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Shrinking Products Mean Inaccurate Unit Prices

With the recent spate of incredible shrinking product sizes, it’s important to double check your grocery store rack labels and their math. I know a lot of people use those white and yellow labels to help decide whether they’re getting a good deal, I use them all the time, but with producers shrinking products, there can often be a mismatch between the label and the product.

For example, Breyer’s recently lowered the size of their ice cream from 1.75 quarts to 1.50 quarts and didn’t change their UPC bar codes. This meant that a 1.75 quart Cookies & Cream had the same bar code as the 1.50 quarter Cookies & Cream. When you combine that with a supermarket staff not advised to change the labeling, you get bad math. Here’s an example:

I apologize for the poor image, I took it with my cell phone, but you can make out that the package size is 1.50 quarts (the new, smaller size). The label shows that the retail price is $4.99 and the unit price is $2.85 per quart.

The unit price is actually $3.33 per quart ($4.99 / 1.5) and the $2.85 per quart unit price applies to the older larger version ($4.99 / 1.75).

Grocery stores aren’t trying to trick you into thinking you’re getting a better deal than you are, they simply aren’t paying close attention – but you have to. Stay sharp!