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Coles: Sad price of shop goes viral as Aussies share their cost-of-living struggles

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The amount of food Australians are able to buy on a budget is shrinking.

One shopper shocked at the cost of just one bag of groceries this week ($72) shared a picture on Reddit, attracting hundreds of comments from Aussies struggling to get by as the cost of living continues to soar.

“Groceries, utilities, fuel, interest rates, insurance … daycare. It never ends. We have had to stop the kids extra curricular activities to make ends meet,” one person said.

“Daycare and fuel are eating our salary alive right now,” added another.

A third said: “Two bags of shopping cost me $180 today. Used to fill the trolley for that.”

The items purchased by the original poster that fit into one bag included blueberries, butter, chocolate coated nuts, milk, sauce, pasta, tea tree oil, ham, bread, twisties and chips – all ranging from $1.60 to $7 per item.

“At least your party bag of twisties was only $3.50. I paid $9 in a remote area a few weeks ago,” someone commented.

“I remember only last year a bag costing $30 which I thought was steep. Same bag is easily $60 now with no meat or fancy brands,” said another.

One person said the only way they “were making it” was using frozen vegetables and rice for almost every meal.

Annual consumer price index inflation hit 7.3 per cent – its highest in more than three decades – in September.

Goods accounted for more than three quarters of that rise over the past year, reflecting high freight costs, supply constraints and prolonged elevated demand, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The category of food and non-alcoholic beverages was up 9 per cent for the year and 3.2 per cent on the previous quarter.

The ABS said climbing food prices in the September quarter were influenced by supply chain disruptions, weather-related events, such as flooding, and increased transport and input costs.

In the 12 months to the end of September, fruit and vegetables prices skyrocketed 16.2 per cent.

Dairy was up 12.1 per cent and bread and cereal was up 10 per cent. Meat and seafood rose 7.3 per cent.

When Treasurer Jim Chalmers handed down his first budget in October, he said inflation was expected to peak at 7.75 per cent later this year before moderating over time to 3.5 per cent through 2023–⁠24.

At the end of October, Coles told its suppliers to cut operational costs instead of requesting price rises, warning the supermarket giant may not accept their request for a cost increase even if they can prove their inputs have gone up.

The message came as a trading update revealed supermarket inflation was at 7.1 per cent for the first quarter of the financial year at Coles, compared to 4.3 per cent in the previous fourth quarter. Fresh food prices were up 8.8 per cent.

Raw materials, commodity, shipping and fuel costs were the key drivers of supplier input cost requests.

“All businesses will incur impacts to the cost of doing business at some point,” Coles wrote to suppliers, according to The Australian, which obtained the note.

“Every business needs to turn its mind to how it can remove costs from its operations. This is something that Coles continually does and is a fundamental part of our strategy.

“Even where you can substantiate increases to cost of doing business including rising cost of inputs, Coles may not accept your request for a cost increase in full or at all.

“Coles must balance customer needs, Coles value proposition and the competitive environment. Your organisation needs to be continually reviewing how you operate to offset costs.”

Woolworths boss Brad Banducci said food inflation at his supermarkets was at 7.3 per cent for the first quarter of the financial year, driven by price hikes in fruit and vegetables.

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