Supermarket Sweep: How Grocerize is Helping Aussies Save on Groceries



1 July 2024

  • Discover Savings: Use Grocerize to compare real-time prices between Coles and Woolworths, saving up to 28% on grocery bills.
  • Leverage AI: Blake Bennett explores AI to create personalised shopping lists and predict price cycles.
  • Optimise Shopping: Follow expert tips to maximise savings, including setting price alerts and stocking up on staples.

Light-bulb moments can strike in the most unlikely situations. Legend has it that Sir Isaac Newton came up with his theory of gravity when he observed an apple fall from a tree. The ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes is said to have taken a bath and figured out how to measure the volume of an object. 

Good thinking

He may not be a world-renowned scientist, but Newcastle dad Blake Bennett had his own eureka moment a few years ago in a mundane place: the nappy aisle. Bennett went to a supermarket to get nappies for his daughter, Layla – who’s now 7 – but they’d sold out. So, he headed to a different store at the other end of his local shopping centre and discovered the nappies there were on sale.

“I bought three boxes and thought, ‘Hang on, I was about to buy these for far more elsewhere,’” says Bennett.

“I calculated that we saved about $45 and that’s how the idea started.” 

The idea? A free website, Grocerize, that compares real-time prices for products at Coles and Woolworths. You can search for any item and see how much it costs at either supermarket, which together make up 65% of the Australian grocery market. Grocerize believes it saves users an average of 28% at the checkout.

Perfect timing

When Bennett got to work in 2019, he couldn’t have predicted that the rising cost of living would make his new site a game-changer for consumers. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index, in the 12 months leading up to December 2023 the price of eggs went up by almost 11%, bread by 9% and cheese by more than 6%. It’s no wonder 42% of Aussies cite their grocery bill as one of their biggest financial stresses.

Grocerize wasn’t built overnight, and it wasn’t Bennett’s first rodeo. As co- founder of Zimple Digital, he knows how to solve problem with digital solutions – but his business was ticking along, and he was looking for a side hustle. Grocery comparison platforms were killing it overseas, but no-one was doing it well in Australia, says Bennett. “I felt that with my experience and knowing I could pull a team together; we could give it a red-hot crack.”

Smart shopping

Bennett is now looking at how artificial intelligence (AI) could offer Grocerize users a more personal shopping experience. “We’re mucking around with it. Say you have 2 kids who both like spaghetti and chicken. Using AI, Grocerize could create a shopping list for under $50 that feeds the family on weeknights,” he says.

“We know there are pricing cycles for certain products – for example, dishwashing tablets are on special every week at one supermarket or the other, whereas some nappies are rarely on special,” he continues. “Using AI, we might be able to say, ‘If you need nappies, they’re on special now and won’t be again until October. Keep that in mind.

A Grocerize app is in the works and Aldi may be added to the mix soon. And in case you were wondering, Bennett isn’t in cahoots with the supermarkets. “We just take their prices and put them on our website,” he says.

“Whichever supermarket has the cheapest price gets the business and it’s the consumers who win in the end.” 

Meal planning made easy

Meal planning takes a little organisation but the pay-off is big – saving you time and money on busy nights, when you may be tempted to order an effortless (but expensive) takeaway meal.

Here’s how to get meal planning right:

  • Plan to include plenty of fruit and vegetables, prioritising what’s in season (and therefore on special).
  • Lean into wholegrains, pulses, and beans, which are filling, nutritious and cost-effective.
  • Use some of the same ingredients across multiple dishes to minimise food waste and allow you to buy in bulk.
  • Like with any grocery shop, try to plan your meals around what you already have in your pantry. This will mean more savings and less wastage.
  • Invest in quality containers that are both microwave- and dishwasher-safe for easy reheating and cleaning. 

Blake Bennett’s tips for saving on groceries

Set price alerts

Between Woolworths and Coles every week, approximately 8,000 products are on special, with about a 3rd of them half-price. Set price alerts on Grocerize so you know when your preferred brands are discounted

Stock up on staples

If a non-perishable item is on special and you've got the cupboard space, grab a few of them. There’s no need to hoard groceries lockdown-style but buy enough to get you through to when that product is on special again.

Get another freezer

If your budget allows and you have the space at home, consider investing in a 2nd freezer and buying your frozen goods in bulk at half-price. An additional freezer is great for storing leftovers as well.

Split your shop in two

In metro areas and even many rural cities, Coles and Woolworths are often located close together. If an item isn’t on special at one of them, chances are it’s on sale at the other.

Vote with your feet

As a consumer, you have the power to influence the big supermarkets. Spend your money with whichever chain gives you the best prices.

More ways to save at the supermarket

  • Take advantage of supermarket rewards programs, which often offer discounts and extra savings.
  • Swap big-name brands for home brand versions.
  • Write a shopping list and stick to it – it’ll save you from impulse buys and purchasing things that you don’t need.
  • Frozen or canned vegetables and fruit are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts, offering an easy way to cut costs.
  • Resist the temptation to buy pre-prepared fresh foods such as chopped meat or mushrooms, as these usually cost more.
  • Shop at night – this is when supermarkets are most likely to slash the prices of their perishable goods. 

Things you should know

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    This article was originally published in Brighter magazine

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