How to save money on groceries as food prices soar, country dips into recession

  • 15/06/2023

Kiwis are under the pump as recently released data shows food prices have climbed once again, with soaring fruit and vege prices largely behind the hike. 

While saving money may seem out of reach as staple food items remain pricey, experts have advice for helping households spend less at the supermarket.

New Zealand entered a technical recession on Thursday after Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was down 0.1 percent quarter-on-quarter.

It comes after Stats NZ released figures on Wednesday showing the food price index rose 12.1 percent in May compared to the same time last year. Fruit and vegetable prices alone increased by 18.4 percent.

Foodstuffs said on Wednesday a survey of customers found food prices remain a concern, with many reporting cutting back on fresh fruit, veggies and meat to cope with the cost of living.  

However, experts have tips for Kiwis to ensure they are making the most of their grocery shop.

The first step to saving at the supermarket is to have a plan. Before you set foot in the supermarket check your cupboards and make a list to ensure you aren't doubling up on perishables you already have at home.

"Shopping lists are really important, so it's all about planning, understanding what you're going to eat, shopping to your list and that is all you require," Financial Advice New Zealand chief executive Katrina Shanks told Newshub last year.

"For many, they go into the supermarket to pick up two things and $60 later they walk out and have eight things, and that can be a trap for many people. So sometimes the temptation of going into a shop means you do spend more because you see more than you would like."

Kiwis can also take advantage of online shopping or scan-and-go shopping, which both show customers how much they are spending as they go, helping people stick to their budget.

Last year registered nutritionist Claire Turnbull told Newshub a list of tips to help cut back when at the supermarket. 

Turnbull advised Kiwis to make use of seasonal produce and the frozen section, including frozen fish, vegetables and fruit.

She said consumers should avoid frequent shops as the more often they go the more likely they are to pick up extra items and be date-savvy to get the best use-by dates.

When it comes to making meals she said the cheapest thing for breakfast is oats, for lunch eggs are a good option and for dinner Turnbull recommends bulking up staples, such as mince, to make cheap and cost-effective meals that can be used time and time again throughout the week.  

The final tip is to not waste food. It is estimated Kiwis households waste about $1520 worth of food each year, which equates to $3.1 billion of food wasted. For information on how to not waste food click here.