Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food Buyer Beware....THEY Know How We Shop!

Some weird things are going on lately with food prices, at least at Safeway! I am making out my weekly shopping list and I have come across some interesting discrepancies.

I always shop the sales and one thing I like about Safeway is that you can shop online and get groceries delivered without being tempted to buy every thing in the store. I can just shop from my list and only my list. Safeway.com even lets you sort similar items by price to get the best deal.

So here I am looking at different grocery options and I find my first new discrepancy. Powdered milk has long been a staple in the Frugal Kitchen so imagine my surprise at $17.69 for a box of store brand powdered milk (44 cents per pint) verses store brand 2% at $2.99 (37 cents per pint)! How is that possible? Powdered milk has never, in my memory, been more expensive than fresh milk! We use about 1 gallon of milk per day so that is $204 per year difference! I just noticed this today and since I have ordered the store brand powdered without thinking I wonder how much this has cost me in the last year? $204 extra on my grocery bill for buying what has always been the cheapest product until now?? When did this change actually happen?

My interest is peaked and I look at other "cheap" staples.

Rice and beans are the cheapest in the largest bags right? Wrong! Pearl barley, yellow split peas and small white beans are the cheapest in 1 pound bags. Pinto beans are the cheapest(84 cents per pound) in the 10 pound bag compared to 95 cents per pound in a 20 pound bag. Rice is cheaper in 20 pound bags(46 cents per pound) than 25 pound bags (55 cents per pound). The cheapest package of rice at Safeway is $1.25 for a 1 pound bag...nearly 3 times higher than the 20 pound bag. Even a 2 pound bag is dramatically cheaper at 1.99($1 per pound)

Frozen veggies are cheaper than canned or fresh right?
Wrong again! Frozen corn is $1.30 per pound while canned corn is $0.63 per pound. Fresh corn is 5/$1.00 or about 80 cents a pound. Canned peas are 63 cents per pound, frozen peas are $1.30 per pound. Canned spinach is $1.51 per pound, fresh is $1.79 and frozen is $2.50. Again, I have been fooled by the old Frugal Wisdom.

Tuna is cheap? Not any more! Canned salmon is, on average, 10 cents per pound cheaper than tuna.

Has Safeway finally found our weakness in our sheer aversion to comparing prices on our own? 99% of all Frugal Living sites will repeat the old "Powdered/Frozen/Big Bags" as the way to get the cheapest foods and now Safeway has found a way to cash in on it by raising the prices on the styles and package sizes that automatically attract the Frugal Shoppers!

Sadly, I noticed that in nearly all basic food groups the food marketed to African Americans, Hispanics and Asians were almost always higher in price than the same product in universal packaging.

Examples:
Safeway/Vons Canned Spinach - 14 Oz $1.32
Sylvia's Southern Style Spinach Greens - 14.5 Oz $2.45

O Organic Black Beans - 15 Oz 99 cents
S&W Mexican Style Black Beans (Hispanic Food Aisle)- 15 Oz $1.49

Fiesta Garbanzo Beans-(Hispanic Foods Aisle) 16 Oz $1.79
O Organic Garbanzo Beans - (canned veggie aisle) 16 Oz $1.09

Goya Dry Chick Peas (Eastern Foods aisle) 16 Oz $2.69
Fiesta Dry Garbanzo Beans (Hispanic Foods Aisle) 16 Oz $1.76
Safeway/Vons Garbanzo Beans -(Pasta aisle) 16 Oz $1.13

2 comments:

brandesigner said...

Refrigerated and frozen foods have gone up significantly as of late because of the increase energy cost to keep them cold. Also, this shelf space is very limited at most grocery stores so they want to have larger margin items on these more costly shelves. There probably is some price gauging going on, but not everything is a conspiracy.

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