Unit-Pricing Pitfalls

By: Channel 6 News Email
By: Channel 6 News Email

With food prices rising, is your grocery bill enough to make you choke? Consumer Reports says one of the best ways to cut those bills is to check unit-pricing labels. That is if you can find them.

Who isn't looking to save at the supermarket? This little unit-pricing label ought to be your best friend. Good ones make it easy to compare prices.

The unit price on the left shows quinoa that costs $3.49 per pound. But the one on the right costs $11.69 per pound-three times as much!

And the sliced Swiss cheese costs $9.81 per pound. Compare that to the unsliced that costs $3.98 per pound-almost a six-dollar difference!

Unfortunately, unit pricing isn't universal.

Tobie Stanger of Consumer Reports says, "Most states don't require unit pricing. And in those states that do, the labels can vary radically. That can make it difficult to compare prices."

Consumer Reports sent shoppers across the country to assess unit-pricing labels. They found plenty of problems.

This one for Coke Zero is really tough to read. You have to look closely to see that the price is $0.90 per liter.

In other cases, quantities couldn't be easily compared. Take this Bumble Bee Tuna. One unit price is calculated per ounce, the other per pound.

Stanger says, "This mishmash of labeling is hurting consumers. There should be a law that requires a universal standardized unit-pricing label."

A label like this, that is easy to read and easy to use. It lists the unit price, the regular retail price, and the sale price.

Right now only nine states require mandatory unit pricing. Nebraska and Iowa are not included in those states.


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