Australia's best and worst supermarkets revealed, according to new survey

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

Nearly 3000 people have had their say on Australian supermarkets, rating which they think is the best (and worst) when it comes to value for money, freshness, range and customer service. 

The consumer advocacy group CHOICE, have just released their inaugral Supermarket Satisfaction Survey, to find out what Australian shoppers really think about the supermarkets they frequent.

 And in a surprise result, a local South Australian chain has muscled out the two major supermarkets to take top spot.

Australia's preferred supermarkets

So who won the war? If you live in South Australia, Sydney or Newcastle, your locals were the top two winners. 

SA-based Foodland beat the major supermarket chains to take out the top spot with an 82 per cent satisfaction score. It was closely followed by Harris Farm Markets at 81 per cent, then Costco at 76 per cent. 

The big two supermarkets - Coles and Woolworths - who dominate the Australian supermarket landscape with nearly 62 per cent of the grocery market - scored the bottom two spots. 

It's not all bad news for the big brands however, as they received high scores for their online delivery services.

  1. Foodland (overall score 82%)
  2. Harris Farm Markets (81%)
  3. Costco (76%)
  4. Aldi (74%)
  5. IGA/Supa IGA (73%)
  6. FoodWorks (71%)
  7. Woolworths (69%)
  8. Coles (67%)
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Photo: CHOICE

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While Aldi was the top scorer in terms of value for money, those surveyed said that Harris Farm couldn't be beaten for quality and freshness of produce.

South Australia's Foodland won out for, "...ease of locating items you want, ease of use of shopping trolleys/baskets, speed and ease of checkout, store appearance and layout and clarity of signage showing unit pricing."

What do shoppers want?

About 45 per cent of respondents said the lack of local produce was a big frustration for them. One participant said, "Instead of stocking so many brands, supermarkets should concentrate on stocking fresher and locally produced produce".

CHOICE Food Expert Rachel Clemons said that, "The big lesson for Australian supermarkets is that fresh and local food matters."

Quality was identified as another determining factor in supermarket preference, as well as value for money. 

"The Choice community is renowned for being informed, discerning and savvy shoppers, so well done to the brands that impressed," Clemons added. 

Consumer gripes

Frustrated by self-serve check outs? Sick of being unable to park or fit through the aisles with a pram? There are certain aspects of supermarket shopping that annoy even the most seasoned shopper.

Choice also compiled a list of 16 common supermarket gripes to find out which things irritated Aussie shoppers the most. 

The number one gripe? Excess packaging, with 54% of respondents saying it annoyed them. Supermarkets, take note! 

Here is the full list, from most irritating to least:

  1. Too much packaging on products
  2. Lack of locally produced products
  3. Long wait at the checkout
  4. Products being unavailable / sold out
  5. Lack of staff member to provide assistance
  6. Difficult to find the products I want
  7. Using self-service checkouts
  8. Confectionary near the checkouts
  9. Difficulty comparing the prices of similar products (e.g. unit prices not comparable)
  10. Difficulty finding the healthiest food option
  11. Finding a parking spot
  12. Poor accessibility (e.g. narrow aisles and checkouts, small signs)
  13. Store opening too late / closing too early
  14. Too many home brand products / Home brand products replacing branded ones
  15. Products being discontinued / removed / Reduced product range
  16. Poor quality produce / fresh food

Interestingly, many people shop for their groceries at multiple chains – with 42 per cent of survey respondents saying they use three or more. 

As always, CHOICE's report is more in-depth than what you see here, so make sure you go over to the website to read the full version.