Sunday, March 07, 2010

Buyer Beware!

When shopping for those great, or not so great deals, at the grocery store the buyer most definitely has to be aware of sly little tricks on the parts of the grocers and manufacturers. The most common tricks, seen to date, is the same price for a slightly smaller size. You know the 596 ml bottle of pop, selling for the same price as the 600 ml used to. Or my favourite, NOT!, the 4 litre containers of vinegar or salad oil, only when you look at the size it is actually 3 litres now.

Well, Friday night I discovered a new and less obvious way of tricking the buyer. We needed some black olives and the store stocked two brands, Unico and Irresistibles. In the past we would have grabbed the Unico, a name brand here in Canada, even though it was $.10 more expensive than the other. Recently though, we have been trying to stretch our budget as much as possible and so have taken to buying the cheapest item as long as it is the same size. In this case we're good as they are both 375 ml.

Luckily, I have also taken to reading ingredient labels. I've found certain chemical additives really disagree with my body in various ways so I am careful to check the labels of any new brand we purchase. So I checked the label of the Irrisistibles Black Olives and see "Water, Olives, salt, ferrous gluconate". Ok, so far so good. Just to verify I check the Unico label and see "Ripe Olives, water, salt, ferrous gluconate."

Did you catch that? I almost didn't. In fact I read it three times before some part of my brain remembered that the order of the ingredients indicates what the product has more of in it. Mostly I see it in cereals, pet food, and other processed foods so I guess I can be forgiven for not immediately cluing in on the importance of order listed in the case of a can of olives.

You see the Irrisistibles can of olives has MORE WATER in in than olives. So even though you are paying less, a very small amount less but less, you are still paying for more water than olives. Just to verify I shook that cans and sure enough the Unico can had a lot more olives in it than the other brand.

So buyer beware. Read the labels and see what ingredient is listed on what order for both your options. It may very well be that the $.10 your are saving isn't really a savings at all.

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