eye brand]
  • Eggs – Free Range – 1.05 kg = 4.99

Checking the prices online for my local Coles I find the following best comparative prices:

  • Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese – 0.5 kg = $8.30
  • Tinned Tuna in Springwater, large tin – 0.425 kg = $3.00 [Coles brand, on special, normally $4.32 per 425g tin]
  • Light Milk (2%) – 3 L = $3.00
  • Fresh Salmon fillet – skin off – 1 kg = $26.00 [skin on]
  • Lurpak Spreadable Butter – 0.25 kg = $3.50 [On special, normally $5.42]
  • Mission Pizza Bases – 0.2 kg = $3.99 [Small sized bases]
  • Catsan Cat Litter (Crystals) – 2 kg = $9.32
  • Unibic Anzac Biscuits – 0.3 kg = $3.24
  • Napisan Vanish Powder – 3 kg = $16.27
  • White Potatoes (washed) – 3 kg = $7.90
  • Whiskas Single Cat Food (60 x 100g packs) – 1.2 kg = $9.76
  • Cottonelle Toilet Paper – 3240 sheets = $13.02 [Long rolls 12pk or short rolls 18pk]
  • Broccoli – 1 kg = $3.98
  • Strawberries, fresh – 0.25 kg = $3.48
  • Mushrooms, closed cup – 0.5 kg = $5.00
  • Gnocchi, fresh – 0.5 kg = $5.42 [Golden brand]
  • Soft Taco Kit, Old El Paso, 24pk – 0.405 kg = $5.50 [10 pack]
  • Corn Chips, Mission brand – 0.23 kg = $3.24 [only have flavoured versions]
  • Mango pieces, frozen – 0.5 kg = $5.00 [Coles brand]
  • Parchment (baking) paper – 15 m = $3.13 [Coles brand, 30cm wide]
  • Panadol Optizorb – 20 pk = $4.43
  • Purity Laundry Liquid – 1.25 L = $3.66
  • Corn Kernels, Frozen – 1 kg = $5.41 [Also have Coles brand for $4/kg]
  • Eggs, Free Range – 0.7 kg = $6.43 [Coles brand, 12 pack]

And the best comparative prices at my local Woolworths this week are:

  • Coon Shredded Pizza Cheese – 0.125 kg = $3.76 [for Perfect Italiano, no other equivalent]
  • Tinned Tuna in Springwater, large tin – 0.425 kg = $3.99 [Woolworths Select brand]
  • Light Milk (2%) – 3 L = $3.00
  • Fresh Salmon fillet – skin off – 1 kg = $26.99 [on special, normally $29.99 per kg]
  • Lurpak Spreadable Butter – 0.25 kg = $5.38
  • Mission Pizza Bases – 0.2 kg = $3.99 [Small sized bases]
  • Catsan Cat Litter (Crystals) – 2 kg = $6.99 [On special, normally $9.57]
  • Unibic Anzac Biscuits – 0.3 kg = $2.70 [On special, normally $3.21]
  • Napisan Vanish Powder – 3 kg = $19.50
  • White Potatoes (washed) – 2 kg = $5.98
  • Whiskas Single Cat Food (60 x 100g packs) – 1.2 kg = $9.68
  • Cottonelle Toilet Paper, 24 x 180sheets – 4320 sheets = $17.19
  • Broccoli – 1 kg = $3.98
  • Strawberries, fresh – 0.25 kg = $2.98
  • Mushrooms, closed cup – 1 kg = $10.98 [loose]
  • Gnocchi, fresh – 0.5 kg = $4.30 [Golden brand, on ‘extra special’]
  • Soft Taco Kit, Old El Paso – 0.405 kg = $5.50 [10 pack]
  • Corn Chips, Mission brand – 0.23 kg = $3.21 [only have flavoured versions]
  • Mango pieces, frozen – 1 kg = $9.66 [Nannas brand]
  • Parchment (baking) paper – 60 m = $10.74 [Glad brand, 30cm wide]
  • Panadol Optizor – 20 pk = $4.40
  • Purity Laundry Liquid – 1.25 L = $3.00    On special, normally $15.04 for 4L pack ($3.76/L)
  • Corn Kernels, frozen – 0.5 kg = $2.89 [McCain brand]
  • Eggs, Free Range – 0.7 kg = $6.41 [Woolworths Select brand, 12 pack]

So looking at unit pricing we get:

Product

Unit Size

Unit

 Unit Price

 Costco

 Coles

 WW

Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese

1

kg

 $    10.75

 $    16.60

 $    30.08

Tinned Tuna in Springwater – Greenseas, large tin

1

kg

 $       8.11 $       7.06 $       9.39
Light Milk (2%)

