The Big Question: Coles vs Woolworths

Alright, this is so off topic it's unbelievable, but we ran a poll on McDonalds vs Hungry Jacks and it went off, so I figured this might be a discussion worth having. I've seen people almost come to blows on this one, so I'm keen to hear what the outcome will be!

I'm not going to lie. I have a horse in this race. I have a clear cut favourite. I much prefer Woolworths. My reasoning for this is stupid.

— I think the colour green suits a supermarket better than red. — Curtis Stone is clearly a demon from the nether realms and is not in possession of a soul. — Woolworths always seems cleaner.

But, in Coles favour...

— It always seems a little cheaper. — They sell Steel Cut Oats.

Let the games begin.


    Coles has the veggie chips I like. But Woolies has the Honey Sponge roll I like. Argh! I choose the Korean Grocery store down the road! (or Coles...either one)

      Woolworths has Veggie chips in the gluten free zone!

    Which ever has the better sales of the week. Why would I be loyal to a supermarket?

    Last edited 17/12/14 11:20 am

      Alternatively which ever is closest to you at the time.


    But between the two it's Woolies by default pretty much because there's no Coles around here. Though Coles does tend to have some stuff that Woolies don't.

    None of them seem to have the lemon iced tea cordial from Bickfords though. It's always peach. WHO THE HELL PREFERS PEACH ICED TEA OVER LEMON?

      My fiancée loves that Bickfords Peach Ice Tea. It is pretty awesome.

        Tell her she's a monster and I blame her for my lemonless predicament :P

      I love that I have an ALDI near home. Cheap produce which is usually better than the Woolworths stuff, cheap meat (especially their bacon), and their chocolate/desserts/cheeses are all excellent. They also have interesting random stock that rotates in and out. I have kettlebell weights at home I picked up there for cheap because they had them in stock so why not?

      Buuuuut for most of my groceries it has to be Woolies. Aldi is missing a lot of the specific products and brands that I like.

      I do prefer Aldi over the big two as well, and its good to see they are popping up more & more these days. Only thing that annoys me is their checkout system. I mean damn, would it hurt them to have self serve or express checkouts, I always get stuck behind oldies who are buying up their groceries for a year.

        "I always get stuck behind oldies who are buying up their groceries for a year." hahahaha. This is so true.

    I became a more regular shopper at woolies when coles started to replace everything they stocked with their own product lines. They still seem to do that more than woolies so for the moment I stick with them.
    Most of my meat and veg comes from markets so quality isn't really a huge thing for me.

      they do that at woolies too, its just that woolies brands more closely resemble the things they are replacing then coles, so you dont even notice it

        Yeah the whole select brand stuff. I don't think they are doing it worse that coles, and coles was doing it much more when I made the conscious decision to favour woolies.
        Although that would be interesting, to actually see the number of home brand items each of them stock

          Compare continental instant pasta to the select brand, not only are they almost identical, now the select brands occupies more then half the shelf, despite the fact it taste like arse.

            I'm probably still just bitter that coles replaced my greenseas tinned tuna with their own rubbish replacement. The thing that annoyed me the most was this was the first time a company had really done flavoured tinned tuna, and coles waited until they worked out which varieties people liked and then released just those ones.
            No risk, no taking the hit on some things not working.

              Yep, they know what sells, and what sells well, and the margins involved, its not even a case of competition, it would be like hungry jacks selling big macs at half the price of maccas, and getting away with it

      Woolworths is the main culprit here.
      You can no longer buy any kind of lemon juice or lime juice other than Woolworths' own brand, and theirs tastes like shit. I don't know how you can get lemon juice wrong, but they do.
      So many brands I used to buy are no longer stocked, leaving no other choice other than the Woolworths' brand item. How is this legal??

        I bought home brand simmer sauce once. It was so bland I actually emailed them to complain. I think they sent me refund money.

        Even though it costs more and is less convenient, I'd still take fresh lemons over any bottled lemon juice. You end up appreciating it more. If you really like your lemons, it's pretty easy to grow one in a pot or in your yard.

