The supermarket price wars are heating up, with Countdown knocking Pak'n Save off the lowest-price pedestal in one Wellington suburb.

Consumer NZ surveyed the prices of 40 top-selling items at supermarkets in north and southeast Auckland, Tauranga, Napier/Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

It found Pak'n Save was still the country's cheapest supermarket, with the lowest prices in six of the seven centres.

But the survey found Countdown was closing the gap, claiming second place from last year's second-cheapest supermarket, New World, which is now the most expensive.


Countdown managed to beat Pak'n Save in the Wellington suburb of Kilbirnie, where the total bill was $141 at Countdown and $145 at Pak'n Save.

Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin said the secret to the chain's rise to second place was the number of discounts and multi-buys on offer at Countdown.

"Some of the discounts were huge - you could save $2.49 on a pack of instant coffee.''

Ms Chetwin said the lesson was you could get good deals at Countdown - so long as you stuck to the specials.

But it was also the most expensive supermarket in Wellington when buying online, with the items costing $160 including a $13.25 delivery fee.

The cost of shopping online dropped to $5.25 when picking up the groceries, however, making it cheaper than New World in Wellington.

The survey found the cheapest supermarket in the country was the Pak'n Save in Hillside Rd, Dunedin, while the most expensive was the Chaffers New World in Wellington.

New World's drop to bottom place would come as no surprise to shoppers in Albany. The cost of the 40 items was $153 at the local New World, compared with $132 at the Albany Pak'n Save.


Pak'Save remains the cheapest for basic items like sugar, milk, flour and butter, with the lowest prices for seven out of the 10 basic items surveyed.

The 40 items surveyed included food and non-alcoholic drinks, personal care and cleaning items.