Unsurprisingly, Consumer NZ has named Pak’nSave as the country’s cheapest retail chain for the 15th consecutive year. As for rival chains New World and Countdown, the average grocery bill at New World was about $3-5 higher than Countdown.

As part of its annual supermarket price survey, the broad-based national consumer organisation tracked 30 popular food products over a seven-week period. The list didn’t take into account fresh meat, fish, produce, wine and beer. Half of the items surveyed, according to Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin, were regularly on promotion.

“We found some products are being discounted so often that shoppers have grounds to question whether specials are really all that special,” she said, before adding that, if the savings aren’t real, retailers risk breaching the Fair Trading Act. Among the regularly discounted products were butter, bread, jam, coffee, yoghurt, pasta, snack bars, shampoo and dishwashing liquid. Chocolate blocks were also on special nearly every week.