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What is the Best Supermarket?

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by Dayna Chu (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published May 15th 2014
What is the Best Supermarket?
coles, aldi, woolworths, aussie farmer direct, big 3, groceries australia, produce prices, milk prices
Image credit: AussieFarmersDirect.com.au

As a busy Mum shopping for a family of 6, I feel like Coles and Woolworths are two of "The Big 3" (generally includes Aldi) that are my only realistic options. I would love to support farmers' markets and suburban veggie shops, but the limited hours and product availability, not to mention increased prices and dragging four kids around with me, are somewhat prohibitive.

Aussie Farmers Direct
I have researched Aussie Farmers Direct, but with limited brand selection and very restricted delivery options, I just can't seem to make it work, and can't justify the 20% to over 50% (!) higher prices than Coles and Woolies. They do offer "free" delivery options (I suspect the costs of delivery are rolled into the price of groceries), and 2% of your weekly Aussie Farmers Direct shop can be donated back to your registered School, Club, or Group.

"Over 170 products" to choose from. I'm pretty sure Coles has over 170 cheeses alone to choose from.

Payment options include credit card payments, which will occur when orders are processed for next day delivery. Direct Debit payments are being phased out as an option, but are currently bundled into one bill, processed on Friday evening between 4:30pm and 6pm AEST for all orders delivered Monday - Saturday.

Aussie Farmers Direct has an app.

Coles
  • Delivery generally costs between $8 and $13. Costs vary by location and time. Your first delivery is FREE when you spend $100 or more.

  • Coles offers free delivery:
    • Wednesdays if you spend over $100
    • Anytime you spend over $100 and pay with your Coles Mastercard
    • Occasional offers that are only available to select customers, for example, free shipping over $200

  • Mobile EFTPOS available at time of delivery or collection.

  • Delivery fees vary depending on your chosen time slot. You can choose from a range of 2 or 3-hour delivery windows.

  • Delivery fees are scaled by how popular the delivery slot is (versus Woolworths' system of scaling delivery prices by how much you spend; free over $300).

  • Place an order 14 days in advance.

  • Fuel discount up to 14 cents per litre (bundled discount).

  • Sorry Curtis Stone, but Woolies has Jamie Oliver.

  • App that doesn't get rave reviews, but may be worth checking out.


Woolworths
  • Delivery generally costs between $3 and $11. Costs vary by how much you spend. Your first three deliveries are FREE and any delivery over $300 is free anytime.

  • Occasional offers that are only available to select customers, for example, free shipping over a certain minimum spend (seems to depend on how often you shop, or sometimes if it's been a while since your last shop; not sure what algorithm they use to determine the offer).

  • Fuel discount up to 8 cents per litre.

    woolies, jamie oliver
  • Everyday Rewards & Qantas Frequent Flyer program points available.

  • Jamie Oliver, what's not to love?

  • Collector card programs like the animal cards they had last year and the baby animal cards, then the Dreamworks cards. You may be surprised at how major of an incentive this is for some families!

  • Get free delivery on your first 3 orders, and all orders over $300.

  • Delivery fees are scaled by how much you spend (versus Coles' system of scaling delivery fees by how popular the delivery time slot is).

  • Place an order 7 days in advance.

  • Free delivery on weekends ($30 minimum) until 29/6/2014.

  • Shop on the go with the Woolworths App.


Aldi
  • No Delivery available for groceries, though they are trialing delivery for liquor, and one Aldi staff member told me that it was a pilot for grocery delivery.

  • Hours are fewer (most close at 8pm).

  • Food brand and product selection is significantly limited compared to Coles and Woolies, but some items are significantly cheaper.

  • Clothing and seasonal household goods can be cheap and cheerful finds; varying reviews on quality (read: keep your receipts!).

  • Charges extra for the use of credit cards.

  • Aldi is so confident in their prices, they've run an entire campaign based on getting Aussies to switch, save, and celebrate.


Price Comparisons
Price comparisons using the cheapest online version of the same product from each shop (note that they indicate that some prices may vary depending on what region you live in): Please note that all products compared are 100% Australian.
  • Milk:
    • ALDI: FARMDALE ® Milk Full Cream 3L ($0.96 per litre) $2.89
    • COLES: Coles Milk 3L ($1 per litre) $3
    • Woolies: Woolworths Milk 3L ($1 per litre) $3
    • Aussie Farmers Direct: Full Cream Milk 3L ($1.66 per litre) $4.99

  • Eggs:
    • ALDI: LODGE FARMS ® Eggs Free Range 12 pk 700g ($0.64 per 100g) $4.49
    • Coles: Coles Free Range X Large Eggs 12 pk 700g ($0.67 per 100g) $4.70
      woolworths bread price
      Image credit: Woolworths.com.au
    • Woolies: Woolworths Select Free Range Eggs 12pk 700g ($0.71 per 100g) $4.99
    • Aussie Farmers Direct: Free Range Eggs 12 pk 700g ($0.89 per 100g) $6.20

  • Bread:
    • ALDI: BAKERS LIFE ® Wholemeal 650g/700g ($0.21-$0.23 per 100g) $1.49
    • Coles: Coles Smart Buy Wholemeal Bread 650g ($0.23 per 100g) $1.50
    • Woolies: Homebrand Wholemeal Bread 650g ($0.25 per 100g) $1.65
    • Aussie Farmers Direct: Wholemeal 700g $3.30 ($0.47 per 100g) $3.30


    Other

    Image credit: AussieFarmersDirect.com.au
    Costco, Deals Direct, GroceryRun.com.au, your local suburb grocer... where do you shop? Do you wish that you were not so dependent on the low prices and convenient options available at "The Big 3"? What are the harder questions that Australians should be asking? Do we consider our own savings to be the only thing that matters? Is ignorance really bliss? What about my friends and relatives that provide the food that Coles and Woolies and Aldi sell? Fellow Australians are farmers, but fellow Australians also work at Coles and Woolies and Aldi. What do you reckon?


