Sizing up food prices


IS a Queenstown supermarket price-war already on?

With Countdown opening at Frankton – one of the supermarket chain’s best opening weekends ever for turnover - Mountain Scene did a price comparison with New World.

We picked 21 grocery items, including Marmite, Weetbix, eggs, chocolate, bread, butter, wine and cheese.

It turns out New World’s cheaper on nine of the 21 stock items, although sometimes by just a cent.

Seven items have the same price, leaving just five that Countdown wins on price.

We avoided fruit, vegetables and meat and noted only the shelf price, not any specials.

To be sure there was a valid comparison we opted for big-name brands over home brands.

New World Wakatipu owner Michelle King says it hasn’t dropped prices because of Countdown. 

Her store prides itself on “a shopping experience that is second-to-none”. 

“The supermarket industry is highly competitive and we believe a range of supermarkets in the area is good for the customer - and giving the customer what they want and need is what we are all about.”

She’s silent on how busy New World has been since Countdown opened.

Queenstown Countdown store manager Antony Tasker says: “We’re confident that our prices are competitive, particularly with our price-down programme where we are able to offer our customers indefinitely lowered prices on over 2700 products in our stores.

“Our Queenstown customers will also continue to see great specials in-store and would have had a taster of this with the 5000 promotions on offer in opening week.”

The totals for the 21 items were $103.97 for New World and $105.51 for Countdown.

Interestingly, Queenstown’s Countdown is slightly cheaper than a store in Auckland, which
came in at $105.73. 

Given its central Queenstown location, you’d expect FreshChoice to be more expensive - and it was.

Our sweep of 21 items at FreshChoice came in at $114.09.

FreshChoice owner Tony Wild couldn’t be reached.