TikTok video documenting 'outrageous' prices of food at Countdown goes viral

A video documenting the current prices for everyday foods and imported produce at Countdown is being widely shared online, prompting many to weigh in on how expensive even the cheapest meals have become amid the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

New Zealand content creators Nikita and Hamish, who go by the username @inorbit_travel on TikTok, have gained hundreds of thousands of views across their series of videos documenting the high cost of food in local supermarkets. 

Statistics New Zealand's food price index rose by 12.5 percent in June, pushed up by a lift in the cost of eggs, yoghurt and cheese compared to the previous year. The latest data showed the cost of fruit and vegetables had risen by 22 percent from the previous year - with tomato, kūmara, and potatoes all increasing in price - while the cost of grocery foods also rose 12.8 percent year-on-year. 

The video - titled "Outrageously Priced Items, Countdown NZ, 2023" - shows a series of items and their current prices at the supermarket, starting with half a honeydew melon at $9. This is followed by a 200g punnet of 'jelly bean' cherry tomatoes for $9.99, a single yellow capsicum for $4.99, a pack of three New Zealand scotch fillet steaks for $37.10, a five-pack of Nissin instant noodles for $9, a 1L bottle of Charlie's Honest Squeezed Orange Juice for $9.50, and a 1kg block of Mainland edam cheese for $18. 

The clip, which has amassed more than 171,000 views and 12,000 likes at the time of writing, was captioned: "More absolutely outrageously priced items at Countdown this week."

Viewers took to the comments to express how inflation is impacting their ability to afford food, with one writing: "The sad part is these prices are starting to seem normal now. Like I can't remember when they were cheaper."

"I know and every time it's like, that's 30 mins of work to pay for that item," @inorbit_travel responded.

"The quality of veggies is so poor yet it's more expensive than ever. Small odd-shaped cucumbers $5, a small muddy spring onion $3," another weighed in, with a third adding: "It's unreal at this point."

"When $9 is the new $5," said another, with a fifth commenting: "I went to pay my monthly wage for a lamb leg today. What a time to be alive."

Others pointed out that the produce mentioned is currently out-of-season, resulting in higher prices due to importation costs. Both honeydew melons and yellow capsicums are imported at this time of year, while cherry tomatoes are in limited supply throughout the winter, impacting their price. 

Shopping seasonal, locally grown produce can cut the cost of your grocery shop as the fruits and vegetables are readily available: think beetroot, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, mushrooms and potatoes, along with apples, grapefruit, green kiwifruit, mandarins and rhubarb. 

It wasn't made clear in the video where in New Zealand the Countdown was located.