Packages and Prices

Food comes in many different packages. Which product is chosen by the consumer depends on a variety of factors:

One way to compare food prices is to use the unit price method where one or more foods are compared per unit of measure, such as ounces, pounds, quarts or liters.

Perhaps the most confusing price per package situation that consumers deal with is when purchasing eggs. It is almost impossible to determine a unit price for eggs; how can consumers determine what size egg is the best value?

Egg Prices
Before eggs are packaged, they are sorted by weight. To determine the best values for the various egg sizes, check the following chart. It shows how many cents per ounce you would pay at the common egg prices; you can compare the price of jumbo eggs to large or medium eggs with a quick glance.

Comparing egg prices
  59¢ 69¢ 79¢ 89¢ 99¢ $1.09 $1.19 $1.29 $1.39 $1.49
Small 3.3 3.8 4.4 4.9 5.5 6.1 6.6 7.2 7.7 8.3
Medium 2.8 3.3 3.8 4.2 4.7 5.2 5.7 6.1 6.6 7.1
Large 2.5 2.9 3.3 3.7 4.1 4.5 5.0 5.4 5.8 6.2
Ex-Large 2.2 2.6 2.9 3.3 3.7 4.0 4.4 4.8 5.1 5.5
Jumbo 2.0 2.3 2.6 3.0 3.3 3.6 4.0 4.3 4.6 5.0

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.


Bulk Buying
Bulk buying, or stocking up, is not just for large families. The idea is to buy enough to get you to the next sale or until it is convenient for you to stop at that store again. It’s a more efficient way of buying food. For example, it is often not convenient to stop at a bakery thrift shop every week; instead, buy two or more weeks’ worth of bread and freeze what you cannot use in one week. Wasted food is never a good deal.

When is a Sale, a Sale?

Using Coupons
Manufacturers provide coupons to entice customers to buy their products. Most people probably feel that coupons save money. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to use coupons. All coupon users believe they are using coupons the right way, stating they never use a coupon to buy something they wouldn’t buy anyway. If this were true, manufacturers would be losing money and would discontinue offering coupons.

The kind of coupons offered by manufacturers are generally for convenience foods and/or processed foods. While these foods may be inexpensive to purchase, consider the impact on:

How Much Do Coupons Really Save?
Most people feel that the total dollar amount of coupons deducted from a grocery store receipt demonstrates how much was saved using coupons. This is not exactly true! The most important number on the grocery store receipt is how much is spent on groceries -–not how much is saved using coupons.

When using coupons, it is very important to compare prices. Sometimes, even when coupons are doubled, a consumer could spend more money on an item than if a different strategy was used. Always compare the price of a product after the coupon is deducted with the price of other national, store, and/or generic brands; alternative products; made-from-scratch products; and not buying the product at all (as for items such as soda, candy, etc.).

Calculate the “true” savings of a coupon. For example, if there was a coupon for $1.00 off brand A peanut butter which costs $1.89, and brand B (equal quality and package size) costs $1.29, Brand A is the better choice. What is the savings? Most people would say the savings is $1.00, but actually the true savings is 40¢. While this viewpoint may be extreme, it is important for consumers to understand the “true” savings from coupon use because coupons take time to collect and they may cost money (such as when magazines and newspapers are purchased).

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