There has been much talk in the past year about the price war between Coles and Woolworths and what benefits will be passed onto the consumer. But an article in the Herald this morning suggested that the new drives from supermarkets (my5 from Coles and Everyday Rewards from Woolies) benefit the company, and not the consumer. So how are supermarkets turning the price war to their own advantage and is there any way that consumers can score a couple of victories of their own?
What’s On Offer
I’ve written previously about my5. You would have received your Flybuys card in the mail, which entitles you to to 10% off 5 everyday items of your choice, until at least October. Woolworths have attempted a one-up on my5 with their Everyday Rewards customers being offered 20- 40% off hundreds of different items, with no minimal spend attached, unlike the Coles rewards. So what’s the catch?
Benefits To The Supermarket
Research shows about 10% of consumers are strongly attached to their supermarket chain. Here in Oz, we’re likely to exhibit the behaviours of a savvy shopper, and head where the discount is greatest. So the latest weapon in the price war, new and improved loyalty cards, are suggested to do two things for a business. According to the experts quoted in the Herald, rewards programs offer greater consumer loyalty and far more sophisticated consumer research. As in, the data that is collected can now be set against demographic information and shopping patterns. Allowing supermarkets to market smarter and more efficiently in the price war. So how can the consumer win themselves?
Our Own Price War
Shopping around is an essential aspect of frugality. It’s fine to have a loyalty card, as long as you’re not buying more expensive items at the supermarket to improve your card balance. Think outside the box- could you save money buying at Aldi, the local greengrocer or food cooperative? Should the local Growers Market become part of your Saturday morning routine? Of course, it takes more time and some increase in effort but the savings are worthwhile.
Cook From Your Own Pantry
Reconfigure how you approach cooking around your own pantry. Got stacks of chickpeas? Make falafel burgers for dinner. Got more tomato passata than you know what to do with? Make a stew with leftover veggies from the fridge and a nice stock. Instead of getting a new set of ingredients every week, organise around your pantry contents and then add in the necessary extras.
Grocery shopping is not only about dollars and cents. It’s about buying what’s good for us and our families. So take your iPhone next time you head to the store. I love the Shop Ethical app, as it details the provenance of items that I buy and their ethical implications. Another great app is Frugal, which instantly converts bulk prices into something I can understand, allowing me to make informed decisions on items and whether they’ll actually save me money. ShopWell provides nutritional information, providing information to help in buying the right kinds of food for our family (and a great way to research the current ‘superfood’ or ‘bonafide health kick’ option) and Sustainable Seafood is wonderful if you’re concerned about the health and environmental repercussions of eating fish and seafood.