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You’ve Earned It went on a price-hunting mission to see where consumers
get the best value for money on normal grocery purchases.





Four members of staff at You’ve Earned It put together a list of a basket of goods that they all shop for on a regular basis. Each member was then given a supermarket chain in Cape Town and tasked with pricing each of the items on Wednesday, 14 September 2016. The purpose of the exercise was to do a Price Check/comparative shopping study.

Comparative prices are often bandied around and many people have their favoured supermarket, so we thought we would clarify the matter.


The Shopping Basket



In the table, the eggs are not a clear comparison. We chose to price Grain fed X-large, but neither Spar nor Woolworths stock grain fed eggs, so Free Range were priced and were marginally more expensive. Both Nescafe and Five Roses teabags were on special at the Spar on the 14th September, hence the noticeably lower prices. Chicken filets at Woolworths are a house brand, and each filet is individually wrapped within the larger packaging, facilitating freezing, which might have a bearing on the considerably higher price.

Looking at the above table, it is clear that for most, although not all items, you pay a premium to shop at Woolworths. People who shop there regularly will be quick to add that they do so because the quality of the produce at Woolworths is superior and the fresh goods last longer. Do you, our readers, think that the higher price offers value for money?

For most of the items, there is not one store that is clearly the most economic. Checkers is usually thought to be the cheapest, but according to our price check, not when it comes to dry goods such as flour and sugar. Pick n Pay betters their prices in the above goods, as well as chicken filets. But Checkers were clearly the lowest when it came to lean beef mince.

Many think of Spar as charging a premium for their convenient positioning and opening hours. We chose the SuperSpar as they stock a wider range, and were surprised at how well they competed, coming in lowest on bananas and potatoes. They are usually well positioned in residential areas with plentiful parking, not in large shopping malls, and most are open until 21h00.




The price war continues further afield with the broadsheets offering specials that bombard our mail boxes regularly. We have found it is worth scanning these if you have the time to take note of the products you purchase regularly. Nescafe Classic is a good example, being  R15 to R20 cheaper on special. It doesn’t warrant a special trip, though.

Pick n Pay’s new Smart Shopper App that tracks what you regularly buy and then targets you with coupons is also worth noting. Many don’t know that as a 60-year-old and over you get double smartshopper points on a Wednesday, but you need to load them onto your card each Wednesday, either via the phone App or the machines in store.

The Star recently featured an article about Pick n Pay which included a quote from Suvasha Kander of Ashburton Investments: “Kander expected food inflation would be 10.6 percent year on year in 2016 and peak at 12 percent in the last quarter.  Kander also expected a deceleration of food inflation early next year with average inflation of 6.3 percent”. The latter is, however, dependent on rain.

The YEI comparative survey was interesting in that it highlighted the results of the price war between the big supermarket chains and reinforced the belief that you need to shop around and take advantage of specials if you are on a limited budget.


Can you recommend any one supermarket chain when it comes to savings?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below…


  • Gill Ashliin says:

    Spar gives a pensioners discount which makes it worthwhile when they have specials. I normally buy more than one when they have specials. Otherwise Checkers is the cheapest in total.

  • Gill Ashliin says:

    You must have a pensioners card for that particular Spar.

  • Judith Shopley says:

    Ive discovered Mark Downs. This happens in 2 Checkers in my area(Northcliff and Emmarentia) as well as some Pick n Pays in this area. One takes pot luck, but any fresh products that expire on that day are marked down at least 50%, Ive picked up inter alia mushrooms, fennel, strawberries, gooseberries and fruit and vegetables. Also puddings and bread products are marked down,

  • Anita Burger says:

    Very time consuming, but one needs to do a price check between the shops and also /till slips before leaving a store. I had gone to 4 different shops last week and each day I was almost ripped off by prices, been different on the shelves and the till. Checkers Hyperama, Hey Day, during last week, an item was marked up R1 at the till, price should be R5.99, till R6.99, Spar Weetbix was about R5 cheaper than Hyperama. I do understand that not many seniors can get to the various shops and do the check, but at least check your till slip, Fruit and Veg is another one to becareful of. The cashiers do not check the prices as they ring them up.

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