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  • QUT researcher Dr Gary Mortimer

Family spending vs supermarket sweeteners: docket study

03 April 2012

It's a battle to stick to a grocery budget these days, so just how do you save money at the checkout when supermarkets are using every trick in the book to entice you to spend more?

That's the question being asked by two researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who have launched a national grocery shopping study to investigate trends in family grocery spending.

The Australian-first project will examine how we shop in the supermarket, what strategies we adopt to reduce our spending, and how advertising, prices and consumer education can affect what we buy.

Dr Gary Mortimer and Dr Clinton Weeks from the QUT Business School are looking for people who buy groceries for a family each week to share their shopping clues by sending in their receipts.

Participants will be mailed a consumer information sheet every week for 10 weeks, and then asked to send back each week's grocery receipt in a reply-paid envelope.

"The great thing about this study is that shoppers don't have to do anything outside their normal routine of grocery shopping," Dr Mortimer said. "They simply take a look at the material we send each week, and then mail in a grocery receipt to QUT."

"We spend such a large proportion of our household income on groceries each week, yet little is known about how we go about reducing this weekly expenditure.

"Some shoppers stick to shopping lists or buy in bulk, while others are influenced by gimmicks and retail 'tricks of the trade'."

Dr Weeks sad most people wanted to save money at the registers, but retailers kept encouraging them to spend more through innovative marketing appeals, price promotions and manufacturing tactics.

"This research project aims to improve the way people spend money on groceries," Dr Weeks said.

"We're interested in the strategies people use when shopping and the impact that consumer education can have."

All shoppers who participate for the full 10 weeks will go into a draw for gift cards ranging from $20 to $1000.

To participate in the QUT Grocery Shopping Study, visit http://survey.qut.edu.au/grocery and register. Alternatively, email grocery@qut.edu.au or post your name and address to: Grocery Study, Reply Paid 2434, Brisbane QLD 4001.

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Media contacts:
- Dr Gary Mortimer, QUT Business School, 07 3138 5084 or gary.mortimer@qut.edu.au
- Mechelle McMahon, QUT media officer, 07 3138 9449 or media@qut.edu.au

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