By Aimee Chanthadavong

A year after the compulsory introduction of grocery unit pricing in Australia, a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) business researcher is launching an investigation into its benefits, as overseas studies show less than 50 per cent of people take advantage of the potential savings.

Gary Mortimer, from QUT's School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, told Retailbiz he wants to know how shoppers can benefit from the grocery unit pricing scheme.

“I'm hoping to do provide a vehicle for consumers to make more inform decisions about their grocery purchases and potentially save dollars at the register,” he said.

Since December 2009, the unit price of grocery products have been printed on shelf labels of local supermarkets.

However, according to Mortimer, there are current problems with the labelling system.

“Its been suggested that the research would find two things: one the predominance of the unit price display on the shelf is not large enough and second thing is possibly retailers need to engage in educational campaigning around use the labels,” he said.

“Research from the UK, where unit pricing has been around since 70’s suggest, awareness and knowledge about the system is at 60 per cent in the Australian market.”

He also noted that unit pricing was designed to enable customers to make fast price comparisons between grocery brands and similar products of different sizes.

Mortimer plans to expand his study next year to look at measuring the awareness, understanding and usage of unit pricing in Australia, to identify those who use the scheme and what constraints might be preventing people from achieving the benefits.