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?
Posted by: Melissa
Posted in: Guest Bloggers, King Soopers
Tags: brown rice, King Soopers, rice
So, we have a great new program going on where we recognize Moms who have great NuVal stories to tell – or Moms who just love NuVal so much, they can’t wait to tell us. We just announced the winner for February. (Drum roll please.) It’s Cheryl Levy of Littleton, Colorado. She shops at King Soopers.
More than three years ago, Cheryl attended a health-themed conference with a friend. There, she witnessed a charismatic speaker talking about the importance of exercise and eating better. The speaker claimed he had a new solution that would make it easy for anyone to improve their diet: a food ranking system that would compare the nutrition quality of all the foods on the supermarket shelf. What’s more, the speaker continued, this system would be as reliable as having a nutrition expert shopping beside you and would be so easy to use, it could be learned, understood, and put to work in a matter of seconds.
At the time, Cheryl thought, I love the idea. Too bad I’ll probably never see it in my local supermarket.
The speaker was Dr. David Katz, and he was talking about his latest creation, the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System. But Cheryl wouldn’t experience the system for herself until years later, when a familiar blue hexagon shape—a NuVal Score—caught her eye while shopping at her local King Soopers supermarket.
“I thought, ‘They’re actually doing it!’” she said. “It was wonderful to see.”
Since then, Cheryl has tried new foods, changed what she ate, and found a new way to teach her 10-year-old son about the importance of nutrition, thanks to NuVal Scores.
Even before using NuVal Scores, Cheryl was a very conscientious shopper, and spent a lot of time reading nutrition labels, looking for products low in calories, sodium and sugar. While still a label-reader, she says “now I read them for things I never would have thought about buying before.”
Cheryl said NuVal Scores have guided her to more nutritious choices in everything from bread to deli meats to soups to eggs. “It can be confusing to know what’s the best thing to buy,” she said. “Sometimes, I felt like I was going ‘eeney, meeney, miney, moe’ when choosing.” Using NuVal Scores cut through a lot of the clutter and made shopping easier, she said.
One area where NuVal Scores helped dramatically was in shopping for food with her son, and in how it taught him how to shop for better nutrition.
“Before, he would just go for the boxes that looked like they were yummy, but now he looks at the score. We used to read labels together, but he’s a 10-year-old. He doesn’t know what the sodium level means,” she said. “With NuVal, I can point to the score and say, ‘see?’ I can now tell him to find the best NuVal score he can in (the product) he wants while I shop for other things.”
“Many times, I’ll tell him, if you want to buy a certain food, it has to have (a NuVal Score) of at least two digits,” she said. “One day, he found a candy bar that scored in the double digits (a Payday bar, which gets a NuVal Score of 23) and he was so excited. I got it for him; that was his reward for reading the scores and finding something better.”
As for Cheryl and her husband, they’ve also been rewarded by losing some weight and now feel they have a guide to help them find better foods in the supermarket.
Cheryl has been a dedicated shopper at King Soopers for more than six years, and said the addition of NuVal Scores “definitely” make her want to continue shopping there for the foreseeable future.
“The reason I switched to King Soopers in the first place was because I loved the way they made it easy to find natural and organic foods,” she said. “NuVal takes it a step further. For me, it makes it easier to shop there.”
Would You Like to Be a NuVal Mom of the Month?
We want to hear from you moms out there with great stories to tell. How has The NuVal System impacted your life? Do you feel more confident in your shopping? Are your kids eating better? Have you lost weight or changed your life as a result of NuVal?
If you’re willing to share your story with others, please email it along with a photo or two to firstname.lastname@example.org. For each story that we receive, we’ll mail you a NuVal Moms shirt(which are really cute, by the way), and welcome you to our Moms Club and enter you to win a $100 American Express gift card! And, we’ll select a NuVal Mom of the Month who will receive a big prize and be one of the celebrated faces of NuVal. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Posted by: Melissa
Posted in: King Soopers, Mom of the Month
Tags: King Soopers, NuVal Moms