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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Are you a savvy grocery shopper? Do you look over the grocery store ads in the newspaper
and online, compare prices and check unit pricing on a particular item? If you aren’t,
you may be throwing money away at the grocery store.
Grocery stores have thousands of foods and hundreds of new products monthly on their
shelves. How do we know which items are the best purchase for our money?Let me help you turn into a savvy shopper to help you through the shopping maze.
The first thing we need to understand is marketing strategies for grocery stores.
The layout of the grocery store is the result of years of research so you will spend
as much time and money possible while in their store. Here are some tactics to watch
Is a “special” really a special. Ads are sent weekly in our email inbox and sometimes,
newspaper showing us this week’s special. Many of these products are called “loss
leaders”. This means that the store is willing to lose money on this product to get
you into the store. The store managers are hoping that while you are there, you will
purchase higher priced items. Think about it … how many times have you ran into the
grocery for 5 items that were priced extremely low and came out with 30?
Next, learn the layout of the store. Staples such as bread, meat, milk, vegetables
and fruit are usually arranged on the outer walls of the store. The higher priced,
more processed foods are arranged in the aisles. It’s no accident that you must walk
through an entire store to get milk and bread. The the two most frequently purchased
Be wary of displays at the end of isles. Although you may think they are on sale,
many times they are not. These products attract your attention and increase sales.
Try to shop without children. High-priced sugary cereal is placed at eye level for
children, not you. Usually the best buy is on bagged cereal placed on the lowest shelf.
Check the unit price and see if I am correct.
Never shop on an empty stomach. Studies show we buy more when we are hungry. Stores
take advantage of this by providing free food samples and wonderful food smells from
Shop once a week or less. The more trips you make to the grocery store, the more you
Compare store brands vs. national brands. Most stores carry both national and store
brands. National brands are those nationally advertised in magazines and on TV. In
general, national brands cost the most because the expense for the national advertising
is part of the cost of the product. Although this isn’t always true.
Store brands are sold by individual chains and usually are not advertised nationally.
Therefore, they are usually less expensive to purchase. However, the nutritional value
of both national brands and store brands are generally the same. The next time you
go to the grocery store, compare the labels of your favorite national brand with a
store brand and see if there is any difference nutritionally.
We can be the savviest shopper out there, but if we fail to make good decisions about
nutrition, we really aren’t doing that well. If we find two products that are the
same price and the same quality, the information on the nutrition label should be
the deciding factor in which product we buy. You should always choose the product
with the higher nutritional value.
One point that must be made is to always shop with a list. When we make a list, we
don’t need to “remember” what to buy. If we don’t have a list, we may forget and need
to go back to the store to get forgotten items, which can lead to buying other items
Also, when we carry a list, we spend less time in the grocery store and are less tempted
to buy “impulse” items. Often, impulse items, such as candy and cookies, are located
near the checkout lines in stores.
When writing your shopping list, write down everything you will need to fix the meals
and snacks you have planned. Go back over your list and cross out any foods you already
have on hand and plan to use. Remember to list any staple foods (such as sugar, flour,
etc.). If you need a specific size package or can for a recipe, write the size next
to the item on list. Lastly, if an item is advertised at a special price, write that
price next to the item on your list.
On your next trip to the grocery store, remember to look for store marketing strategies.
The more aware you are of these strategies, the less likely you will be influenced
by them. Also, compare products by reading the nutritional labels to get the best
buy. And, lastly, always shop with a list to save time and money. By following these
guidelines, you can become a savvy shopper.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org,
on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.uada.edu/Miller.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.