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Thursday, June 12, 2008

When is buying bulk more expensive? At the supermarket.

Screenshot of Tesco prices showing that a larger jar of coffee is more expensive per gram than a smaller jarThis is something that really annoys me. Why is it that, at the supermarket, it is often cheaper to buy two small containers of produce rather than one large container of an equivalent size? I'm not talking about two for one offers here.

If you enlarge the picture you will see a screen shot off of the Tesco web site. It took me about two seconds to find an example because it is very common both online and in store, not just for coffee, but all goods. In this example buying coffee in the larger jar is 5% more expensive than buying the same coffee but in smaller jars. This means that to get the best deal you end up having to buy lots of smaller jars.

This makes no sense at all because of the waste of packaging, two jars, two lids, two labels etc. When the supermarkets make claims for how environmentally friendly they are this gross waste astounds me.

What are the supermarkets playing at? Common sense would say that a larger volume purchase should be cheaper. Do they think that customers will just buy the larger jar thinking it will be better value without checking the price against the smaller jars? Is this a deliberate tactic by the Tesco, Walmart etc to trick their customers into spending more than they have to?

Makes me mad every time I visit the supermarket. I should be able to know that when I buy a larger jar/ packet/ tin or bag of produce then that means I am getting the best price by volume. I don't always have the time to work out comparative prices by unit weight for products and I shouldn't have to.

Supermarkets that make me take home twice as much packaging than is necessary are demonstrating how cynical they are when it comes to the environment and are driving me round the bend

Walmart, Tesco, Sainsburys et al use some common sense and get this sorted!


  1. Blimey Polybore, calm down it's not worth it!

    I think the supermarkets are transparent about their pricing these days: they have to display the price per 100g or 100ml.

    I too have noticed this baffling policy of wee doses of stuff being cheaper per 100g than big doses.

    I guess that the most popular sizes, like the smaller jar of coffee, have to be kept artificially low in price in order to compete with other supermarkets.

    A more sinister explanation may be that buyers of bulk items are less valuable to the supermarkets, because bulk buyers are liable to visit less often and therefore are less likely to buy stuff they don't need...

    I know full well you're stocking up in anticipation of the global food shortage- get yerself to Makro!

  2. Smaller less expensive produce - obviously it's pandering to pensioners who are brassic, don't NEED lots of stuff and couldn't carry it home without breaking their hips anyway?

  3. I don't like being charged for the unnecessary packaging found on supermarket foods and products. I shop at bulk food health food stores for many foods and products these days. I like measuring and weighing what I buy and being clear about what the prices for the goods are by unit. I bring my own cloth shopping bags and paper bags which I recycle until they are no longer usable.