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IGA budget-friendly move ties prices to Coles and Woolworths

IGA is following the lead of major competitors to keep prices down.

IGA is following the lead of major competitors to keep prices down. Photo: TND/Getty

IGA has responded to cost-of-living pressures by price matching the lowest shelf items of its biggest rivals.

Every IGA store in the country will match lower Woolworths and Coles’ prices for more than 600 ‘essential products’, from this month.

Larger IGA stores will go a step further, and match the lowest regular shelf price of more than 1400 products.

As the country heads into the Christmas season, Metcash Food CEO Scott Marshall said value is “more important than ever”.

The price-matched items will have blue price-match tickets in IGA stores, and will include a range of products, from Milo to dog food.

Supermarkets

IGA’s blue tickets show products price-matched with supermarket rivals. Photo: IGA

IGA’s price-match program is permanent, unlike price freezes put in place this year by Coles and Woolworths, but the items that are price matched will change, depending on seasonality.

The move comes as cost-of-living pressures have overtaken the pandemic as the greatest source of worry for Australians, after the Consumer Price Index rose by 6.1 per cent over the June quarter.

Gary Mortimer, Queensland University of Technology consumer and retail expert, told The New Daily although IGA’s price-match program is simply following its competitors’ lead in prices, it is a “smart move” in these tough times.

“It’s a good response, when times are tough and we are encountering food price inflation, to lower your prices in line with your competitors,” he said.

Supermarkets find new ways to save

Both Coles and Woolworths have taken steps to alleviate cost-of-living pressures on shoppers by launching temporary price freezes on hundreds of household essentials this year.

Woolworths’ price freeze will end on November 29, and Coles’ version will expire on January 31, 2023.

While these measures are temporary, Dr Mortimer said they offer a lot of help to household budgets.

“Reducing prices and locking them down for a period of time helps consumers budget more effectively,” he said.

“Fuel and groceries are the two big costs that families face every week.

“If you’re able to identify a group of products, where the price has been locked down and will remain consistently low for a long period of time, that enables families to budget more effectively.”

Shoppers have been hit by higher prices at the checkout this year, with supermarkets hiking the price of home-brand milk by up to 60 cents per litre, while the costs of fresh produce has been volatile, thanks to floods and international supply chain issues.

Dr Mortimer said it’s important to remember while shoppers are encountering cost-of-living pressures, so are retailers and suppliers.

He said major supermarkets including IGA, Coles, Woolworths and Aldi are working hard with their suppliers to deliver lower prices to struggling Australian families.

“We want to make sure that our retail businesses remain profitable, and that team members get paid. We also have to remember it’s important for suppliers to be paid a fair price for their products and projects,” Dr Mortimer said.

“Bearing in mind the supply chain that includes suppliers, retailers and consumers, in these tough times, we are really seeing our supermarkets look to different ways in which to provide greater value to shoppers.

“That may be through locking down prices, long-term discounts, increased loyalty points programs, or price matching.”

IGA’s price match program follows the expansion of the supermarket’s low-cost offshoot Supa Valu in July, which buys and displays products in bulk to cut down on costs and pass on savings to customers.

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