The First Findings From The ACCC Supermarket Inquiry Are Here And Yep, People Are Skipping Meals

Thousands of low income Aussie households are spending one quarter of their income on groceries, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reports, as it releases the first findings from its inquiry into the supermarket industry

More than 13,000 people have responded to the ACCC’s callout so far, with many reporting they are reducing their bills by spending more time shopping around for deals, swapping out fresh food for frozen, and cutting back on non-essential items.

Some have even described skipping meals to save money or feed children.

Last month, the ACCC launched an investigation into the supermarket industry — and in particular, power players Coles and Woolies— in order to understand how the public use their stores, and to determine whether consumers were getting ripped off by an uncompetitive industry. 

ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said the responses were helping identify what issues needed to be explored.

“A clear theme in the survey responses so far is that consumers consider the price of groceries to be a major factor in the cost-of-living crisis,” he said in a statement.  

“Grocery shopping is an essential in everyone’s life, and we strongly encourage Australians to share their experiences with us.”

People say they are cutting back on fresh food to save money. Image: Getty.

Specifically, it wants to know if high grocery prices are caused by large supermarkets squashing the competition. If so, the government could issue serious fines and may even have the power to break up Coles and Woolworths.

Despite this, business economics expert and Australian National University professor Robert Breunig told PEDESTRIAN.TV that while we may all want cheaper groceries, the inquiry will likely find that the supermarkets are acting fairly.

“The inquires that have been done over past 15 years have come to the conclusion that there’s quite a lot of competition in the grocery market, and I just can’t see this one finding any different,” he said.

“There are a lot of things happening in the economy that make the stuff we buy in grocery stores expensive. One of them is the price of fuel, and the other thing is the cost of labour.

“So I think the idea that somehow grocery stores are unfairly pricing is not an idea that holds up to a lot of critical scrutiny.”

Ultimately, it could just be that this is how much groceries cost.

Still, with claims of shrinkflation, suspicious specials and excessive food waste, it’s no wonder supermarkets are under the microscope. Just don’t hold your breath for cheaper veggies anytime soon…