After browsing the supermarket shelves earlier this week I had the pleasure of noticing that my last dose of the flu had cost me 1.2 cents everytime that I blew my nose. This got me wondering if it is really necessary that this level of pricing is displayed to us. Do we really need to know that a slice of bread is costing us 18 cents.
Will this kind of pricing turn us into saving obsessed freaks of the supermarket? Are we all going to scan the pricing list and forget about the product we are buying? Will the need for quality suddenly get thrown out the window? Of course there are variations between prices of similar products but there are also major quality differences too. Not to mention taste as well.
Are we going to forget that we like a certain type of toilet roll because we can now see that another brand is selling it for 1 cent less per metre. Now why don't we break it down even more, we will actually save 0.5 cents everytime we go to the toilet. What a saving!!! Now come on people, are we really that tight.
Even saving conscious people and struggling families already know the brands that are going to reduce their bill and are continuously on the look-out for weekly specials anyway, so there is nothing new for them here. Anyone could also work out a rough estimate for themselves about what is going to be of better value.
On the positive side, it can help to prevent companies reducing the quantity of particular products to compete with price rises. It could also help to see the difference with different amounts of the same product and brand. For example, 1 litre of milk verses the 2 and 3 litre options. Apart from this, I cannot see any real advantage of knowing these prices. After all, 20 cents at the end of the week isn't really going to break the budget is it? That would only buy you 4.5ml of petrol!
Matt Clark Cooking Consultant, Freelance Food Writer and Professional Chef