Could this be the new face of competition in NZ supermarkets: A 500g block of Tararua butter $4 compared to $7.30 and $6.79! A 1.2kg box of Weet-Bix $5 compared to $7.80! Greggs special blend instant coffee $1 compared to $2.49!

The lower prices were all from The Warehouse, the higher ones from our two supermarket chains, as discovered by Stuff reporter Brianna Mcilraith.

The better news is these price differences could well become the norm, with Warehouse Chief executive Nick Grayston saying his company is interested is becoming involved in the sector in a bigger way if there is access to supply on fair commercial terms and a regulator to prevent anti-competitive behaviours.

He said the Commerce Commission report on supermarkets was very clear that competition was not working well and the business was “seriously considering” a move into the sector.

“So we are interested to see the action that the Government will take that will make a difference to New Zealanders and allow other players like us to enter the grocery market.”

The Warehouse would become involved in the sector if there was access to supply on fair commercial terms and a regulator that was appropriately resourced to prevent anti-competitive behaviours.

“We are also interested in whether the Government may consider a move to mandate the major grocers to provide a wholesale solution and supply chain for supply to new grocery retailers, with a government agency installed to govern the offer.

“This would go a considerable way to creating a level playing field for new grocery operators, giving them the ability to use other elements of the retail mix to determine sources of competitive advantage.”

The Government has yet to respond to the Commerce Commission’s grocery market study report that found lack of competition led to higher grocery prices. It recommended a regulator to oversee the sector.

Read the Stuff report here