A new $10 block of cheese has got the tick from budget-savvy food lovers with taste tests comparing it to more expensive choices.
With grocery prices at an all-time high, a good block of cheese under $10 is hard to find with consumers complaining of stock availability or taste issues.
The new Countdown/Woolworths-branded “Everyday Cheese” was described as “moreish” and “actually pretty yum” by beer and cheese connoisseur Kieran Haslett-Moore on former Twitter platform X.
After initially describing the new entry-level offering as having an aroma of “rubber and wet togs”, former cheesemonger Haslett-Moore said the cheap block was “buttery rather than waxy” with a nice umami flavour. “Moreish.”
Haslett-Moore pointed out most supermarket mild cheeses of similar quality cost around $18.
The $10 cheese also got the attention of members of the Cheaper Ways NZ Facebook page members, who said it was a relief to have a $10 everyday option.
Some were quick to point out the availability of the $9.90 Pams brand colby, edam and mild 1kg block from Pak’nSave.
But: “Not everyone can get to Pak’nSave,” one pointed out.
Another said she often bought cheese for the same price from New World and Pak’n’Save but wanted to do a comparison.
“Gone down a great with the kids tonight,” she said.
- Unemployment up, wages rise as job market gets more ‘spare capacity’
- The cost of a loaf of bread: Why this loaf costs $2.99 at one Pak’nSave and $4.99 at another
- Urge to splurge dries out in new card spending data
In another sign that the price of cheese could be coming down, Pak’nSave this week dropped the price of the Pams-branded 1kg block to $8.99 - the cheapest it has been for two years.
One shopper spoken to by the Herald said it was good to see the lower prices, but added: “Sadly you get what you pay for with the cheaper cheeses.”
“They are often waxy and lack flavour.”
The current cost-of-living crisis had hit the dairy aisle in the supermarket hard, with butter, milk and cheese all increasing in price.
The $10 cheese has been described as having better flavours than others at the same price point.
In May 2022, a block of tasty cheese by Mainland reached the record price of $21 for a 1kg block. It has since dropped to the current price of $19.
The household living costs price index shows inflation faced by the average household in the 12 months to June was 7.2 per cent - more than a percentage point higher than the Consumers Price Index at 6 per cent.
The main contributors to higher living costs for the average household were higher interest payments (up 28.8 per cent) and grocery food prices (up 13.2 per cent).
Many blame high prices on a lack of competition in the grocery sector, where the main supermarkets are owned by two companies.
For two decades, New Zealand’s supermarket sector has been a duopoly, dominated by Foodstuffs and Woolworths.
New Zealand’s Countdown supermarkets are rebranding to Woolworths, in keeping with the Australian brand.
A Commerce Commission market study into the grocery industry showed major supermarkets were earning excess profits of around $1 million a day.
The job of the new grocery commissioner would be to ensure “increased competition in the grocery industry, and for the benefit of Kiwi consumers.”
Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you