Unit pricing became mandatory in supermarkets across Australia yesterday (1 December), with the country's competition minister suggesting the move will see the average family save at least A$96 (US$89) a year.

Unit pricing, a recommendation stemming from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission's grocery inquiry, is where grocery items are priced by reference to common units of measure such as per 100 grams and per 100 millilitres.

For example, a 600 gram jar of jam that costs A$4.50 would have a unit price of A$0.75 per 100 grams.

"Unit pricing will allow customers to choose the cheapest packet size for a particular brand," competition minister Dr Craig Emerson said. "It will also allow customers to compare different brands in different package sizes by reference to their price per unit."

"Unit pricing is a valuable tool that enables consumers to seek better value for money when shopping for groceries."

The Unit Pricing Code became law on 1 July and supermarkets larger than 1000 square metres have been busy implementing the new measure. Smaller supermarkets can participate voluntarily, but if they decide to do so they must comply with the code.

The ACCC is responsible for enforcing the code.

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