Global Update on Unit Pricing

Ian Jarratt of the Queensland Consumers Association in a supermarket with unit price labels in the background

The latest edition of the Queensland Consumers Association’s (QCA) newsletter Unit Pricing Global Update (found here) contains information about unit pricing in several countries including in:

  • New Zealand (new legislation requires some grocery retailers to provide unit pricing)
  • United Kingdom (competition regulator acts to improve grocery unit pricing and recommends legislative change)
  • Canada (federal Competition Bureau and federal parliamentary committee recommend improved grocery unit pricing)
  • Hong Kong (Unit prices are provided on a consumer organisation’s grocery price comparison website).

QCA spokesperson, Ian Jarratt says that in Canada the Competition Bureau and the parliamentary committee’s recommendations on grocery unit pricing are important not only for consumers in Canada (where consumer organisations have been advocating for years for grocery retailers to provide effective unit pricing) but also consumers in other countries where unit pricing is either not provided or is not easy enough for consumers to notice, read, understand and use.

The Bureau’s recommendation, contained in its Retail Grocery Market Competition Study report published in June 2023, was that: Provincial and territorial governments should consider introducing accessible and harmonized unit pricing requirements because:

  • Competition works best when consumers know where to get the best deals.
  • Right now, consumers have to compare many different products and package sizes to choose what is best for them.
  • This is a daunting challenge to even the most informed consumer, and out of reach for too many.
  • The development and implementation of accessible and harmonized unit pricing requirements across Canada would help consumers more easily compare similar products that come in different package sizes.

Currently, only certain grocery retailers in Quebec province are required to provide unit pricing. However, often it is not easy enough for consumers to use in Quebec or in other parts of Canada, where some grocery retailers voluntarily provide unit pricing.

The Bureau’s report and media release are available here and here, respectively.

The recommendation is also in line with the federal House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food recommendation in its June food price inflation report (available here) that: the Government of Canada work with provinces and territories to adopt a standardized approach to unit pricing labelling practices in the grocery sector to assist Canadian consumers in making informed decisions in their purchasing.

For more information about, and copies of, QCA’s newsletter Unit Pricing Global Update contact Ian Jarratt at