    Product availability, prices, delivery options and fees are current at time of publication and subject to change.
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Don't forget that Coles (Wesfarmers) and Woolworths are great Australian public companies, employing many Australian workers and many Australian suppliers, and sharing their profits amongst superannuation funds and private investors, and thus providing income to many people who might otherwise need Centrelink support. Whilst foreign companies like Aldi and Costco also employ local people, their profits go offshore. Farmers markets are a great way to support local producers, but tend to be expensive. I prefer to shop at Coles. Their prices are reasonable, and their fruit and veggies are fresh - not exposed to the elements.
by marel (score: 1|14) 2075 days ago
I find that Coles & Woolies whilst convenient are more expensive than independent Suppliers - these may not necessarily be other super markets but vegie suppliers & delis which also employ Aussies and in regional areas, local growers. One example comes to mind - Italian coffee $5.99, the same brand and size in Woolies is nearly $9. Vegies are fresher and local cheese is very good value. The only reason to shop in the 'big two' are specials & cat food. They are supposed to be cheaper because of buying power, not true as far as I can tell
by lynro (score: 0|6) 2075 days ago
The good thing with Coles or Woolworths is their online shopping application and offers associated with that. They release online offers and coupons regularly which not many are aware of and you can save even further. At times they offer free delivery for your online order and you can even specify a time to get it delivered..
look out herewww.thebargainavenue.com.au http://www.thebargainavenue.com.au/interests/home-a-garden/coupons/25643-woolworths-coupons-latest-woolworths-voucher-codes-woolworths-promotional-discounts
Aldi doesn't have an online shopping cart.
I just checked you can now shop online at Aussie Farmers . Direct and also fresh organic food Wow. That is news to me. Thanks.
by katma (score: 0|4) 1962 days ago
Well, as an asian, I find that Coles is the best place to find asian food, ingredients to cook asian meal besides some asian groceries which are not in my area of living. Woolworths tends to be a bit more expensive while Aldi is cheaper with limited selections. I remember the time when I went shopping at Safeway, IGA but now they have fewer places than Coles and Woolworths which are spreading out to everywhere. I would love to go shopping at the markets if there are any nearby but sometimes it's difficult to find some asian items in local markets.
I think it's difficult to say what the best supermarket is, it depends on many factors, so you just pick what is the best for you, that's it.
by DrGunner (score: 1|20) 2074 days ago
I find this article absolutely disgraceful. To begin with this forum should not be an advertising place for Coles, Woolworths and Aldi. These supermarkets are destroying Australian farmers and food producers. Dayan Church needs to find out about the unlawful practices of Coles and Woolworths before she continues to promote them. If she wishes to be stupid enough to buy food at these stores then let her family suffer but how dare she be given space in this forum to promote such companies. We are fortunate enough to have fruit shops, butchers and other food stores as well as major food markets and farmers' markets, but if we do not properly support them then we will end up like the USA where most people now have no choice but to buy all of their food at supermarkets because people did not value their other food stores. So now in the USA the people have no choice but to buy poorer quality food at higher prices because the supermarkets have the monopoly. Prices are not higher at markets and in many ways actually works out cheaper because the food is so fresh that it lasts longer and so there is no need throw away food that it no longer fresh. To say that shopping in markets is 'dragging kids around' proves that Dayna has not actually given her family the enjoyment of shopping in places other than supermarkets. One of the things I notice at markets, farmers' markets and local food stores is the amount of fun families are having in such enjoyable environments. I feel very sorry for Dayna's children who are currently only experiencing supermarket shopping.
by diane (score: 0|6) 2075 days ago
Planet Fruit and Veg near Station in Frankston next door to TASMAN Butcher.
Can get bread and milk there also. Both good local shops.
by joan_ (score: 1|12) 2074 days ago
Our favourite is Leo's in Hartwell. They have many choices for all products with a range of prices; they don't only supply and push 'home brands'; their day to day products are cheaper than Coles and Woolies; fruit and veg are of superior quality; and the service is faultless- always happy staff who are happy to help and to answer any question you might have.
by carol (score: 0|2) 2074 days ago
Aldi for the main shopping. Unfortunately Coles & Safeway have the monopoly - I try to support IGA where I can.
by pamg (score: 1|34) 2075 days ago
Aldi
by sophi80 (score: 0|2) 2075 days ago
IGA - Especially Chelsea Heights. They dont make you wait in long lines, someone always ready to jump on a check out. great range of items and they have a discount on seniors day and with a card a donation goes towards a charity of your choice
by 37big (score: 0|7) 2075 days ago
The best supermarket is in Ferntree Gully ' Maxis '
by lisam (score: 0|2) 1825 days ago

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