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Desperate way Aussies are dealing with rising grocery, fuel costs

Millions of Aussies are resorting to petty crime as the cost of groceries and food rises.

Aussies are being hit with cost-of-living pressures from all angles - from the rising cost of grocery shops to filling up at the petrol pump - and it’s forced some to take desperate measures.

More than one in 10 Aussies - or 2.4 million people - have admitted to stealing in the past 12 months as they reach a financial breaking point.

About 5 per cent of Aussies confessed to stealing items at the supermarket self-checkout, the Finder survey of 1,063 people found.

Coles supermarket checkout and grocery shopping.
Aussies are now spending $185 per week on their grocery bill. (Source: AAP)

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Another 4 per cent deliberately cheated the machines by scanning cheaper items (such as an onion) but bagging more expensive ones (such as an avocado).


Groceries are one of the biggest money worries for Aussies right now, with the average household spending $185 a week on their weekly bill, up $37 a week compared to last year.

Finder head of consumer research Graham Cooke said a rising number of Aussie households were now in “survival mode”.

“Aussies are clearly struggling to afford basic necessities and some are turning to criminal behaviour to get by,” Cooke said.

“This, combined with the widespread use of self-checkouts, has resulted in opportunistic shoppers leaving with more in their bags than they paid for.”

Groceries aren’t the only thing Aussies are stealing, with 4 per cent admitting they have driven away from the petrol bowser without paying and 2 per cent leaving a cafe or restaurant without paying.

Millions of Aussies going hungry

In Australia, 3.7 million households have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months, Foodbank’s annual Hunger Report found.

More than 2.3 million households were “severely food insecure”, meaning they were actively going hungry and reducing their food intake, skipping meals or going days without eating.

The rising cost of living was the biggest reason households were struggling, with the increased cost of food and groceries the top cause, followed by increased energy costs.

“It’s clear the cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating the challenges facing those in vulnerable circumstances, and forcing people to make compromises on what, and when they are eating,” Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey said.

“We are fast heading towards a reality where more than half the population will know what food insecurity is because they are experiencing it themselves.”

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