One of my favorite parts of my job as NuVal’s Mom-Blogger is that I get to meet a whole bunch of other bloggers! Kim lives out in Colorado, shops at King Soopers and she has a great blog called Living Domestically where she is learning to live a healthy life, one mile, one meal, and one day at at time. Kim was a lucky Trade-Up Tuesday winner here at A Better Bag of Groceries recently. She most graciously accepted my offer to write a guest post for all of you. So, without further ado, I give you Kim!
Last year, I moved out on my own for the first time since college (I lived at home post-college). One thing I had to learn was how to effectively budget my money. One thing I have always struggled with was sticking to my food budget, while still making healthy choices. Has anyone else noticed how coupons really only exist for processed, unhealthy foods? I will happily purchase the “damaged” produce if it means I can get it at a steal of a price.
I remember watching an ABC News piece last year, where they were investigating the effects of the economy on the food that we eat. They indicated that while the total product cost might not have changed, the package size was shrinking. Manufacturers were changing product packaging to decrease the amount of product, while fooling the consumers to think they were still buying the same amount of product. The theory is that consumers comparison shop based on the overall product price, with little regard to how much product they were actually purchasing.
This is when I began to notice the little boxes on the product price labels that indicate the unit price. This is how the overall product price is determined. If something costs 50 cents per ounce and you’re buying 8 ounces of it, then the products costs $4.00.
I usually shop at King Soopers and was thrilled to find out that the NuVal scoring system was being used throughout the store. It was going to make my shopping trips a little less hectic when brand comparison shopping for nutritional content and product price. For the longest time I was against store-brand products because I thought that they were less healthy for you (there had to be a reason it’s so much cheaper!). But with the NuVal scores available, I was quick to learn that sometimes the store-brand products are just as healthy, if not healthier, AND much cheaper. A win-win if you ask me.
The other day, I wanted to make a Broccoli-Cheese-Rice Casserole for dinner. I opted for brown rice since it is nutritionally better for you than white rice. Brown rice scores an 82, white rice scores a 57. As I was comparing three brands of brown rice, I was shocked to see how much the price varied between Uncle Ben’s, Riceland, and Kroger-Brand Brown Rice (keep in mind that the Kroger Brand rice is a 1 lb bag vs. the 2lb bags of Uncle Bens/Riceland).
According to the pricing labels, the NuVal score for each bag of rice was the same…a score of 82. Regardless of which bag I chose, I was going to get the same nutritional benefits. Next, I looked at the unit price.
Uncle Bens: 15.3 cents per ounce
Riceland: 9.34 cents per ounce
Kroger: 5.19 cents per ounce
I could buy 3 times the amount of Kroger Brand rice for the same price as the Uncle Ben’s rice. RIDICULOUS! So it was a no brainer that I walked away with the Kroger Brand rice. I saved myself at least $1.33 by choosing the store-brand version over the pricey name brand products.
So the next time you’re in the supermarket and you want to save yourself a couple bucks—take a look at the unit prices. You’ll be shocked to see how much the price varies between brands. And if the NuVal scoring system is included, you’ll be a better comparison shopper. Sometimes it might be worth the extra money to get a healthier product. But be careful—sometimes the unit pricing is NOT the same for all products. For example, sometimes you might see some drinks listed with unit prices in ounces and others in pints. Be ready to know how to convert the unit pricing into similar units for easy comparison shopping.
It’s Melissa again! Great advice, Kim. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s time to start teaching my kids about unit price.
Question of the Day
Do you look at unit price when you shop?