Grocery prices among top consumer concerns

dreamstime_xs_32046534The price of food and groceries is the third highest concern for Australian consumers, with electricity and fuel prices topping the list, according to a new survey by Choice.

The latest national Consumer Pulse Report is the consumer group’s fifth quarterly survey and provides a full year of data tracking household pressures.

This year’s edition highlighted across the board increases in cost of living concern for Australian households with 65 per cent of consumers cutting back to cope with the financial pressure. According the Choice’s report 78 per cent of consumers said their biggest cost of living concern is the price of food and groceries, with 35 per cent stating they are ‘very concerned’, while 43 per cent say they are ‘quite concerned’.

“Households are feeling increased pressure across the board, with 85 per cent of Australians saying their household bills and expenses had increased over the year. Electricity remained the biggest cost concern for the fifth consecutive quarter,” says Alan Kirkland, Choice CEO, said.

“Concern over fuel prices has surged from 69 per cent in March to 78 per cent in June, and now sits alongside food and groceries as the second biggest pressure. This reflects last week’s CPI figures, which showed the largest quarterly rise in fuel prices since December 1990, offsetting a big fall in the previous quarter,” Kirkland said.

“Cost pressures are not evenly distributed, with renters, low-income households and the unemployed most likely to be struggling, and families with school aged kids the group most concerned about rising household expenses.

“NSW is clearly the stand-out economic performer, with around four-in-ten rating the economy good compared to about a quarter in other states.

“As the political debate focuses on credit card interest rates, it is worrying that one-in-five Australians say they lived off a credit card to cover the gap until payday.

“We are concerned to see these signs of household stress at a time when inflation and mortgage interest rates are historically low.

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