Tuesday, 5 April 2016

International Progress on UNIT PRICING: Consumers want clear comparative pricing when choosing between products. An ISO standard on Unit Pricing aims to deliver just this!

Ian Jarratt from the Consumers Federation of Australia, is Consumers International's expert voice on the ISO Project Committee which is developing a standard on Unit Pricing. Ian, who also sits on the Australian national committee explains why its important for consumers to be able to compare the price of products, as easily and as quickly as you can buy them.

The unit price is the price of a product per unit of measure, for example $5.52 per kg for a pre-packaged 725g carton of breakfast cereal costing $4.

It allows consumers to easily and quickly compare the price and value for money of pre-packaged and other products. For pre-packaged products it is provided in addition to the selling price.

Unit prices often vary greatly, so by comparing unit prices consumers can substantially reduce how much they spend on products, or get more for the same amount of money.

However, far too often unit pricing for pre-packaged products is either not provided at all, or is not easy to notice, read, understand and use, and therefore underused by consumers.

An effective, consumer-focused international standard for pre-packaged products will benefit consumers in many ways including:
  • facilitating improvements in the quality of the unit pricing of pre-packaged products currently provided by retailers compulsorily or voluntarily; 
  • encouraging the provision of effective unit pricing of pre-packaged products by more retailers; 
  • increasing and strengthening links with the unit pricing of products sold loose from bulk; 
  • increasing competition between retailers and between manufacturers;
  • facilitating international consistency in the provision of unit pricing,

Consumers International (CI) is a liaison member of the ISO Project Committee 294 which is developing a guidance standard for the unit pricing of pre-packaged products.

The Committee will hold its second meeting from 19-21 April in Singapore to discuss the standard’s draft scope and principles.

CI’s representative on the Committee is Ian Jarratt from Australia and Standards Australia is providing the Secretariat.

CI’s draft position paper is now out for comment and available on request from shomer@consint.org. We're aiming for an effective, consumer-orientated standard and we need your input to reflect the needs of members around the globe. PLEASE COMMENT BY 11 APRIL 2016.

Participation in the Committee is open to any ISO member so CI Members should encourage their countries to participate because this topic is highly relevant to consumers everywhere.

The current participating members are: Australia, Canada, Israel, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore and South Africa.

The observer members are: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam.

National standards bodies and interested ISO liaison organisations can get involved by contacting Steven Cooke at steven.cooke@standards.org.au

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