A QUT business researcher has found shoppers who take advantage of unit pricing information are making significant savings at the checkout.

After analysing weekly grocery bills, Dr Gary Mortimer found an average reduction of 11 per cent.

Pip Thompson reports.


The study reveals many consumers find the unit price too small to read, just don’t understand it, or don’t even know it exists.

It’s that very small number printed on the shelf label of your major supermarkets.

It indicates the dollar amount you’re paying per milligram or per litre of each product.

His findings matched what we found today on the streets of Brisbane.

Vox 1: “No I don’t worry about that, too complicated.”

Vox 2: “It’s too hard.”

Vox 3: “Oh I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

In his study Dr Mortimer educated 30 volunteers about unit pricing and then tracked their spending over five weeks.

He found they saved a significant amount on their shopping bills – more than 11 per cent.

Dr Gary Mortimer, QUT Business School: “What it enables you to do is make comparisons between brands and between pack sizes rather than relying on promotional claims or the retail price alone.”

Unit pricing is particularly useful for the sorts of consumerable products that you use each week like tea, coffee, cereal and soap detergents but Dr Mortimer says there needs to be more education for the consumer around unit pricing.

Dr Gary Mortimer, QUT Business School: “There probably needs to be a broader range of consumer education campaigns around that, specifically targeted at those groups where unit pricing would be best served.”

Dr Mortimer has one big tip for consumers.

Dr Gary Mortimer, QUT Business School: “I would certainly utilise unit pricing and make those comparisons between brands. You’d be surprised the sorts of money you can save.”

He plans to complete a larger study next year and is looking for 500 people to take part.

Pip Thompson, QUT News.