'Almost double': Shopper stunned by big supermarket price difference

·3-min read

A Queensland Chef has called out the staggering price difference between loose and pre-packaged produce at the supermarket amid soaring grocery costs.

In a video posted to TikTok, Viorel Copolovici compared the cost of button mushrooms at Coles.

“Right, so these are Coles button mushrooms for $20 a kilo in little boxes of 200 grams,” he explains to his 33,000 followers.

(Left) Loose mushrooms at Coles (Right) a pre-packed punnet of button mushrooms at Coles.
Queensland Chef Viorel Copolovici has highlighted the huge price difference between loose and pre-packed produce. Source: TikTok/@copolovici

The camera then pans from the pre-packaged punnets wrapped in plastic down to the boxes of loose mushrooms on the shelf below.

“But if you take a look into the cup mushrooms crate, you’ll find plenty of button mushrooms for just $11.50 a kilo,” Mr Copolovici says.

He finished the short clip by addressing the supermarket giant directly.

“Good game, Coles.”

Two screenshots comparing the price of loose and pre-packed mushrooms at Coles.
The cost of pre-packed button mushrooms was almost double compared to the loose variety at one Coles store. Source: TikTok/@copolovici

Mr Copolovici's video has attracted hundreds of comments, including one TikTok user who said they always look for the price per kilogram.

Another added it was “very common” for the pre-packaged option to be more expensive than the “loose version”.

“This is nothing new,” they wrote.

Mr Copolovici responded that he was “just sharing a common fact”, adding the “price is almost double”.

One man revealed the surprising reason he believed it was worth paying the price for pre-packaged produce.

“Yes, but if you look closer, you will see 'C' shape brown marks in the loose mushrooms, that is finger nail marks from folks picking up handfuls,” they commented.

“We’re all gonna die,” the chef joked back.

Chef's message to shoppers

Mr Copolovici, a professionally trained cook who has run restaurants in Romania and Brazil, told Yahoo News Australia he was “surprised to observe” the huge price hike.

“I will always be a supporter of unpackaged whole foods as there’s less plastic used, less labour that can be directed towards other activities,” he said.

“There’s a saying, ‘it’s not about the one who’s asking for an apparently foolish price, it is about the one who’s actually paying it’.

“It’s, fortunately, a free country with a free market, if shoppers decide their ‘convenience’ is worth double the price, who are we to judge that?”

The now Sunshine Coast-based cooking instructor said he hoped videos like his would help shoppers to “open their eyes a little wider” and “give it a thought” while shopping for groceries.

A photo of Viorel Copolovici.
Viorel Copolovici hopes his TikTok video will encourage shoppers to think twice before picking the convenient option. Source: Instagram/Viorel Copolovici

Coles responds to price difference

A spokesperson for Coles has blamed “additional labour and packaging requirements” for the big price discrepancy between loose and packaged button mushrooms.

“There is customer demand for pre-packed fresh produce products like mushrooms, and the additional labour and packaging requirements means that they come at an additional cost,” they told Yahoo News Australia.

“We will continue to offer customers a choice between loose and pre-packed mushrooms.”

At the time of publication, Woolworths were also selling pre-packed 200 gram punnets of button mushrooms for $20 per kilo.

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