Consumers Respond to ACCC: Higher Grocery Prices Force Many to Sacrifice

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Many younger Australians and lower income households are spending up to one-quarter of their net income on groceries, according to responses so far to the consumer survey which is part of the ACCC’s Supermarkets Inquiry.

Households have also told the ACCC that to reduce their grocery bills they are spending more time shopping around for savings, substituting fresh food with frozen, and cutting back on non-essential items.

Some people have also reported skipping meals or sacrificing meals to feed children properly.

Over 13,000 consumers have responded to the survey so far, and the ACCC is urging more people to do so before it closes on Tuesday 2 April.

“Survey responses give us a very important insight into consumers’ everyday experience of the sector that will complement our investigation into the pricing practices of the supermarkets,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“Taking into account the demographics of those who have already responded, we particularly want to hear from more adults under the age of 30, people for whom English is not their first language, and people in rural and regional parts of Australia.”

“Having responses that reflect the whole community’s experience will help us to identify the right issues that need to be explored more deeply in our inquiry. Findings from the consumer survey will be included as part of the ACCC’s interim report, due by the end of August,” Mr Keogh said.

The ACCC is seeking to deepen its understanding of how Australian consumers shop for groceries, particularly since the Covid pandemic and recent sharp increases in the cost of living. The ACCC also wants to understand what current supermarket practices concern consumers the most.

These survey results will inform the ACCC’s assessment of competitive dynamics in the sector and help to identify issues for further exploration as part of the Supermarkets Inquiry.

“A clear theme in the survey responses so far is that consumers consider the price of groceries to be a major factor in the cost-of-living crisis,” Mr Keogh said.  

“Grocery shopping is an essential in everyone’s life, and we strongly encourage Australians to share their experiences with us via our online survey.”

The consumer survey as part of the ACCC’s supermarket inquiry is open until 2 April 2024. The survey takes 10-15 minutes to complete.  

Grocery supply chain participants and other interested parties are also invited to make submissions in response to the issues paper via a guided submissions process on the ACCC’s consultation hub until 2 April 2024.

Above is the media release (28/03/2024) from the ACCC.

CFA encourages all consumers to respond to the ACCC’s consumer survey to make sure as many consumer voices are heard as possible in the supermarket inquiry.