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Aussies change eating habits to save cash – new data reveals - featured image
By Sarah Megginson

Aussies change eating habits to save cash – new data reveals

The rising cost of living has forced Aussies to change their diets, according to new research by Finder.

Finder’s Cost of Living Report 2023 revealed the average Australian household reported spending $185 a week on groceries in February 2023, up $37 a week compared to 12 months prior – with 94% of consumers noticing an increase in their grocery bill.

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The survey of 1,054 respondents found a staggering 3 in 4 (71%) Australians – equivalent to 14.2 million people – have adapted their eating behaviour as a result of rising costs.

This coincides with Australian Bureau of Statistics data showing strong price rises was seen across most food grocery products over the past year – including meat and seafood (8% increase), bread and cereal products (12% increase), and dairy and related products (15%).

Graham Cooke, head of consumer research at Finder, said households are looking for ways to save on their weekly shop:

“Eating on the cheap could be here to stay as households battle with the rising cost of living.

For some, it’s a case of making changes or going hungry.”

Aussies are cutting back on takeaway food

The research found almost half of Aussies (47%) have cut back on takeaway and fast foods in an attempt to rein in spending.

More than 1 in 3 (35%) are abstaining from meat and seafood.

Consumable Item To Cut Back

A similar proportion is avoiding booze (32%) to save money.

Cooke said interestingly, Aussie households are not cutting back more heavily on the food groups with the highest cost increase:

“Restaurants and take-aways account for the largest cut-backs, but have only seen a price increase of 7%.

Staples like fruit, vegetables, coffee and eggs however have increased by up to 13%.

This shows that inflation is hurting those who want to eat healthy a little harder.

As the cost of groceries escalates, selective eating can save a lot of cash at the check-out.”

The research found 16% of Aussies have cut back on fruit and vegetables, while 14% are consuming fewer dairy products.

Cooke said cutting out whole food groups could come with risks:

“Helping the hip pocket shouldn’t come at the cost of harming your health.

Investigate growing your own fresh produce, compare different supermarket prices and farmers markets and buy in bulk when items go on sale.”

Top tips to save on your grocery bill

Plan your meals. Browse through cookbooks or online to figure out what you want to cook for the week ahead, then make a list of ingredients so you don't get overwhelmed and distracted at the supermarket. You can even check the prices of ingredients at the supermarket online before you go. Whatever you do, don't shop when you're hungry. You are more likely to splurge on snacks and lollies that can quickly add up.

Use unit pricing to compare prices. Unit pricing is a labelling system that allows you to make more informed purchasing decisions. By looking at the cost per unit of measurement, you can easily compare prices between different brands and package sizes, and identify the best value for your money.

Sign up for supermarket reward programs. You can use your points to get cashback on your groceries and being a rewards member will also make you eligible for special discounts. Just make sure you're not letting your points go to waste. As long as you collect or redeem your Flybuys points at least once a year, and your Everyday Rewards points at least once every 18 months, your account will remain active and your points won't expire.

Buy frozen food in bulk. Buying frozen fruits and vegetables is often cheaper than buying them from the produce section and they are a great way to bulk out your meals. Foods such as peas, corn and berries are frozen while they're fresh, so you won't miss out on valuable nutrients and flavour. Bulk meals such as soups, curries and pasta are a cheap and tasty way to use frozen veggies.

About Sarah Megginson Sarah Megginson is senior editor of home loans for Finder. She was previously managing editor of Australian Broker magazine, Your Investment Property magazine, and online home loan comparison site, Your Mortgage. Sarah has worked as a finance and property journalist for more than 15 years.
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