Australians are in shock after discovering their usual supermarket bills were significantly more expensive at the checkouts this week.
Both Coles and Woolworths announced prices had been “dropped and locked” on hundreds of grocery staples including cereal, meat, bread and toiletries in October 2022.
The supermarket giants said the programs had been introduced to give shoppers greater certainty at a time of product shortages and rising cost of living pressures.
Woolworths ended its price freeze program at the end of January while Coles recently announced it would continue to offer hundreds of products at lower prices — but items included in the offer have changed.
As a result, customers whose regular items were previously reduced have had a nasty shock at the tills, leaving some furious.
Woolworths Facebook page has been flooded with comments from shoppers asking why there’s a string of “price hikes” on their shop.
Coles shoppers have also taken to their Facebook page to blast the “huge” increases, many labelling it “mind-boggling”.
A Coles spokesperson told news.com.au the adjustments to the program were “based on what customers were buying most”.
“We’ve extended the dropped and locked program and added more than 300 new products to the program based on what customers were buying most at this time of year and where we could actually make a difference to their weekly budget.
“This has resulted in some products being taken off the program.”
News.com.au has also contacted Woolworths for comment.
Social media users however have lashed out at the supermarkets for adjusting the product list.
“How come on Sunday I bought a W/W mineral water diet orange and passionfruit for 75 cents and today it was $1.50? That is 100 per cent more in 3 days. A complete rip off. Will not be buying that again!” one Woolworths shopper wrote.
“Certainly hiking up the prices. $4.20 last shop, $5.00 this shop – 19% increase of 80 cents in one go!!!,” another said under a photo of a can of Nestle Coffee & Milk.
“Considering it is just milk and sugar (with 4 per cent coffee) and those farmers aren’t seeing increases in farm gate prices, I hope you’re holding Nestle and other suppliers to account for this cost of living pressure?”
Similar messages of frustration were left on the Coles Facebook page too.
“Hey Coles, your 4 pack of 500ml mother can varieties were $7.60 as little as a week ago. This week it’s been changed to $12 a pack. I know inflation on year is 7.9 per cent which would make the price $8.45, however at $12 is an increase of over 53 per cent in one week,” one pointed out.
“Wow the sudden price hike within the week is mind-boggling. A few items so far I get every week has jumped 40 – 50 per cent on EACH item. I don’t understand the justification behind that. So suddenly too,” another added.
As one raged: “How can you justify 1.5L Powerade being sold for $6.35? All last year it was $3.90 – there should be a royal commission into supermarkets, that’s an increase of over 60 per cent.”
Coles current price freeze is set to be in place until Easter, while Woolies had recently reduced the price of more than 300 “summer grocery staples” despite ending its rival program.
“We know cost-of-living pressures are being felt by Australian families, and throughout 2023 we will continue to work hard to help them save each time they shop with us,” a Woolies spokesman said last week.
“While the price freeze program has come to an end, we remain focused on maximising value for our customers, and many of the products from the program currently remain at the same low price.”
Wallets have been hit hard by the soaring cost of groceries due to rising cost in production as Australia grapples record inflation spikes.
Every day items including eggs, milk and even packets of chips have copped price hikes, putting a strain on budgets. Not even the iconic supermarket mud cake has been able to avoid being whacked with a hefty price “adjustment” – rising from $4.80 to $5.75.
On Saturday, Kellogg’s told news.com.au the cost of cereal had been impacted due to the “highest production costs in decades”.
The statement came after a savvy shopper spotted a 650h box of Coco Pops, currently retails for $9.50.
Lauren Whitney took to TikTok after spotting the brekkie favourite on special in Coles, priced at $17.10 for two boxes, saving $1.90 from the regular price.
“This is a joke right? One average sized box of cereal, or two for $17,” she said.
She captioned her video with a series of hashtags, including “costofliving”, “poverty line”, “broke”, “unaffordable” and “help”.
Her shock was shared by many of the 477,000 viewers who watched her clip, with many labelling it “crazy”.
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