Supermarket Survey

Reporter: Andrea Burns

You're stretching the budget as far as you can - but how far until it breaks? And can you beat shopping's big boys, when it comes to feeding your family?

We made a list, checked it twice, and went shopping. Everyday items, exactly the same brands and sizes, all surveyed on the same day to see where they're the cheapest. And our survey team covered supermarkets from Spearwood to Joondalup.. and plenty in between. Small independents, and the big chains.

Young mum Mandy McMurdo is like many of us - trying to make her dollar go further, stocking up when prices go down, especially on everyday items

We'll tell you which supermarket on our list came in cheapest, in a moment, but first how do this year's prices compare to last?

Well, this year the average basket price came in just under eighty six dollars. Last year, it was just under eighty-one - five dollars difference.

Marketing expert Barry Urquhart says the five bucks doesn't sound like much but the survey confirms what many of us already suspected - we're being fleeced. "Between the two surveys, retail prices for the average basket has increased by 6.22% which is roughly double the rate of inflation in Australia"

To see how much families can save, let's compare prices. Firstly, bread. On the Tip Top Sunblest Loaf, the most expensive we found, a cent shy of four dollars, the cheapest, two dollars forty nine at Farmer Jacks in East Fremantle - a dollar fifty a loaf less.

Baked beans in tomato sauce. You could pay a dollar sixty four a can - but you could get exactly the same one for a dollar at Coles Kardinya and Spearwood.

Icecream, a pricey treat if you don't shop smart. Two litres of Peter's Vanilla. The most expensive, six dollars and nine a tub, the cheapest, almost a third less - four dollars thirty, at Coles Galleria

Washing powder, again big savings here. We compared one kilo packs of Cold Power . The priciest, just under twelve dollars, the cheapest, eight-ninety-nine at Woolworths at Success and Forrestfield. The saving - thirty three per cent.

But, by far the biggest variation came with these three items. Palmolive dishwashing liquid, Arnotts Assorted Cream biscuits, and a large Sanitarium Weetbix. the detergent - three dollars forty nine was the most expensive bottle - a dollar ninety nine, the cheapest, a dollar fifty saving, a seventy five per cent difference.

The Arnotts Biscuits - pay five dollars fifteen - or just two ninety-nine at IGA Thornlie- a seventy two per cent difference And the Weetbix - you could pay up to five dollars at the most expensive or less than three dollars, at Farmer Jack's East Fremantle- a sixty five per cent difference.

So, overall - on our basket of everyday items, the most expensive one came in at ninety one dollars 54, the cheapest, eighty three dollars eighteen cents at the Super IGA in Thornlie, a saving of nine per cent.

Coles and Woolies might dominate the supermarket landscape but only three dollars separated their most expensive store from their cheapest. Barry says that's significant, "the big boys, coles and woolworths are looking at each other, they're matching the prices, they're in lock sync"

And that was reflected in our top 5 cheapest - three of them were Woolworths stores, Super IGA in Winthrop at number 5

TOP 5 CHEAPEST

1. Super IGA Thornlie

2. Woolworths Success

3. Woolworths Belmont

4. Woolworths Riverton

5. Super IGA Winthrop

If, like Mandy, you took advantage of those specials and shopped at the cheapest store every week, Barry says the savings would really add up, "you could shop 5.22 times free of charge - and that is an economic stimulus!"