Woolworths Easter eggs photo stuns shoppers: 'Obscenely expensive'
The cost of a bag of Easter eggs has shocked many as shoppers become more sensitive to supermarket prices.
With Easter fast approaching, chocolate eggs are no doubt on the shopping list for many Aussies, but the price of Cadbury's Dairy Milk range at Woolworths has some questioning whether they're worth it.
A shopper took a photo of an Easter egg display at a Melbourne store this week which showed a 440g bag of eggs for $11, while the bigger 650g bag of mixed eggs was significantly more at $16.
"We've all felt cost of living pressure, some the rental crisis, but how about Easter egg price gate!?" the poster wrote on Reddit implying the Cadbury eggs were overpriced. It comes after a turbulent year of inflation and rising living costs.
Some claimed "Easter eggs have always been a rort" when comparing price per weight of chocolate, with many saying they're not surprised by the cost of eggs this year. But others agreed the price seems "obscenely expensive".
"Put that price right in the bin, they should be several dollars," another claimed. "They're not even gourmet/fancy ones. That's way too much!"
Some said they were skipping the eggs entirely this year and suggested parents consider treating their kids differently.
"We're not buying them this year. Going to give the kids gift cards and having a big lunch for the grown ups," one said. "I much rather buy toys and stuff for the kids on Easter. They get more out of it," wrote another.
Yahoo News Australia contacted Woolworths for comment.
Why do Easter eggs cost more than regular chocolate?
Consumer and retail expert Gary Mortimer agreed the cost of Easter eggs have always been more than other chocolate varieties, and there are a few reasons for this, he explained to Yahoo News Australia.
"We generally source cocoa out of West Africa and when you’re sourcing such a product and constructing an egg or bunny shape for a very discrete time, maybe only two months, obviously the costs inflate," he said.
He explained a hollow egg or bunny that you typically see at Easter is far more "complex" to make than a regular block of chocolate which can be made en masse and shipped on a palette. Because of this, there's more infrastructure and special machinery required for Easter chocolate, as well as extra packaging to protect the eggs during transport.
While consumers might be "paying slightly more" for eggs this year than last, a lot of it has to do with general inflation, Professor Mortimer said. Things like road transportation, electricity and water have all gone up for businesses, as they have for Aussie families "so naturally this gets passed on to consumers".
FOMO promo 🚨
Look at that single bag price $34 😳#EasterEggs pic.twitter.com/2NCCUNscCI
— Professor Jana Bowden (@ProfConsumers) March 2, 2023
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Consumers are 'more sensitive' to grocery prices
What's more, consumers are more conscious of prices at the moment, particularly in supermarkets, and with food price inflation being top of mind, "we’re becoming more and more sensitive to it", Professor Mortimer said. Jana Bowden, a Professor in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour agrees.
"Given the marketing hype and perceived family pressure around celebrating Easter, it’s likely that the majority of consumers will still treat themselves and their family and buy Easter eggs, however they are likely to cut back on the volume that they purchase and opt for a smaller treat," she told Yahoo news Australia.
For others battling tight budgets this year chocolate will be seen as a luxury item, and therefore expendable, she explained. "Perhaps this year the kids will be out in the hunt for a small handful of hidden Easter eggs from the Easter bunny, instead of a large basketful."
Average cost of chocolate has gone up
Ms Bowden said the average cost of a chocolate bar in 2023 is up 8% on last year so "consumers' taste for chocolate may be curbed".
"Easter Egg products are planned approximately 15 months in advance by manufacturers. If we roll back the clock to that period, raw ingredient costs were up and brands were scrambling to find ways to continue to meet consumers changing budgets," she said.
"Many major brands such as Nestlé are looking at further increasing prices across the year also as they seek to offset higher production costs in food prices, and also energy, and pass this on to consumers.
"Cadbury’s solution to that was to cut the sizes of its product offerings via Shrinkflation and its Easter eggs are the latest example of that."
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