          I do grow lemons, and buy lemons as well, but a bottle of lemon squeeze in the fridge for cooking and for adding to drinks was always a staple. Berri Lemon squeeze is fantastic, I still can't believe they are allowed to not stock competing brands. It is shithouse.
          Plus I have 4 kids and a 30K income, we can't always afford to go fresh, especially out of season.

          Last edited 18/12/14 12:09 pm

    A topic like this is why you get paid the big $, Mark :P

    I grew up in a family that always shopped at Safeway/Woolies but these days I prefer Coles. The brand appeals to me more and, as you said, they seem to be marginally cheaper in general.

    Last edited 17/12/14 11:22 am

    I shop at Woolies most of the time because its easier to park there, but the Coles bakery is way better. Dem cookies.

      Replaced oat and raisin with inferior oat and muesli as the last remaining reason to favour coles is gone.


    I pretty much refuse to shop at Coles ever since they started going down the "Hey, let's be as annoying as possible in our advertising because then people will remember us!" route. I'm not going to reward that kind of asshattery with my shopping dollars.

      Seriously. That "down, down" campaign was the last straw.

        And they only got worse from there! The "celebrate specials" and "whatever annual fee Master Card" and every single other thing they put on television. I want to gouge my eyes and ears out with a spoon.

    Coles, just because it's close by.

    Both Coles and Woolies have their pros and cons, Coles have better donut and cake selections where Woolies have a better bakery. Throw in a locally owned supermarket that has a yoghurt bar.

    I buy my meat, fruit and veg from a local butcher and fruit and veg shop, both coles and woolies are quite expensive for their meat and veggies.

    Curtis Stone is clearly a demon from the nether realms and is not in possession of a soul.

    I always thought there was something a little off about him. I think you've nailed it.

    I shop at Coles simply because our local Woolies is still stuck in the 80's. Whereas the Coles is much bigger and has just been given a makeover.

      I thought he just had a unusually large head and that was what bothered me...... but now Mark has raised the issue I tend to agree !

      I don't wont to shop anywhere near Curtis Stone ....... Heeees the Deeeevilll ! (read in heavy southern accent)

    Come on, you know it's definitely NOT a two horse race in Oz anymore. ALDI FTW !

      Well to be quite fair, Aldi is not in every state & territory. They'll be moving into South Australia as of next year apparently, and I don't believe they're in Western Australia yet either.

        True dat. 'N they don't sell liquor in all locations yet either (crazy) :) So you're right ... still places where it IS a two horse race. One could technically argue IGA should also be involved in the poll but they were never a serious competitor to the big two even before Aldi entered the fray.

          A fair point! and sadly Aldi will never sell alcohol in QLD unless they want to have a separate store just for alcohol, and I can't see that happening..

            I'm not sure about the laws in QLD but technically couldn't they just open a store within ALDI - ie A bottle shop inside a supermarket - and therefore not need to open a separate store at another location?

    I prefer Woolworths but to be honest I shop at both. I live in lane cove which has a Coles and Woolworths in an extremely close proximity. My girlfriend prefers the Coles brand plain chocolate coated vanilla ice creams to the woolworth homebrand one so I tend to do all the shopping at Woolworths then go to Coles to get her ice-cream and then I go to the fruit shop underneath Coles for my fruit/veg. I must say I've been much happier with the quality of fruit at the fruit shop compared to both Coles and Woolworths. I started buying oranges to squeeze my orange juice and there's really no comparison.

    Woolworths because it's closer, but get all fruit and veg at the market.

    woolworths because the staff at coles near me are terrible and their fruit and veg is always half rotten on the shelves.

    I have really switched to shopping at ALDI for as much as possible. Really great prices and the food is pretty excellent...

    But otherwise its Coles, there are more within range of me and I tend to buy fuel at Shell so I use their dockets there. But Woolies is also fine, generally their stores seems a bit nicer than Coles.

