Grocery Shopping Tips

The parents at Lacoochee Elementary were the first in Pasco County to receive a Grocery Store Tour, held at a local Winn Dixie. This hour and a half long tour takes participants around the store to explain all the tips and tricks in how to shop for healthy food on a budget. One of the major points stressed is to not just look at the overall price of the food item, but to also look at the unit price and to compare that number to similar food items. For a lot of the moms, this was the first they heard of unit pricing, which is the price of the food divided by the ounces. By comparing unit prices, you can see where you get the most “bang for your buck” and see what has the most value by breaking it down by the ounce. The example that we used throughout the store was the price of string beans. As mentioned in a previous post, fresh, canned, and frozen are all forms of fruits and vegetables that count towards our daily produce intake, and so we looked at the prices and unit prices for each. We started with the fresh: fresh string beans, sold loose and unwashed, were $1.99 per pound. To calculate the unit price, you divide the price by the ounces, which will be 16 (16 ounces in a pound) and get 12.4 cents per ounce. There were also fresh string beans already washed and packaged in a 12 ounce bag for $3.00, and the unit price was .25₵ (3 divided by 12). There is certainly more savings in just washing the string beans at home! The frozen string beans for a name brand was $2.49 and the unit price for the 10 ounce package was 24.9₵ per ounce, and the store brand was $1.70 for the 16 oz bag, making the unit price was 10.6₵ per ounce. Lastly, the canned items: the store brand was $.79 for the store brand in a 15 ounce can, making the unit price 5.2₵ per ounce, and a national brand was $1.00 for a 15 ounce can, with a unit price of 6.7₵ per ounce. When it comes to value, the store brand in a can has the lowest unit price. At the end of the tour, the parents got a free $10 gift card to apply the new tips they learned to buy an item from all five food groups for $10 or less! Do you look at unit prices when shopping? Most stores already do the math for you and list it under the regular price of the item. Do you know a group of people with limited resources who would benefit from a program like this to learn healthy shopping tips? Please email Shari Bresin at SBresin@ufl.edu to learn how the Family Nutrition Program can do a grocery store tour for your clients!

S. Bresin

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