What is the average grocery bill?

Buying groceries is one of our biggest living expenses after housing costs, so it makes ‘cents’ Aussies look to reduce their grocery bills whenever possible. For that, it’s important to know exactly what we’re spending at the supermarket each shop, in order to then adjust our budgets and buying habits accordingly.

That’s why we have compiled this guide on average grocery bills in Australia. We’ve included average grocery costs by state, household size, income, age group, and supermarket, plus listed some budgeting tips to reduce your grocery bill.

Average grocery bill in Australia

Aussie households spend on average $140 per week on groceries, according to Canstar Blue’s latest survey of supermarket shoppers. This equates to about $560 a month or $6,720 a year. The average weekly spend for larger households of five or more people is roughly $215, with the majority of this spent on staple or everyday food items.

Here’s what most Aussies buy in their weekly food, as found in our survey:

  • Fruit/vegetables: 69%
  • Dairy/eggs: 61%
  • Bakery items (i.e. bread): 55%
  • Meat/seafood/deli items: 55%
  • Pantry items (i.e. rice, pasta, cooking oil, etc): 54%
  • Frozen foods: 46%

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Average grocery bill by state

This table shows the average weekly grocery bill across Australian states, based on a Canstar Blue survey of more than 2,600 households (of all sizes).

State Average weekly grocery bill
Western Australia $136
Queensland $139
South Australia $139
Tasmania $140
New South Wales $141
Victoria $142
Northern Territory $161

Source: Canstar Blue research, August 2020.

As outlined above, households in Western Australia reported the lowest average weekly grocery bill of $136, while those in the Northern Territory spend the most at the supermarket, to the tune of $161 per week ($25 more).

Average grocery bill in WA

Households in Western Australia pay on average $136 per week for groceries – the least of all states. This equates to $544 a month or $6,528 per year. Our survey found most shoppers in WA (72%) pay attention to supermarket special offers and promotions, while for some (16%) the cost of basics like milk and bread determines where they shop.

Average grocery bill in QLD

Queenslanders recorded the second-lowest average weekly grocery bill of $139, equating to $556 a month or $6,672 per year. More than a quarter (29%) of shoppers in the Sunshine State tend to buy supermarket home brands rather than big brands, and almost half (49%) believe supermarket private labels are good quality, according to our latest survey.

Average grocery bill per state Australia

Average grocery bill in SA

People in South Australia recorded the second-lowest average weekly grocery bill (on par with QLD) of $139, equalling to $556 a month or $6,672 per year. Our survey found over half of shoppers in SA (52%) buy deli meats (i.e. ham, sausages, etc.) from the supermarket, rather than visiting a butcher.

Average grocery bill in TAS

Households in Tasmania spend on average $140 a week on groceries, which is equivalent to $560 a month or $6,720 a year. According to our latest survey, more Tasmanians buy fruits and vegetables (76%) in their food shop than in any other state, with a Roy Morgan study also revealing Tasmania has the highest proportion of residents who eat little, or no meat.

Average grocery bill in NSW

In New South Wales, households fork out on average $141 per week for groceries, equating to $564 a month or $6,768 per year. According to our latest survey, 60% of people living in NSW have switched supermarkets in the past to save money. NSW is also the state with the most ALDI stores, with more than 180 locations to date.

Average supermarket bill Australia

Average grocery bill in VIC

The average weekly spend on groceries in Victoria is $142. This equates to $568 a month or $6,816 per year. Our latest survey found consumers in VIC tend to buy more frozen foods (51%) and pantry items (57%) in their grocery shop, than people in other states.

Average grocery bill in NT

Households in the Northern Territory spend on average $161 a week on groceries, which is equivalent to $644 a month or $7,728 a year. Our latest survey found that the majority of consumers in the NT (63%) choose where they shop based on the cost of basics like milk and bread.

Average grocery bill by household size

This table shows the average weekly grocery bill in Australia by household size.

Household size Average weekly grocery bill
1 $102
2 $146
3 $169
4 $181
5 or more $215

Source: Canstar Blue research, August 2020.

Naturally, larger households of five or more (including dependents) spend more on groceries, forking out roughly $100 a week or $400 a month more than single-person households or couples. Generally speaking, food expenditure goes up by $40-50 with every person in your household.

What is the average grocery bill per person?

The average grocery bill for one single person in Australia is $102 a week, which is equivalent to $408 a month or $4,896 a year. According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census data, there are 2.3 million single-person households in Australia, making up about a quarter of all (9.4 million) households.

What is the average grocery bill for a family of 4?

