Choice Lashes Axing Of Grocery Comparison Site

The dumping of the government-backed GROCERYchoice site just days before a relaunch by Choice has understandably got the consumer advocate and publisher pretty hacked off, with Choice's chief executive describing the government's attitude as "like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank".

Choice had apparently managed to develop a comparison site despite no co-operation from either Woolworths or Coles. Whether that would have made its new site more popular than the much-derided original is now a moot point, as the government decision to cancel the project means Choice can't roll it out even though it's been paid for. Here's Choice's chief executive Nick Stace sounding off about the decision:

Do you think the government should be doing more in this area, or is finding the best deals ultimately the responsibility of the consumer? Share your thoughts (and your cost-cutting strategies) in the comments.

No reason to kill GroceryCHOICE [Choice]


Comments

    if people can't keep a vague track of basic items are they really going to log on and pre check on a website?

    I can't believe we spent money on this in the first place, but if choice want to launch it and it won't cost us any additional money then i would also let them.

    I'm confused. Why can't Choice go ahead and launch their site on their own?

      The site was developed under contract, which probably specifies that the intellectual property is still owned by the government -- Choice didn't pay for the development and thus doesn't own the rights. It could develop its own similar site, but would have a very hard time demonstrating that it wasn't using government-owned IP in the process. It also probably couldn't fund the ongoing research without a separate source of backing.

    The idea was to keep the supermarkets honest.
    The minister backed down completely in the face of petty opposition from Coles, Franklin/woolies.
    Tthe prices are available, contrary to the nonsense the minister spouted the other day, prices within the supermarket networks are centrally stored and updated for consistency (or more accurately, deliberate inconsistancy based upon economic status of the suburb) Australia wide.
    It should have been a pretty simple operation, the biggest issue here is the horrendous amount of price variance between supermarkets of the same chain between suburbs. The very problem the site was aimed at addressing.

    The ministers decision is a betrayal of his constituents.

      I never got the impression that GROCERYchoice aimed to make sure single supermarkets charged the same price in all branches -- and in fact that's economically unreasonable (prices should reflect input costs, which would vary based on rent, distance from supply centres etc.) The big complaint that showed up a lot was that it wouldn't do in-area comparisons between different chains or price individual products, so you couldn't find out (without hitting the stores yourself) if a tin of tuna was cheaper in (for example) the local ALDI, the local Woolies or the Coles two suburbs away.

      Echo Liatechs comments.
      The Big two monopolise and self regulate the grocery industry, to the point where not only the suppliers but now the government is afraid of them. No wonder they don't want their price fixed baskets compared to some smaller chains

    I don't understand why the site was so suddenly dumped. Surely they could have delayed it and altered whatever was concerning them and then released?

    I feel sorry for all the people who work for that Minister, you work on something for months and he decides to dump it in a hurry because he sees the media will be too busy with Michael Jackson's death.

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