Consumer Watch: Groceries cheaper in south Auckland

By Susan Edmunds

Groceries are likely to be far cheaper if you buy them south of Auckland city

April Blanchette-Matthews, of Devonport, shops in South Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring
April Blanchette-Matthews, of Devonport, shops in South Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring

Aucklanders in some of the city's most expensive suburbs don't just pay a lot more in house prices for the privilege - it even costs them more to buy groceries.

Shoppers in South Auckland are paying up to 50 per cent less for many everyday groceries at independent retailers and some supermarket chains.

We took a shopping list of everyday food items and common purchases, to shops in Otahuhu and Papatoetoe and compared the bills to those of retailers around Grey Lynn and Westmere.

Eggs, meat, fruit and bread bought from butchers, fruit shops and superettes in central Auckland cost about $150. Just 20 minutes down the motorway, the same items cost just over $87.

NZ Butcher, at Hunters Corner, was selling mince for $5.99/kg, compared to $9.99 in Grey Lynn, and pork loin chops for $9, compared to Grey Lynn Butchers' $19.99/kg. The lowest available price in any Countdown store was $9.99/kg.

Bananas were 50c cheaper a kilo at Hunters Plaza Countdown than in Grey Lynn's Countdown store.

Onions were significantly cheaper at a specialty fruit and vegetable shop in South Auckland than from one in the central city, as were avocados and milk.

Darryl Evans, of Mangere Budgeting Service, was surprised at the results. He said meat seemed to have become more expensive over the past six months. Shoppers could get good deals by shopping around at smaller retailers or growers' markets but most working families did not have the time.

But Richette Rodger, town manager of Otahuhu Mainstreet, said it was common knowledge that South Auckland was a cheap place to shop, partly because of lower rents and high demand.

Many shops in her area parallel imported cleaning products, because they knew they would be snapped up.

She said customers travelled specifically to South Auckland Pak'n Saves to get cheaper prices.

Papatoetoe's NZ Butcher manager Matt Stowers cut prices by wholesaling much of his product to restaurants.

"I buy in bulk and sell in bulk. That keeps the prices down."

Devonport mother April Blanchette-Matthews regularly drives south for cheaper groceries. "It's a lot cheaper, maybe because there are a lot of low-income families (shopping there), but the quality is the same."

A Pak'n Save spokesman said each store was individually owned, and negotiated with suppliers to get the best deals for customers.

Countdown said stores responded to local competition. "If there is a local fruit and vege shop, or another supermarket nearby with a strong price offer, then our supermarkets can respond to that competition."

Grey Lynn Butchers' Lucia Rodrigues said it was expensive to run a business in the suburb, but people kept coming back for the high standard of service and niche products.


The great price divide

French bread
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $2.40
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $3.00

Pork loin chops (kg)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $9.00
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $20.00

Beef mince (kg)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $5.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $9.99

Diced beef (kg)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $7.50
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $14.65

Scotch fillet (kg)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $13.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $27.99

Milk (Two x 2L)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $5.00
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $9.98

Eggs (dozen)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $6.00
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $6.69

Onions 10kg
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $2.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $10.99

Apples (kg)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $1.49
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $1.99

Mandarins
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $2.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $3.73

Avocado
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $0.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $1.99

Spinach (two bags)
Price in Papatoetoe/Otahuhu - $4.99
Price in Grey Lynn/Westmere - $6.98


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