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Aldi vs Woolworths: Shopper's grocery hauls show dramatic difference in how far your money can go

Getting value for money at the supermarket is one of the biggest concerns for Aussies, but is this the best way to work it out?

An Aussie shopper who has shared what he says is a huge discrepancy between a shop at Aldi and Woolworths has reignited debate about grocery prices, but a retail expert argues it’s risky to compare different purchases, and shoppers should instead be more strategic during a cost-of-living crisis.

Showing his haul laid out on a table, Melbourne DJ 'szns.' pointed out what appeared to be a massive difference between the two shops, in terms of volume and price.

“If you need convincing to do an Aldi shop before Woolies, this video is for you,” he said, urging others to “suss out” what he purchased at the two supermarkets during a weekly shop.

Composite of Aldi groceries on a table, A TikTok user, and Woolworths groceries on a table.
A shopper shared a comparison of his purchases from Aldi and Woolworths but experts have warned against comparing apples and oranges. (Source: TikTok)

"All of this stuff was from Aldi and was a total of $255,” the man shared, panning to a haul that included milk, croissants, pasta, biscuits, marshmallows and chips on top of fresh produce.

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“I thought it was going to be a little bit more because we did get the TV bracket and the dishwashing tablets and other random expensive stuff.”

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He then called attention to a smaller group of items from his second shop at Woolies, which he said cost him $113. The haul included two boxes of Shapes, laundry liquid, mouthwash, and some deli items, which he later revealed in the comments to be $27 worth of cheese, chicken breast and ham.

The video post seemed to resonate with a lot of fellow shoppers, who shared their own experiences shopping at the German-owned supermarket chain compared to Australia’s two Woolworths and Coles.

“I did the exact same thing on Saturday," one shared. "$164 at Aldi for 7 dinners, lunches and a few other things that I didn’t need. The rest at Woolies cost me $130. “Obviously, both are some dollars and cents under or over, but DAMN! It’s insane.”

“When I figured out that Aldi shop is cheaper and have similar products, I don’t shop anywhere else unless I need something that they don’t have,” another said.

But not everyone agreed. Some shoppers were of the opinion that saving on a shop was all relative.

"I think it depends if you shop specials and what you buy," one shopper argued. "Cos [sic] I spent $260 at Aldi last week, and this week I spent $161 at Woolies and got more meat and fruit/veg. And the fruit was so much better."

'Comparing apples to oranges'

While the difference appeared stark, marketing and consumer psychology professor Jana Bowden of Macquarie University told Yahoo Finance comparing random grocery items at two shops may not be the best way to go about things.

“Aussie consumers are suffering when it comes to financial well-being … but, as they say, 'Fair shake of the sauce bottle'," Bowden said. "Comparative videos like this ... aren’t comparing apples to apples. They’re comparing apples to oranges, kiwi fruit and a few grapes thrown in for good measure.”

Composite image of groceries on a table bought at Woolworths, and an online Woolworths shopping cart.
A marketing and consumer psychology professor says Aussies need to do their research on price. (Credit: TikTok/Supplied) (Yahoo News Australia)

Bowden, who noted the video didn't show details such as specific product sizes, cited that she experimented by adding similar items from the man’s Woolworths shop to an online cart.

“A quick litmus test of adding similar items to the cart online reveals a total of $74 with a saving of $42 by buying items when on special at Woolworths,” Bowden revealed. “Then there are the several meat items from the deli in addition. Meat is arguably one of the most expensive items at the checkout for consumers right now and a key pain point.

“The long and the short of it is that, if you buy products on special at either Aldi or at Woolworths, you’ll save money and get value. It’s all a question of awareness and planning.”

Bowden added that to be a savvy shopper, consumers needed to know prices and hunt for value.

"It might mean buying 10 tins of baked beans to store while on sale rather than your usual two cans,” she told Yahoo Finance.

“If you do your research on price and shop on special you’ll find that all of the big supermarkets are offering good value to consumers. It’s just a question of capitalising on that if and when you can. Timing your shop is everything."

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