Newshub test reveals which of NZ's three main supermarkets has the cheapest pantry staples

The cost of living crisis is hitting Kiwis' back pockets hard, with the latest figures showing New Zealand's food prices have risen again. 

Statistics NZ said on Tuesday the cost of fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat all recorded notable yearly increases.

Stats NZ's food price index for May showed food prices had grown year-on-year by 6.8 percent.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy urged consumers to avoid big supermarket chains to find the best deals.

"Shop around and put the time and effort in if you have the ability to find the best deals," Duffy told AM co-host Ryan Bridge on Wednesday. 

"Use the internet, use your networks, use your social media groups to find places that are looking to address these issues. Perhaps avoid the supermarket chains where you can, to pick up good deals."

Newshub decided to conduct a test comparing the price of several pantry staples from New Zealand's big three supermarkets - New World, Countdown and PAK'nSAVE.

The 10 items which were compared were broccoli, cheese, milk, carrot, mince, bread, pasta, rice, toilet paper and washing powder. 

All the prices were compared on June 16 using the supermarkets' websites. 

The difference in prices was startling for some items such as toilet paper - which was in red-hot demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cheapest price available at the three big supermarkets is at Countdown, where an Essentials white four-pack costs $1.40 compared to $1.59 for a Value white four-pack at New World and $2 at PAK'nSAVE for a four-pack of Pams toilet paper.

The price of toilet paper at Countdown versus New World.
The price of toilet paper at Countdown versus New World. Photo credit: Countdown/New World

There was also a significant difference for mince with the cheapest available being at PAK'nSAVE for $6.50 for 500 grams, while it was $8 at both New World and Countdown.  

The price for individual broccoli was relatively similar, with the cheapest being at PAK'nSAVE for $2.29, followed by New World for $2.49 and Countdown at $2.50. 

The price of cheese was relatively similar at New World and PAK'nSAVE but significantly more expensive at Countdown. 

For 1kg of Pams Edam cheese, it costs $9.79 at PAK'nSAVE followed by $9.99 at New World, but remarkably it costs $13.50 for Countdown's own-branded 1kg block of cheese. 

When comparing Mainland Edam 1kg block of cheese, it was the cheapest at New World for $14.89, followed by $15.99 at PAK'nSAVE, then Countdown at $17.90. 

The price of cheese at PAK'nSAVE versus at Countdown.
The price of cheese at PAK'nSAVE versus at Countdown. Photo credit: PAK'nSAVE/Countdown

The price of milk was pretty similar around the three supermarkets with the cheapest 2-litre milk being Countdown's own brand and Value Standard at PAK'nSAVE for $3.91. At New World, the cheapest 2-litre milk was $3.96.

PAK'nSAVE won the battle for the cheapest carrots coming in at $2.49 per kg while it's $2.99 at New World and Countdown. 

The prices again were similar for the cheapest available white bread, with PAK'nSAVE offering Value brand bread for $1.15. The same bread was available for $1.19 at New World, while Countdown's own-brand white bread cost $1.20. 

PAK'nSAVE also had the best prices for pasta, with 500 grams of Value spaghetti costing $0.99, while the same pasta cost $1.19 at New World and Essentials spaghetti cost $1.20 at Countdown. 

The price of pasta at PAK'nSAVE versus Coutndown.
The price of pasta at PAK'nSAVE versus Coutndown. Photo credit: PAK'nSAVE/Countdown

The price of white rice was pretty similar between the three supermarkets, with PAK'nSAVE the cheapest for a 1kg bag costing $1.79, followed by New World at $1.89 and Countdown at $1.90.

The last of the items compared was 1kg of washing powder with Surf, the cheapest brand in all three supermarkets. At New World and PAK'nSAVE, it cost $3.99 while at Countdown, it was $1 more expensive at $5.