'Supermarkets not so super with their prices'
South China Morning Post, 8th May 2008, p.C3
Escalating food prices around the World have been in the spotlight recently. While the issue certainly doesn't have the same gravity in Hong Kong that it does in developing nations it has still been getting a fair bit of local media attention. An article in last Thursday's South China Morning Post grabbed my interest as it reported the results of the first fortnightly survey of local grocery prices by the Hong Kong Consumer Council. The report compared the prices of fifteen items in supermarkets and small grocery stores in Wan Chai. It found that the local shops were between 1.7% to 65.8% cheaper than the supermarkets, an average saving for the shopper of 12%.
I love European cheeses, processed meats and imported chocolate. I drink litres of milk each week and consume tubs of yogurt. All these items are only available from the supermarket, many from expensive supermarkets that don't have branches in the western New Territories. Yet I also consume fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat, cans, pasta, dried fruits and fresh noodles, items that are all available from local grocery shops, markets and elderly ladies sitting on the street. To eat what I want I buy certain things from the supermarket, but when I have a choice I know who I'd rather give my money to. The questions I ask when shopping are: how's it packaged, is it organic or locally grown, what's the quality like and who's more deserving of my money - a local small business or corporate giant? If things are slightly cheaper from an old lady sitting on the curb this is an added bonus of buying her spring onions, for me the real impotence is who does and who doesn't get my money.
Check out the Consumer Council website.