Larger packaging does not always equal lower prices

Larger packaging does not always equal lower prices

Many supermarket items in large packaging are cheaper by the kilo or the liter than small packages, but in some cases, the reverse is true. Much depends on the standard packaging.


Many approaches

On average, it is cheaper to buy larger quantities in supermarkets, but if a certain type of packaging does not sell too much, the reverse is often true. Whenever that happens, it is cheaper to buy smaller quantities. Delhaize does apply the rule that larger normally always signifies it is cheaper. “Our approach is that larger quantities always have to be cheaper, at least when they are in identical packaging. If not, there are other influences”, spokesperson Roel Dekelver told GVA.


Colruyt keeps the best-selling packaging in mind. “It is true that the standard packaging, which could be the smaller version, is produced the most”, Silja Decock explains the price differences. “The entire chain is focused on those, which reduces the cost. The standard packaging is also the most popular with consumers, which makes it more competitive. That is why the standard packaging could be cheaper than the larger quantities.”


RetailDetail’s Jorg Snoeck backs that statement and informs people to keep an eye on the price per liter or per kilo. Manufacturers make that increasingly difficult to do, because they launch all types of packaging.



“The consumer did not have any information back in the day, but now he has all the tools to compare prices”, Snoeck said. “Manufacturers and supermarkets realize that and that is why there is a conscious move to change packaging to avoid that the consumer has an easy one-on-one comparison. The more packaging and quantities there are, the more difficult it is for the consumer to check which one is actually the cheapest.”


A remarkable fact is that plastic packaging is usually more expensive than other types, although it is cheaper to manufacture. “The entire industrial world is trying to limit the environmental impact its products have during their entire cycle. I do not exclude the idea that they therefore increase the price of their plastic version compared to other packaging options”, Fost Plus’ Fatima Boudjaoui said.