Consumers have asked supermarkets voluntarily improve how they display the unit price (price per unit of measure) of packaged grocery items.

The call, backed by the national consumer advocate Choice, comes from the Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) which lead the national campaign that 5 years ago resulted in large supermarkets being required to provide unit pricing to help shoppers easily compare values.

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QCA spokesperson, Ian Jarratt, said too many unit prices are difficult or impossible for many shoppers to notice and read and this is substantially reducing the consumer use of, and benefits from, unit pricing.

QCA estimates that improved unit pricing and more consumer education could easily lift the benefits consumers get from unit pricing by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

QCA says Australian supermarkets should follow the example of their UK counterparts and commit to voluntarily improving how they display unit prices on shelf labels and other in-store signs.

This would be a marvellous present to shoppers from supermarkets for both the 5th anniversary of the start of unit pricing and for Christmas and significantly reduce the cost of living pressure on households

Ian Jarratt says unit pricing was brought in so that shoppers could compare the value of different pack sizes, brands, special and regular offers, packaged and unpackaged products, etc. without having to use a calculator or do tricky mental arithmetic.

But he says now many shoppers need a magnifying glass to easily read far too many unit prices.  This is defeating the whole purpose of the system to make it very easy for all shoppers to compare all prices and values.

Photo Credit: Vilseskogen (cc)