    Last edited 17/12/14 11:35 am

    I used to shop at Coles, but it just pissed me off more and more over time. It seemed every week the range of available products got smaller and smaller and smaller until there are very few options for any particular product. In my experience, Woolworths are very similar in that regard.

    About 2 months ago I finally decided enough was enough, said they can both piss off and have been doing my shopping at Foodland ever since. And I'm really happy with it - much greater variety of products, a hell of a lot more locally sourced products and really not much more expensive... maybe $2-3 extra on my total shop each week and well worth it to keep some real competition in the market place, I reckon.

      I wish we had that option, only Coles and Woolies in our town, and both have stopped stocking so many lines, replacing it with their own stuff that tastes like arse.
      I refuse to purchase their brand stuff any more, but it means a two hour drive to the nearest competitor.

    Woolworths for the weekly shop due to it being closest to home.

    Coles if I need to get things before or after work coz it's close to work and quicker to get in and out. Also it's directly on my way home.

    About 3-4 years ago I had a housemate that worked at Woolies, then left there to work at Coles. We lived next door to the Woolies, but he needed to catch a train to get to the Coles since it was in the next suburb over. I asked him why, seeing as the Woolies was much easier to get to; he said that Coles treated their employees better, gave them more opportunities to advance a career with them if they wanted it, and were just generally better to work for.

    So I would pick Coles. Plus it's closer to me now, and I like the selection a bit better.

    Coles, but only because it's more convenient for me to get to and they sell the water filters I use.

    We never shop at Woolies, but I concede they have certain foods you just can't find at Coles. The reverse is also true.

    Also, I always get petrol from Shell, so I always get food from Coles, makes sense.

    I don't favour either for just about anything, it's whoever has the better price and has it in stock, apart from fresh bread, the Woolies bakery where I live do some of the best bread in town that's a reasonable price for fresh baked bread and the baker is a great bloke.

    Also saying that where I live i'm lucky to have 4 Coles, 3 Woolworths, 4 independent fruit & vege stores, 6 independent butchers, 2 independent bakeries & 2 Aldi's all within about 5 minutes drive of where I live. It's great having such a choice and 95% of the time the quality & price of the independents here for fruit, vege & meat is vastly superior over Coles & Woolies.

    I also live a 2 minute walk from a large shopping centre with all those listed apart from Aldi, which is about a 10 minute walk away or 2 minute car drive.

    Edit: if we're also extending to the duopoly's other brands we mostly buy booze from a Woolworths brand if Aldi are out of stock of their beers, which are competitively priced and pretty decent, and fuel mostly from Caltex because we found Shell's diesel to be very poor value and ran dirty, plus our local Woolies Caltex sell the vortex diesel which just runs cleaner. Same goes for the petrol, and Shell are always that few cents more than Caltex, which is amusing.

    Last edited 17/12/14 11:42 am

    I prefer Woolies. I may be biased since I used to work there and my mum still does, but I also find their stores are more sensibly laid out. The signage in Coles is ridiculous! Three vague items are listed on the boards hanging from the ceiling at the ends of the aisles but the aisle actually contains wildly varied and unrelated items. Frustrating. Woolies has those convenient laminated info sheets at the ends of each aisle to find items more easily.

    Also Curtis Stone is The Worst and Heston's face annoys me.

    My preference is really based on proximity. The small Coles is closer so I head there if I just need a few generic bits and pieces, but off to the larger Safeway if it is the weekly shop

    Shocking how many people are picking Coles or Wollies. Neither for me. Local fruit shop for veg, fruit, meat, dairy and almost everything else. It's cheaper and waaaaay better quality. For anything else they dont sell I go to Aldi.

      I picked in the context of the question, personally. I do the majority of my shopping at a local market, and whatever isn't available there gets purchased at Woolies.

    Currently Woolies, but I base my selection on who has the least annoying ad campaign. That fucking dot and down down down thing still annoys me.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now