1

L

 $       0.96 $       1.00 $       1.00
Fresh Salmon fillet – skin off

1

kg

 $    29.99 $    26.00 $    26.99
Lurpak Spreadable Butter

1

kg

 $    13.58

 $    14.00

 $    21.52

Mission Pizza Bases

1

kg

 $       8.49 $    19.95 $    19.95
Catsan Cat Litter (Crystals)

1

kg

 $       3.25 $       4.66 $       3.50
Unibic Anzac Biscuits

1

kg

 $       6.59 $    10.80 $       9.00
Napisan Vanish Powder

1

kg

 $       5.29 $       5.42 $       6.50
White Potatoes (washed)

1

kg

 $       1.30 $       2.63 $       2.99
Whiskas Single Cat Food (60 x 100g packs)

1

kg

 $       5.15 $       8.13 $       8.07
Cottonelle Toilet Paper

100

sheets

 $       0.22 $       0.40 $       0.40
Broccoli

1

kg

 $       3.99 $       3.98 $       3.98
Strawberries – fresh

1

kg

 $       7.49 $    13.92 $    11.92
Mushrooms – closed cup

1

kg

 $       8.98 $    10.00 $    10.98
Gnocchi – fresh

1

kg

 $       9.29 $    10.84 $       8.60
Soft Taco Kit – Old El Paso, 24pk

1

kg

 $    11.83 $    13.58 $    13.58
Corn Chips – Mission brand, salted (no flavor)

1

kg

 $       7.99 $    14.09 $    13.96
Mango pieces – frozen

1

kg

 $       6.34 $       10.00 $       9.66
Parchment (baking) paper – Kirkland brand

1

m

 $       0.17 $       0.21 $       0.18
Panadol Optizorb – 20pk

1

tablet

 $       0.17 $       0.22 $       0.22
Purity Laundry Liquid

1

L

 $       2.97 $       2.93 $       2.40
Corn Kernals – Frozen

1

kg

 $       3.50 $       5.41 $       5.78
Eggs – Free Range

1

kg

 $       4.75 $       6.43 $       6.41

 

The ‘winners’ based on unit price are shown in green. I have marked the Coles Salmon in yellow because it is not really a comparative product as the fillet is skin-on.

Looking at the winners Costco has the lion share which seems to contradict ACA’s claims. Costco won 19 times but it only lost 3 times. Where one of the Colworths gang wins is usually because of a significant special and Costco isn’t losing by as much when it does compared to when Colworths lose. For example the biggest losers on Costco’s list are the Purity laundry liquid where Costco is 24% more expensive and the tinned tuna where Costco is 15% more expensive. On the flipside Coles and Woolworths had significant losers where they are at least 50% more expensive compared to Costco such as;

  • Shredded pizza cheese – Coles 54% more expensive; Woolworths 180% more expensive
  • Mission pizza bases – Coles and Woolworths both 135% more expensive
  • Washed white potatoes – Coles 103% more expensive; Woolworths 135% more expensive
  • Whiskas Singles cat food – Coles 58% more expensive; Woolworths 57% more expensive
  • Cottonelle toilet paper – Coles 80% more expensive; Woolworths 78% more expensive
  • Fresh strawberries – Coles 86% more expensive; Woolworths 59% more expensive
  • Mission corn chips – Coles 76% more expensive; Woolworths 75% more expensive
  • Frozen mango pieces – Coles 58% more expensive; Woolworths 52% more expensive
  • Frozen corn kernels – Coles 55% more expensive; Woolworths 65% more expensive

But what really wins for me – Costco’s price reliability. I have been collating my Costco dockets for many months now and the prices are mostly stable. There is no chasing specials on toilet paper (what do people do if they run out and Colworths don’t have it on special – hold on?), no catalogue comparisons and no excessive profiteering for my mind at Costco. They just do the best price they can for you on the day, every day.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The Kirklands dark chocolate almond cherry 907g container was $12.49 on 13/5/2013 and is now $15.49 on 24/09/2013. I believe the price of the 18 pack free range eggs has increased since we started going to Costco Auburn in March 2013.

    Apart from these two products I think everything has been pretty consistent.

    • Yes, the free range eggs have gone up about 30cents for the 18 pack in the last few months. They are still over 30% cheaper than Colworths. Some of the imported American products may be going up partly off the back of the currency change in the last few months.

      • I get those eggs as welll every month, but you should notice the size has increased from 900g to 1050g over this time.

        Further the brightness of the yolk for me is priceless.

        Cheers,

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