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More grocery pain as Coles, Woolworths price freezes end

A composite image of the Coles and Woolworths logos and Australian money.
Coles and Woolworths customers may soon be hit with higher prices. (Source: Getty)

Aussies already struggling with the rising cost of living may soon see their favourite supermarket staples jump in price as Coles and Woolworths price freezes come to an end.

The price freeze, which was brought in by both major supermarkets in August 2022, locked the prices of thousands of consumer staples to give customers certainty at the checkout.

However, Woolworths customers may have already noticed the change after the price freeze lifted in December last year. Coles customers may soon feel the pinch too, with the price freeze ending on January 31, 2023.

Finder conducted a new nationally representative survey of 1,001 Australians, which revealed almost one in five (19 per cent) had had a transaction declined at the counter in the past three months. That’s equivalent to 3.8 million Australians struggling with empty bank accounts.

The Finder research found 11 per cent had to abandon a purchase after coming up short at the till, while 8 per cent had to return items to the shelf in order to pay for their shop.

Sarah Megginson, senior editor of money at Finder, said Aussies were struggling as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

“So many people are scraping the bottom of the barrel right now. It’s really distressing to be in a position where you can’t afford your groceries or fuel,” Megginson said.

“Australians are being left embarrassed at the checkout as increases to household bills means there’s just not much money left in the bank.”

Grocery-bill stress hit a record high in August, with 37 per cent of Australians ranking groceries as one of their top three most stressful expenses.

Megginson said 2022 had created the “perfect storm” for Australians struggling with their finances.

“Soaring food costs, high energy bills and rising interest rates and rents are the three key areas that are hurting households the most right now,” she said.

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