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Inflation for you – is it time to change your supermarket?

Delhaize_Ticket

I rewrote this blog post using ChatGPT for the text and Magic Media (Canvas) for the featured image. The new post is accessible here.

I downloaded the last 365 days of sales tickets from my Delhaize account. I analysed my spend, calculated “my inflation” and asked myself whether I should switch to Carrefour, Farm, Colruyt or Aldi.

Reading the inflation reports, like that of Test Achats (Inflation : vos courses sont 20 % plus chères|Test Achats (test-achats.be)), you can see that the annual inflation is at around 20% in supermarkets. Overall CPI was calculated 10.35% for full year 2022 (Consumer price index | Statbel (fgov.be)). So the inflation in supermarkets exceeded the rest of the categories.

We write down our spend as a family, and allocate each spend to a category. I had noted that the “Grocery” category spend had almost doubled in the last year. Of course, growing family, the increasing number of dinners we host at home could be a reason behind it. However, grocery spend itself became a more significant part of our family spend, and made me think “am I spending too much on Delhaize?”. So I decided to go in detail.

Here’s the method – I use my Delhaize card each time I shop at Delhaize, so my ticket is kept in their loyalty system. I then went and downloaded my tickets at this page: Mes tickets de caisse (delhaize.be). Then, using a free online OCR that converts multiple images at a time, like Image to Text Converter – Support Multiple Images (ifimageediting.com), I converted all these into a TXT file. And I wrote a simple VBA code to parse this data into an Excel file, and started analysing.           

First, I sorted the articles by total spend, and noted that about 15 articles make about 30% of my spend. I decided to use these articles as a reference in making my decision whether I should stay at Delhaize or go elsewhere.

At the end of this process, my results table looked like below:

Category / SKU IDStart PriceEnd PriceInflation
Dairy35%
520116821529Feta Cheese3.494.9943%
541060301789Butter6.899.4337%
520105401607Yoghurt3.694.5924%
Fresh40%
540011232370400gr Cherry Tomatoes2.994.1940%
155Cucumber0.791.2558%
540011952398Berries1.993.2965%
540011230572175gr chicon2.652.9913%
540011231880Radishes0.991.4951%
Prepared9%
540011957795Packed olives330%
540011954709Dried tomatoes2.5320%
Other23%
315423060051Pastry2.192.7927%
541508700380Canned tuna2.593.6641%
208791Rustic d’Antan bread2.592.8912%
541015131909800G Nutrilon 2+15.7918.9120%
800426023099Toilet Paper9.8912.3925%

If this list was one basket of shopping, it would have 27% price increase year-over-year.

Now what I should to is to pick the top 10-articles, and do a price comparison in the neighbourhood. I tried to do this online, but I believe certain brands have their products not listed online to avoid price comparison. So I will need to do this offline later on.

Why did we do all these? The inflation is calculate on a selection of products, which may or may not match your purchases. If you can download your purchase data you can calculate your own inflation, and see how much it deviates from the official inflation. And if you see a wider figure, you might check alternatives.

BONUS

When did the inflation happen? Below the price graphs of some articles over time:

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