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When it comes to grocery shopping, how much choice is too much?

The Australian supermarket category is one that always generates a strong response. So when we asked you recently to tell us what you thought about Coles and Woolworths reducing the number of brands because their customers thought too much choice made their shopping decisions stressful, we knew you would have a lot to say!

There is no doubt that there is an element of truth to the idea that too much choice can be overwhelming. A number of you welcome the prospect of a quicker and easier shopping trip. As one shopper says; “I find many choices unnecessary and believe that many choices lead to higher prices as well as taking longer.”

However, it's not all so straightforward. The flip side of less choice is that favourite brands have become harder to find as they disappear from the shelves of the major supermarkets. People have already noticed that trusted Australian brands have been replaced by overseas-produced home brands.

“It annoys me the supermarkets giving us less choice. I noticed many years ago them cutting brands off their shelves. Golden Circle tin beans…Australian company replaced with foreign tins. They cut more brands and replace it with generics and cheap foreign rubbish.”

So while making choices simpler might be worthy, the supermarkets' idea of simplifying choice is not the same as yours.

"Life is easier if there are a few better and quality brands, rather than a few just ok brands which we keep ignoring."

This is already having an impact on shopping behaviour for many people. In order to keep buying favourite brands, many need to make multiple supermarket trips each week.

There are two big winners from this trend, and it’s not Coles and Woolworths. Fairly new competitor ALDI is viewed very favourably as it offers high quality home brands at cheap prices. However, as most people realise they can't do a complete shop at Aldi alone, independent supermarkets such as IGA and Foodland that still stock a wide (and different) range of brands are becoming more popular.

"The result of this is that I'm shopping at independent supermarkets quite often these days as and when I require things, rather than the traditional once-a-week shop."

The crux of it is that too much choice is only a problem when it means that shoppers can't find what they want. Supermarkets looking to reduce the number of brands on their shelves will need to be careful which brands they keep, to avoid forcing customers to start shopping elsewhere to find their favourite brands.

Last reply: 14th Aug 2017 / 6 replies / Post by Cafestudy Admin

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frannymanny

Posted by: frannymanny
Posted: 13th Jul 2017

frannymanny says: I disagree that you cannot do a complete shop at Aldi. What can you not get there? Reply

Migaloo

Posted by: Migaloo
Posted: 22nd Jul 2017

Migaloo says: I worked in a super market many , moons ago and they were a lot smaller those days less choice of brands , we still carried all products every one still found it okay to shop there , these days we are spoiled so many brands , really do we need a heap of brands that cover one thing which is really the same as the rest like peas in tins etc .Eldies covers what you need pretty well more like the old super markets from many moons ago actually . Reply

Lil

Posted by: Lil
Posted: 27th Jul 2017

Lil says: I refuse to buy generic brands and will change my shopping routine if I can't get the brands a want. That seems to be the problem with having too many generic and foreign brands for shoppers to choose from. Not only does it take a lot longer to actually do the shopping, but invariably it means a trip to another shop or supermarket to get the desired goods. Additionally, it means I now have to look at all the labels to find where the food is grown, harvested or packaged. Having so many choices is definitely time consuming, something that in this busy day and age, many would rather not contend with. I'm sure that this is a contributing factor to the number of people using internet shopping. How I hate having to negotiate narrow supermarket aisles dodging the staff who are pushing large binned trolleys as they fill customers orders. Reply

Lil

Posted by: Lil
Posted: 27th Jul 2017

Lil says: I refuse to buy generic brands and will change my shopping routine if I can't get the brands a want. That seems to be the problem with having too many generic and foreign brands for shoppers to choose from. Not only does it take a lot longer to actually do the shopping, but invariably it means a trip to another shop or supermarket to get the desired goods. Additionally, it means I now have to look at all the labels to find where the food is grown, harvested or packaged. Having so many choices is definitely time consuming, something that in this busy day and age, many would rather not contend with. I'm sure that this is a contributing factor to the number of people using internet shopping. How I hate having to negotiate narrow supermarket aisles dodging the staff who are pushing large binned trolleys as they fill customers orders. Reply

Nefertari

Posted by: Nefertari
Posted: 10th Aug 2017

Nefertari says: I don't think there is really anything such as 'too much choice'. The more brands we have to choose from the better. And having more than just a few well-known brands on the shelves means more competition for our money and therefore cheaper prices which would be ideal. Reply

Bookworm9992001

Posted by: Bookworm9992001
Posted: 14th Aug 2017

Bookworm9992001 says: Grocery shopping in Australia is boring enough without cutting down on brands. Keep a variety of brands and items to keep your customer interested. Reply