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Woolworths accused of hiding expensive prices with bizarre detail on shelf

A human error thought to be a tactic used to confuse shoppers? Either way, this obscure label has started beef online.

A consumer expert is questioning the intentions of a Woolworths label after it started beef with Aussie shoppers who were confused over it's obscure pricing.

The Cleavers Organic Eye Fillet Steak at a Sydney store was priced at $7500 per 100 kilograms (kg), much to the confusion of one shopper looking for a normal "half a kilo" worth of beef.

A shopper posted a photo of the label on Reddit, with confused users joking that the "cost of living is getting out of hand". Others however offered the more damning assessment that the odd pricing could actually be a tactic to hide the expensive cost of the meat, which is $75 per kilo in the more traditional format while Woolworths have said that it was a mistake.

Close up of label with pricing at $7500 per 100kg.
Priced at $7500 per 100kg, this odd Woolies label has confused and surprised an Aussie shopper wanting just "half a kilo". Source: Reddit

Graham Cooke, Head of Consumer Research at Finder, told Yahoo News Australia just how important it is for shoppers to make sure they're not taking labels at face value.

"It looks like a case of somebody just putting a default price in the wrong point, mistakes can happen on those tags," he said.

Yahoo contacted Woolworths about the label, and a spokesperson said it was a typo that has now been fixed.

"While there was a typo error on the self sticker in this store, this product has an individual price printed on each pack due to slight weight differences, so the customer will have been charged the accurate price," they explained.

Expert says it's 'not good enough'

Mistake or not, author and consumer expert Joel Gibson was frustrated and surprised to see a label with pricing like this.

"It's hard to see how that mistake could be possible given no one is buying 100kg of anything at the supermarket, let alone fillet steak," he said.

"The system should simply reject a label based on 100kg of any product. [This labelling is] against the Unit Pricing Code."

If it had been done on purpose, Mr Gibson says it would have simply been "not good enough".

"Consumer advocates had to fight for years to get unit pricing mandated in Australia and it's one of the few tools that shoppers have to make sense of all the different packet sizes and product placements and other marketing tricks in the supermarkets," he said.

Do you have a story about the cost of living? Contact reporter Laura Koefoed at laura.koefoed@yahooinc.com

Photo out the front of a Woolworths store with the Woolworths sign at the top and shoppers pushing trolleys and checking out underneathe.
Grocery bills are causing considerable stress for Aussie families during this cost of living crisis. Source: Getty

Groceries causing stress in cost of living crisis

Nearly half (42%) of Aussies say their grocery shopping is causing them financial stress. This number has more than doubled over the last 3 years (19% before) according to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker.

"Increased costs have really made families struggle to pay for grocery bills so it's more important than ever to try and find savings," Mr Cooke shared.

With prices that keep going up it can be difficult to know how much a product is worth, but Mr Cooke explains that doing research and staying vigilant can help.

Get the best prices for your groceries

Some of the easiest ways to save on grocery bills takes time, but is worth the effort, Mr Cooke said.

He advised shoppers:

  • Don't take pricing labels at faced value and if it looks strange, question it.

  • Compare prices and find the cheapest items by downloading and using supermarket phone apps.

  • Shop around and don't do all your shopping in one individual retailer.

For 5 more easy steps to save money on your food bill using AI, read here.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

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Yahoo Australia