Pak'nSave supermarket selling 9c avocados - cheap deal or marketing ploy?

Pak'nSave Hastings is selling avocados for 9c each on Thursday.  At rival Countdown, they're priced at $1.20 each - or 3 for $3.
Pak'nSave Hastings is selling avocados for 9c each on Thursday. At rival Countdown, they're priced at $1.20 each - or 3 for $3. Photo credit: Supplied/Newshub.

It is said that if people keep buying avocado on toast, they'll never afford a house - but one Hawke's Bay supermarket is debunking that theory.

On Thursday, Pak'nSave Hastings is selling avocados for 9c each.  

That's a lot cheaper than rival supermarket chain Countdown, where shoppers can buy avocado for $1.20 each - or three for $3.

Similarly, Fresho, an Auckland-based fruit and vegetable retailer, is selling avocados for $1.29 each - or 5 for $5.

The 9c special ends on Thursday and is limited to a maximum of six per customer, Antoinette Laird, Foodstuffs New Zealand head of corporate affairs says.

"Avocados at this extra special one-off price have been flying off the shelves for this one day only deal… customers are absolutely loving it," Laird said.

At 9c per avocado, prices don't get much cheaper than this. But it's likely to be a marketing ploy. 

Consumer NZ spokesperson Gemma Rasmussen said while affordable avocados are always welcome, the 9c special is an example of a loss leader, used to entice shoppers.

"Most people don’t go to a supermarket to buy just one thing, so loss leaders are used to attract customers to a store where they’ll often purchase several items,'' Rasmussen said.

"[They're] typically accompanied by attempts to recoup finances through other goods in-store, so shoppers should be wary of potential price increases in other areas."

While the dirt-cheap price is good news for avocado-lovers, New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular said the price is no reflection on what it costs to produce.

"An avocado costs the grower and supply chain at least $1 before there's any return," Scoular said.

Avocado crop volumes, size profiles and quality are good this season. But global freight disruptions have affected demand, making it tough for growers.

"The market is getting some export avocados because of the issues our exporters are having… from a supply-side it's very good but the markets have been a bit sluggish," Scoular added.

But as food prices went up 4 percent in the year to September (fruit and veggies by 9 percent), 9c avocados offer some respite for shoppers, making that avo on toast affordable - at least for one day.