New app helps Kiwis compare supermarket prices

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A New Zealand developer has created an app to help kiwi shoppers find the best grocery deals as the cost of living in the country is skyrocketing.

Grocer.nz is a new web app where people can enter their favorite stores to find out the prices of groceries before deciding where to shop.

The site is the brainchild of web developer Roc Wong, 37, who has been working on the project since January.

Wong had already developed another grocery price comparison site three years ago, but it was more difficult to use. With the cost of living rising in recent months, he found new motivation to build an even better tool.

“I’ve always found it nice to know the price of several suppliers so that I don’t end up regretting my purchase decision. The app might not save much, but it makes things a little bit easier, and that’s good to make an informed decision,” he told the Herald.

It took Grocer about three months to build Wong. He said: “Technologically, the hardest part would be to collect all the pricing data across all the vendors and all of their stores.”

“In addition, the products in the supermarkets have to be coordinated,” he added.

Users can select their favorite supermarket stores and compare the prices of different items either by scanning barcodes or searching products by name.

Grocer allows users to compare grocery prices across multiple stores. Photo / Included

The web app shows the price of each item in Countdown, New World and Pak ‘n Save stores nationwide. The prices are updated daily.

The developer hopes supermarkets will use the application as a way to empower consumers to make more informed choices and encourage competition within the sector.

Wong said he “didn’t want to harm” the companies but was wary that the supermarket companies could “easily” force him to shut down the Grocer website “since it’s basically scraping data from the official online stores, which is against.” their Terms of Use, Terms of Service”.

However, he knows Grocer isn’t the only comparison site and hopes supermarkets don’t mind.

“I’m just a developer who wants my money to make a bigger bang. While I am keen to work together to make things easier for everyone, I hope regulators will be on my side if I receive a cease and desist letter. ” he said.

Wong cites the Trade Commission’s “Food Retail Market Study” which recommends that supermarkets “collaborate with existing or potential price comparison services in New Zealand”.

“Price comparison websites for grocery retailers are in their infancy in New Zealand and consumer demand for such services is unclear. However, price comparison websites can encourage competition by making it easier for consumers to make informed decisions when choosing between goods and services,” the report, cited by Wong, said.

Wong posted about Grocer on Reddit and Facebook a few days ago and says the feedback so far has been “pretty positive.”

“People were very grateful and gave a lot of useful feedback that I can implement in the future,” he said.

The site, which users can access for free, already has a few thousand users who want to know where to go to earn some extra money from their grocery business.

Food prices in March 2022 were 7.6 percent higher than in March 2021, according to Stats NZ.

“There are signs that the outcome of high inflation is broadening and potentially becoming increasingly resilient,” said ASB economist Mark Smith last week.

“High global food prices and our expectations of higher labor costs are expected to result in increased annual food price inflation throughout 2022.”

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