At some point on your trip around New Zealand, you’ll be on the lookout for a supermarket. For some of you, you’ll make frequent visits if you’re travelling New Zealand on a smaller budget. For some of you, it’ll be to pick up food for hikes, day trips, and, well, sometimes you just want a god damn snack.
After reading this post you’ll know about:
- the different supermarkets in New Zealand
- the cheapest supermarket chain in New Zealand (actual food prices included)
- tips and tricks for shopping in New Zealand supermarkets
Supermarkets In New Zealand
There are three main supermarket chains you’ll find throughout the country:
- New World
TL;DR: The cheapest supermarket in New Zealand is Pak’nSave.
Pretty much every kiwi will give agree with this as they have the best prices across the board, with their advertising tagline ‘NZ’s lowest food prices’ engrained in every kiwi’s mind.
Therefore you might find yourself in a place where New World and Countdown are the only options. At worst, you might need to shop at one of the 245 Four Square supermarkets which are usually found in smaller towns but are known to be more expensive. In some regions, you might need to go to a Fresh Choice (31 stores) or Super Value (39 stores).
Food Prices In New Zealand
Let’s scrap the theory and get onto real-world prices between the big three New Zealand supermarkets.
How did I put together this list?
As I’m not in New Zealand at the time of writing (and don’t want to hassle friends) I’ve looked up the price on the exact same item on each of the respective online ordering websites. In order to get the most accurate prices I’ve:
- Chose 13 items identical items.
- Listed the full retail price.
- Compared prices at three stores in close proximity. Specifically Pak’nSav Kilbirne, Countdown Kilbirnie, and New World Newtown.
Here are the results.
Food Prices In New Zealand (full retail price as of June 20th, 2019)
|Product Name||Countdown||New World||Pak’nSave|
|6 Farmer Brown Size 8 Jumbo eggs||$3.00||$3.09||$2.59|
|Produce bananas (1kg)||$2.99||$2.99||$2.00|
|Produce Fair trade babanas 850g||$3.99||$4.49||$3.76|
|Fresh produce tomatoes (1kg)||$4.99||$5.99||$4.99|
|Mackenzie Malted Sprouted Grains Craft Settlers Loaf (500g)||$4.40||$4.69||$4.39|
|Skinless & Boneless Chicken Breast (1kg)||$14.50||$13.99||$12.99|
|1L Anchor Blue Milk||$2.82||$2.82||$2.69|
|Wattie’s Baked Beans (420g)||$1.79||$1.79||$1.49|
|Moccona Classic Freeze Dried Medium Roast Coffee (90g)||$10.49||$10.49||$8.49|
|White washed potatoes (1kg)||$3.00||$2.29||$2.49|
|Mother Earth Peanut Butter Chia Seed (380g)||$6.00||$4.99||$5.59|
|Sanitarum Marmite (250g)||$3.99||$3.99||$3.69|
|Sanitarium Weet-Bix Breakfast Cereal (375g)||$3.80||$3.79||$3.49|
So as you can see, Pak’nSav is clearly the cheapest across the board, nearly 10% cheaper the New World who were marginally ahead of Countdown.
New Zealand Supermarkets Tips & Tricks Etc.
- If you see people walking in bare feet, don’t be surprised.
- Check your receipts, you’ll often get fuel discount vouchers which can be great.
- For the most part, they’re open seven days a week (I’m looking at you Germany).
- You can sign up for rewards programs at Countdown and New World which give you discounts. It’s free to sign up.
- You can buy beer and wine in supermarkets (bring your ID into the store – even if you aren’t the one making the purchase). Want spirits? You’ll need to go to a liquor shop.
- Farmer markets are a good spot to get cheap fruit and veggies while cutting out the middle man.
- You can get phone credit at supermarket checkouts (we talk sim cards for visitors here).
- New World Metro stores have higher prices than a regular New World store.
- Single-use plastic bags are banned from supermarkets so bring your reusable bags (or buy one in store). Pakn’Save stores usually have boxes you can use to pack things in.
- Hunt the specials. If there are several brands providing a near identical product, there’s a good chance one of the brands will be on special each week.
- If you’re planning to buy things from the bakery, you’ll often find the products at a discount after 6 pm.
Happy food shopping! It’s always a blast walking around supermarkets in a new country! I’m writing this in San Ignacio, Belize, and the supermarkets here are small independently owned spots. The names of the two I went to today were ABC Supermarket and David’s Store. Annoyingly, not everything is marked with a price (everything is in NZ supermarkets).