End dodgy 'specials'

We need your help to call out misleading pricing.

Update: This week, we sent an open letter to the chief executives of Foodstuffs North and South Island, and to the managing director of Woolworths, asking them to clean up their act when it comes to pricing at the supermarkets. We will be recommencing our price monitoring in a month to see if there has been any improvement. We’ll need you to be our eyes and ears at the supermarket – so stay tuned. 

Read the open letters: 

Foodstuffs North Island
Foodstuffs South Island

The Commerce Commission recommended supermarkets take responsibility to ensure their pricing and promotional practices are simple and easy to understand. But we’re not convinced they will. We still receive regular complaints about so-called supermarket ‘specials’. 

Send us your examples of dodgy specials.

We need your help to call out misleading pricing. Whether it's an 'everyday low price' or 'super saver', we need you to send us examples of unclear or misleading pricing and promotional practices, so we can hold the supermarkets to account.

Send your photos to playfair@consumer.org.nz

What do you think of supermarket specials?

Every day, the major supermarkets are making more than $1 million in excess profits.

With the cost of living rising, many New Zealanders are struggling to put food on the table.  

We need more competition to bring down prices. 

We’ve been calling for ten fixes to make the supermarket industry truly competitive. Many of these are now happening, including:

  • A mandatory code of conduct
  • Appointing a Grocery Commissioner
  • Improved access to goods at wholesale prices for other retailers
  • Banning land covenants that prevent competitors from setting up shop
  • Mandatory unit pricing. 

This is great progress, but our work isn't done yet. 

The story so far

1948: The country's first self-service grocery store 'Four Square' opens. 

Late 1950s: The first Woolworths opens Foodtown. 

1950s - 2000s: New Zealand enjoys a diversity of supermarkets over the decades, from Price Chopper to Pak'N'Save to Super Value.

2002: Supermarket choices dwindle as larger players buy up smaller retailers, until the duopoly is officially born when Progressive and Woolworths merge. 

2000s - 2010s: New Zealand has one of the most concentrated grocery retailing sectors in the world with Foodstuffs and Woolworths now controlling at least 80% of the market. Complaints about the cost of food, as well as a lack of clarity around pricing, concerns for supplier treatment and impediments to new entrants entering the market grow louder. 

November 2020: The Commerce Commission launches a market study to see if competition is working well in the grocery sector. 

March 2022: The final report is released and confirms duopoly are making profits in excessive profits of $1 million a day at the expense of New Zealanders. A variety of recommendations to increase competition are made by the Commission.

May 2022: Consumer NZ launches a petition for the government to go beyond the recommendations, which receives 78,000 signatures. 

July 2022: The Government indicates it will go further than Commerce Commission’s recommendations, with various measures underway to encourage healthier supermarket competition. 

August 2022: The Government gives the duopoly a year to reach a supply agreement with wholesale customers, or be forced to sell at set prices by a regulator.