9 August 2022

Find best grocery deals and compare prices with new web app, Grocer

Are you keen to find out where to go to make your grocery money stretch a little further, or find best deals without having to leave home?

A new web app that compares grocery prices from three leading supermarkets- Countdown, New World and Pak ‘n Save, makes this easier for you.

Grocer.nz – a ‘grocery price comparison app for Kiwis’ launched by an Auckland-based developer, has generated a fair deal of interest within days of its launch.

New app to compare prices

Roc Wong – a ‘full-stack developer’ who studied Computer Science while pursuing his Master of Engineering before coming to New Zealand in 2014, has a day job working for a healthcare start-up.

Developing this app was “just another hobby project of mine,” Wong told NewsViews. Rising cost of living and spiralling food prices were the motivation factors for Wong to develop this web app that helps shoppers make “an informed decision” by showing cheapest prices.

Not only that, it “puts the power back on the consumers’ hands,” as one user commented on Wong’s post on Reddit.

This price comparison site helps shoppers decide where to go for their grocery shopping based upon how much an item costs at each supermarket.

Shoppers can either scan a product barcode or search for items by name. Selected items can also be added/saved to shopping list by clicking the ‘+’ button

Once the items are added, the website shows which supermarket has the lowest total amount for their groceries under the ‘plan’ section.

Users can choose up to 10 stores, however, as Wong says “the website can only show local supermarket stores that provide online shopping since the price data comes from online stores.”

With food prices spiralling, trolleys are hard to fill

To overcome this issue and perhaps make prices more realistic, NewsViews asked if he could involve consumers to verify/confirm prices for your app- just like the fuel price app, Gaspy?

“Using crowd sourcing might fill the gap there,” the developer agreed.

Prices on grocer.nz are currently updated daily even though these supermarkets usually change prices weekly.

“I might consider changing it back to weekly if that’s sufficient, and I don’t want to create too much stress on their web servers,” Wong says.

Prices from three supermarkets can be compared

From an initial few hits, the daily users of ‘Grocer’ site have increased to about 27K who access it to explore and compare prices.

“I totally didn’t imagine such overwhelming positive receptions. I am glad my app helps people”, Wong says.

Earlier, it was a hassle to open three different websites to compare, and this free web tool makes it easier.

“It’s a web app, so no download or installation is required,” adds Wong.

Feedback has been positive so far with users commenting “…this will save me so much more time… (earlier) it was such a pain”; “I love how you can make a list and then it splits it into the supermarkets for you”, etc.

As the website uses trademarks, imageries and price data from the supermarkets at time of comparing prices, Wong admitted he is ‘wary’ of potential issues that it may cause when asked by NewsViews.

“I am wary potentially getting a cease and desist letter from Supermarkets (but) …I haven’t been contacted by either Foodstuff or Woolworths so far…I hope the supermarkets don’t have an issue about the app or me, maybe there is a chance to collaborate even,” Wong says.

When asked if he would take a stand against the ‘cease and desist’ notice if received, Wong said “no”, and would rather “probably shut it down… which I don’t want, but I think I can live with it.”

Wong was appreciative of a “gentleman who sponsored me US100 on Github”, and does not rule out any potential monetisation opportunities.

“However, I’m happy to keep it free at the moment, as long as I can manage the cost on servers and my time.”

The government has earlier admitted that New Zealanders are paying too much for their food and groceries and food prices were 7.6 per cent higher in March than the year before. This had prompted the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, David Clark to remark there was a need to “rein in the super profits of the supermarket.”