Developers get paid for Grocery Choice

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Developers get paid for Grocery Choice

Shoppers' website completed then canned.

SMS Management and Technology has confirmed it was paid for development of the Grocery Choice website that the Federal Government controversially jetisoned at the weekend.

The ASX-listed company said in April it was subcontracted by consumer advocacy group Choice to re-develop, maintain and support the national grocery price comparison website that was a key plank of Labor's re-election platform.

"We've been paid for the work we'd been signed up to do," a spokesman said.

"The solution is ready to go."

The site would have provided consumers with price comparisons for groceries and dry items across Australia's big supermarkets such as Coles, Woolworths/Safeway, Foodworks and Aldi.

But new Consumer Affairs Minister, Craig Emerson, pulled the plug on the website on Friday just days before it was due to go online.

It invoked an angry response from Choice chief executive officer Nick Stace, who accused the supermarket chains - except Aldi and Foodworks - of deciding "that price transparency doesn't work for them".

"The start of a revolution in supermarkets was about to begin with consumers given up-to-date information on 1000 products, rising to 5000 within weeks," Stace said.

"To pull the site five days before launch shows that we were on the money and the supermarkets are worried about losing out to consumer demands."

Stace rubbished suggestions by the minister that the industry could start its own price-comparison site.

"The minister's suggestion of an industry-based website to provide grocery price data is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank," Stace said.

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