Choice begins quest to refresh GROCERYchoice
The first edition of the oft-criticised GROCERYchoice website under the consumer group Choice’s banner appears today, with major alterations to the site due in the second half of 2009. The interim site will run in a similar vein to the old ACCC site until a completely revised supermarket price system takes over later this year.
Consumers and critics alike are being invited to contribute their ideas for the site (grocerychoice.com.au) as Choice continues its program of consultation with supermarket stakeholders, consumer and welfare groups around the country.
Choice takes over at a time when food price inflation has escalated again, with December CPI figures showing a 5.6% increase in food prices in the past year. It is expected that disinflation will occur in coming months, however, as plummeting oil prices and falling food commodity prices make their way through the supply chain.
“Our aim is to create a more transparent, more timely and, where possible, a far more localised service which will be of direct relevance and use to consumers wanting to get the best deal out of the $50 billion a year grocery industry,” Choice spokesman, Christopher Zinn, said. “The first half of the year is about consulting, designing and building a special purpose information system with significant enhancements to the current service. To get that right inevitably takes time.”
An initial survey of more than 2000 consumers using the CHOICE website found most wanted to see prices updated at least weekly, and that they were keen for prices to be displayed for individual items and not just baskets of goods.
There were also suggestions for the range of baskets to be expanded to include healthy food categories to help monitor the costs of eating well, green baskets for more sustainable food and baskets to help compare the price of house brand foods.