Mandatory grocery unit pricing coming to India and New Zealand

The latest edition of the Queensland Consumers Association’s (QCA) newsletter Unit Pricing Global Update reports that:

  • India will require display of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) per standardised unit of measure (i.e. the unit price) on pre-packaged commodities sold by retailers after 31 March 2022. Currently only the MRP has to be displayed.
  • In New Zealand the Commerce Commission has recommended that the government make the provision of unit pricing mandatory for grocery retailers. Currently, some grocery retailers provide unit pricing voluntarily but there are no national standards and the extent and quality of provision are very variable.

About India’s decision to require display of the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) unit price on pre-packaged commodities, QCA spokesperson, Ian Jarratt says:

“Given that almost 1.4 billion people live India (17.5% of the world’s population) this is a very significant development in the ongoing consumer campaign for the provision of unit pricing to facilitate price transparency, informed consumer choice, and competition throughout the world.

This unusual type of unit pricing reflects that the MRP system was introduced in 1990 to protect consumers from profiteering by retailers and to curb tax evasion. The MRP is set by the manufacturer not the retailer. The provision of the unit price of the MRP is aimed at allowing easier consumer comparison of the prices of the commodities at the time of purchase. The trade-off for now also requiring the provision of the MRP’s unit price is that package sizes will no longer be regulated.

Hopefully, later India will also require the provision of unit prices based on actual selling prices on shelf labels, internet selling sites and in advertisements.”

More information about India’s decision is available in this newspaper story.

About the NZ Commerce Commission’s recommendation that NZ grocery retailers be required to provide unit pricing, Ian Jarratt says:

“The Commission’s proposals are a great step forward for consumer protection/empowerment and competition in New Zealand.

The overall recommendation on unit pricing is to MANDATE THE CONSISTENT DISPLAY OF UNIT PRICING and there are number of associated recommendations:

  • Minimum standards regarding display be specified.
  • Standardised units of measurement be specified for each category of products to be covered by the requirements.
  • Some product categories be exempted from a requirement to display a unit price, where the unit price would not provide useful information.
  • The requirements apply to in-store display and advertising in print media and online where the selling price is displayed, but not television, radio, and other video or audio content.
  • An appropriate transitional period be provided before compliance is mandatory, to ensure necessary retailer systems can be implemented.
  • There be an appropriate monitoring and enforcement regime, including penalties for non-compliance.

On which retailers should be required to provide unit pricing, the report recommends that “Both online and physical retailers above an annual grocery revenue threshold should be subject to unit pricing requirements.”

Significantly and relevant to Australia’s unit pricing legislation, the report also says that:

We considered whether grocery retailers should also need to sell a specified range of grocery products to be subject to a code, as in Australia. However, we consider that application of the Australian Unit Pricing Code may be too narrow, and would risk excluding retailers for which consumers could benefit from their inclusion.

The NZ government has not yet said that it will implement the Commission’s recommendations. However, it has said it will immediately progress work on them, that this work will be a high priority, and that legislation is expected to be introduced this year.”

The Commerce Commission’s report is available here.

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

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