Consumers have been equipped with a new tool making buying decisions easier with products now able to be compared on a fairer level, thanks to an international effort spearheaded by Australian experts.

The recently published International Standard, ISO 21041:2018, Guidance on unit pricing, provides a number of requirements to enable consumers to compare prices on similar items more accurately.

“This standard is directly aimed at empowering consumers, and enabling them to make informed purchasing decisions,” said CEO of Standards Australia, Dr Bronwyn Evans. “Unit price enables sellers to show the price of goods in relation to a standard unit of measure, such as the kilogram or litre. For example, for a 250 ml carton of orange juice offered at $2.95, the unit price would be $11.80 per litre.”

“Australia worked hard to lead the establishment of the relevant committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which has become ISO/PC 294Guidance on unit pricing, with the intent of delivering an international guidance standard,” said Dr Evans.

“This International Standard has now been published and consumers on a global scale may soon benefit from more information at the time of purchase thanks to the dedication of the international committee.”

“This standard will provide guidance in relation to products displayed on the shelf adjacent to the goods, on the package, in printed catalogues, in-store promotional material and when advertised on-line,” said Chair of the international Technical Committee, John Furbank. “For consumers some unit prices are not easy to read and in some countries there is no relevant legislation meaning unit pricing is not provided or it is provided in an ad hoc manner.

“Recent results of unit pricing research conducted by the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, revealed benefits for both consumers and retailers. The research, authored by Dr Clinton Weeks, suggests that effective provision of unit price information will not simply drive consumers to buy the cheapest product, but rather it allows them to make more informed choices – something that appears to reflect positively on retailers,” concluded Mr Furbank.

(Article by Scott McGrath republished from the Standards Australia website: 3 December 2018)

AuthorRay Dennis