New Zealand ‘no frills’ independent supermarket Pak’nSave has won the 2014 battle to be New Zealand’s cheapest, edging out Woolworths’ Countdown to be crowned the country’s cheapest supermarket in Consumer NZ’s annual survey of supermarket prices.

Consumer NZ Chief executive Sue Chetwin said Pak’nSave had the lowest prices in all seven main centres surveyed. It lost to Countdown in Wellington last year.

For the survey, done last month, shoppers bought from a list of 40 top-selling items, including food and drink, personal care and cleaning items.

Countdown is owned by Woolworths’ Progressive Enterprises; New World and Pak’nSave are part of the two Foodstuffs cooperative groups in the North and South Islands.

“Savings at Pak’nSave on our basket of 40 groceries averaged around $14,” Ms Chetwin said.
This year, Consumer also gave its shoppers a list of eight “top shelf” products to buy at Countdown and New World as well as at Nosh in Auckland and Moore Wilson’s in Wellington.

The list included espresso coffee, organic milk, multi-grain bread, premium yoghurt, and a Kiwi brand of olive oil, but the comparison didn’t include Pak’nSave, which stocks a range of everyday basic groceries in bulk.

New World was the cheapest on price for these products in every centre, beating Countdown by between $4 and $8, Ms Chetwin said.

“Pak’nSave may lead on price for budget buys but the trade-off is your choice of brands can be more limited,” she said.

Consumer found Countdown had the most products on “special” – nearly half the items bought in some stores were discounted. But it noted that the regular price of at least some of these products was dearer than at other supermarkets, making savings look more attractive.

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