How much does the average Australian family spend on groceries per week? This will vary widely depending on location, whether you live in a regional or metropolitan area, the age of children and various other lifestyle factors. Our survey indicates that four-person households (this may include families or four people living under the same roof), spend on average $181 per week on groceries, equalling $724 a month or $8,688 a year. The majority (71%) of households in Australia (or 6.7 million) are family households, according to ABS census data.

Average grocery bill by supermarket

This table displays the average weekly grocery bill in Australia by supermarket.

Supermarket Average weekly grocery bill
Foodland $120
Coles $139
Costco $139
Woolworths $140
ALDI $145
IGA $153

Source: Canstar Blue research, August 2020.

Prices between supermarkets will vary depending on distributor pricing (what a supermarket pays to source and stock a particular product), what they source directly from manufacturers, location (i.e. regional or metropolitan) and simple supply and demand. Our survey found that Aussies who shop at Foodland − an independently-owned and operated supermarket found mostly in South Australia – tend to pay less for groceries per week than those who shop at Coles and Woolies. Surprisingly though, ALDI shoppers were found to spend more than those who shop in other supermarkets, perhaps splurging on Special Buys?

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Average grocery bill by age group

People aged under 30, who theoretically will have fewer dependants at charge, tend to spend $30 less on groceries per week than middle-aged Aussies, followed by senior Australians (over 70 years of age). Here’s a breakdown of the average weekly grocery bill by age group, based on our latest survey results.

Age group Average weekly grocery bill
18 to 29 years $125
30 to 39 years $141
40 to 49 years $155
50 to 59 years $150
60 to 69 years $141
70 years and over $128

Source: Canstar Blue research, August 2020.

Average grocery bill by household income

Naturally, high-income households spend more on their weekly supermarket shop – almost $60 extra than low-income earners. Here’s an overview of the weekly grocery bill by household income.

Household income Average weekly grocery bill
Less than $30,000 $109
$30,000 to $49,999 $127
$50,000 to $79,999 $139
$80,000 to $119,999 $150
More than $120,000 $167

Source: Canstar Blue research, August 2020.

Check out the Canstar App

Top 10 tips to save money on groceries

  1. Make a grocery budget: Set yourself a food budget for the week. The easiest way to do that is to allocate about $50 per person in your household. Once you have a concrete figure, work your grocery shop around that, and try to stay on budget.
  2. Write a shopping list: Similarly to having a budget and sticking to it, you should write down a shopping list of everything you need before you head to the shops. Check your pantry and fridge first to make sure you’re not doubling up on anything. Once you have a list written down, buy only what’s on that list and nothing else. Sorry, that Kinder Bueno will need to go back on the shelf!
  3. Get ‘appy’: There’s an app out there for practically anything, including for saving money on groceries. Apps like Trolley Saver and Half Price compare and track down specials across the major supermarkets like Coles, Woolworths and ALDI. Both are free to download on iOS and Android.
  4. Know the system: Did you know most produce and perishable products like meat and milk are typically marked down the day before their ‘best before’ date? Or that manufacturers/brands pay a premium price to have their products on shelves at eye level, while home brands are typically ‘pushed’ down on the lower shelves? Hack the system to your convenience friend!
  5. Use supermarket rewards programs: Woolworths has the Everyday Rewards card and Coles has flybuys, which allow you to collect loyalty points for dollars spent, redeemable for discounts on future shops.
  6. Check the unit price: ‘Cheaper’ doesn’t always mean good value. The best way to make sure you’re getting bang for your buck on any product is to check the unit pricing. It’s a mandatory labelling system which basically tells you the cost per litre, per kilogram (or whatever unit of measurement) of what you want to buy.
  7. Buy supermarket brands: You can save a few bucks at the checkout by ditching big brand names for private supermarket labels, especially when it comes to non-perishable products like pasta, rice, canned beans, etc. Our survey found nearly half of Aussies (45%) believe supermarket private labels are good quality.
  8. Don’t pay full price if you don’t have to: Check out the supermarket weekly catalogues for promotions and discounts, to see which items on your shopping list you can buy for less. As good practise, always keep your eyes peeled for sale signs whether you’re shopping instore or online.
  9. Buy in bulk. Necessities such as toilet paper and pantry items are often cheaper to buy in bulk than in single packets. Do the maths and see if you can shave a few dollars off your shop that way.
  10. Reduce food waste. You can save big bucks by re-purposing or freezing leftovers, instead of throwing uneaten food (and money) in the bin.

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Picture credits: SHUTTER TOP/Shutterstock.com, Davizro Photography/Shutterstock.com, George Rudy/Shutterstock.com, Stokkete/Shutterstock.com, Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock.com.

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