Cost of living: Newshub test reveals where to get cheapest groceries, whether food shopping on Amazon will still save you money

Last year New Zealand supermarkets were put to shame when it was revealed buying groceries from Australia and shipping them across the ditch was cheaper. 

The controversial revelation was made in March 2022 by an Otago woman who resorted to shopping on Amazon Australia and shipping her groceries to New Zealand to save money. At the time she said she had saved $40 by buying her pantry staples from overseas. 

It's not the first time Kiwis have eyed across the ditch for savings. Australia has long been lauded for having higher wages, a lower cost of living and better opportunities with many New Zealanders being tempted over during the years. But the woman's hack sparked anger and horror with many saying it highlighted Aotearoa's sky-high food prices. 

To add insult to injury, the same month the hack went viral, a market study of New Zealand's grocery sector by the Commerce Commission revealed supermarkets earn $1 million a day in excess profits. 

While the report made several recommendations, high inflation has seen prices continue to increase. The latest data from Statistics New Zealand, which was released in January, shows prices were up 11.3 in December 2022 compared with December 2021 - the biggest increase in 32 years.

The increases were driven by fruit and vegetable prices (up 23 percent), and groceries and meat, poultry and fish (both up 11 percent). Restaurant meals also saw a 7.8 percent increase year on year.

But New Zealand isn't alone in experiencing high inflation with grocery prices in Australia recently making the news for their huge increases. 

So with food prices soaring in Australia is it still cheaper to buy your groceries on Amazon or have New Zealand supermarkets redeemed themselves? Newshub put them to the test by comparing the price of buying spaghetti, canned tomatoes, rice, rolled oats and coffee and flour from Amazon versus shopping at Countdown, New World, PAK'nSAVE and The Warehouse. 

All the prices are accurate as of Tuesday, January 17 and were purchased online from Auckland stores. Prices may vary depending on the store. 


I began my shop at Amazon to get a benchmark for what New Zealand supermarkets had to beat. I immediately noticed there seemed to be fewer items available compared to last time and many of them were out of stock or unavailable. 

The cheapest 500g packet of spaghetti was San Remo coming in at AU$3.39 (NZD$3.69). Next up were canned tomatoes which came in at AU$2.35 (NZ$2.56) for 400g of Absolute Organic Diced Tomatoes or Absolute Organic Whole Peeled Tomatoes. 

The cheapest rice on Amazon was 400g of Slendier Konjac Rice for AU$3.14 (NZ$3.42). Rice was one of the items which was surprisingly hard to find and many of the options listed were out of stock or unavailable. 

Next up were rolled oats. The cheapest option was 1kg of Scott's Porage Original Porridge Oats for AU$3.79 (NZ$4.13). 

Instant coffee was next on the list with the cheapest jar being 50g of Bru Original Instant Coffee for AU$$3.20 (NZ$3.49). 

The most basic pantry stable, flour, also proved difficult to get on Amazon. Several of the options were out of stock or had minimum order requirements. The cheapest available flour was 5kg of Wholegrain Milling Co Sustainable Stoneground White Bakers Flour for $33.21 or $6.64 per kg. In the spirit of fairness, I didn't add any flour to the cart but added an extra $6.64 to the overall bill. 

The total for the Amazon shop was AU$22.51 (NZ$24.52) for the six items plus shipping. However, if I spent more than $50 on a bigger shop, shipping would have been free. 

Total: NZ$24.52 plus shipping 

Groceries prices have shot up over the past year.
Groceries prices have shot up over the past year. Photo credit: Getty Images


After Amazon, I jumped on the Countdown website to see how much the same items would cost. 

The cheapest pack of spaghetti at Countdown was 500g of Essentials Pasta Spaghetti for $1.50.

The cheapest canned tomatoes were Countdown's own brand which was on sale for $1.20 down from $1.40.

Next up was rice with the cheapest option being 1kg of Essentials Long Grain Rice for $2.40 which is both cheaper and more than Amazon. 

Next up were rolled oats coming in at $3 for 750g of Countdown's own brand. 

The cheapest instant coffee meanwhile was 90g of Special Blend Powdered Instant Coffee, which was on sale for $2.20 down from $2.80. 

The cheapest flour meanwhile was 1.5kg of Countdown Plain Flour for $2.50. In total, the six items came in at just $12.80 at Countdown. 

Total: $12.80 plus shipping (if getting it delivered). 

New World

New World was up next with the cheapest spaghetti coming in at $1.49 for 500g of Value pasta. 

Value was also the cheapest option for canned tomatoes with 400g of chopped tomatoes costing just $0.89. 

And Value took out the cheapest option again for rice with a 1kg bag of white long grain rice available for just $2.09

Pams had the cheapest rolled oats on offer with a 750g bag going for $2.49. Meanwhile, Value once again took out the top (or cheapest) spot for instant coffee with 90g of instant coffee powder costing just $1.89.  

Pams once again had the cheapest option when it came to flour with a 1.5kg bag of plain flour costing $2.49.

In total, the shop at New World came in at just $11.34. 

Total: $11.34 plus a $1 fee for click and collect or a shipping fee for delivery. 

Cost of living: Newshub test reveals where to get cheapest groceries, whether food shopping on Amazon will still save you money
Photo credit: Getty Images


PAK'nSAVE, which advertises itself as having New Zealand's lowest food prices, was next up.

The cheapest spaghetti on offer was also the Value brand but at PAK'nSAVE it will set you back just $0.99 for 500g. 

Value also had the cheapest canned tomatoes with a 400g can available for $0.79 and the cheapest rice with 1kg of long grain white rice available for just $1.59. 

The cheapest coffee was also Value with a 90g jar of instant coffee powder costing $1.79. 

Meanwhile, Pams was the winner when it came to rolled oats with a 750g bag available for just $1.89. The cheapest flour was also Pams with 1.5kg of plain white flour costing just $1.89. 

In total the six pantry staples cost just $8.94 at PAK'nSAVE. 

Total: $8.94 plus a $1 fee for click and collect. 

The Warehouse

The last store was The Warehouse which has recently expanded the groceries it offers. The cheapest spaghetti available was 500g of Moccagatta Spaghetti Pasta for just $0.97. Unfortunately, it was out of stock so I went with the next best option which was Market Kitchen Dried Pasta Spaghetti for $1. 

The least costly canned tomatoes were the Ciao Italian Chopped Tomatoes for $1.30. Rice was up next which was available for $3.40 for 1kg of Kings Choice Jasmine Rice. 

Meanwhile, the cheapest instant coffee was a 90g bag of Gregg's Special Blend Granules Refills for $2.20.

Harraways had the cheapest rolled oats with a 900g bag available for $3.90 and the cheapest flour was The Warehouse's own brand Market Kitchen with 1.5kg for $1.80. 

In total the six items cost $13.60. 

Total: $13.60. Delivery and click and collect were both free at The Warehouse. 

Cost of living: Newshub test reveals where to get cheapest groceries, whether food shopping on Amazon will still save you money
Photo credit: Getty Images


While getting pantry staples may have been cheaper from Amazon last year, this year it seems to be not only more expensive but a hassle. Several items were out of stock or unavailable and many had minimum purchase requirements which can cause the price to jump up quickly. 

The Amazon shop was not only the most expensive but also the most time-consuming and frustrating, which makes sense given it's not actually a supermarket. 

The cheapest shop was PAK'nSAVE followed by New World, Countdown, The Warehouse and then Amazon which came in at a whopping NZ$24.52 or $15.58 more than the cheapest NZ option.