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Alan Hawkins

Professional journalist and communication consultant.

East London Accommodation

Checkers sell their whole roast chickens at R29.90 per kg., customers are charged according to the specific weight of each chicken and the finished product is labelled accordingly. Spargs Superspar in Beacon Bay uses this same practice, but charges a surprising 57% premium, coming in at R46.99 per kg.

A different method is applied by Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Vincent Superspar who all charge a set price for each chicken, irrespective of its exact weight. Pick n Pay charge R42.99 and Woolworths, R52.95 each. Considering the unlikely probability of an identical weight for each bird,  consumers are forced to rely on a little luck, perhaps if your timing is right you’ll get a good sized chicken and vice versa.

Vincent Superspar charges their customers R36.99 for a whole roast chicken. According to owner, Frank McGlashan, there is no law protecting consumers from irregular or inconsistent weights when it comes to prepared foods. He went on to say,”our prepared product usually weighs in at around 1kg. We have an advanced combi-steamer which ensures a quality product which is what we always focus on.”

Whilst acknowledging that it is often difficult to either regulate or accurately compare prepared foods between outlets, perhaps it’s time that the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications applies some appropriate guidelines.  


Professional marketers are adept at drawing consumers to supermarket doors. Unfortunately, all is not always as it seems and the varying practices and range of prices in this example alone, is evidence enough that consumers need to tread cautiously.


This week’s Chilli Award goes to those supermarkets who fail to ensure advertised products are in stock. A reader, Mrs Brindley of Beacon Bay, experienced this recently in no less than three East London stores. She feels that at the very least, an alternative product should have been offered. Sometimes unavoidable maybe, but out-of-stocks are nevertheless extremely frustrating for customers.    


What a weekend - this week’s Cherry Award goes to our sportsmen, Ernie Els for winning The Open, golf’s most famous tournament, and the Proteas for winning the cricket test against England.

The Hawkeye team discovered some inconsistencies in the way some of our supermarkets approach the sale of prepared meals, in particular, pre-cooked whole chickens.


25th July 2012