11 September 2013

Tricks Supermarkets Use to Steal Your Money

Every household in the country knows that the cost of real food, regardless of what we are told, just isn't going down. Ignore the snazzy jingles the ad agencies have come up with - the cost of feeding your family isn't going down, down, down and the food you buy at the supermarket isn't always fresh.

Here are the top five tricks supermarkets use to get you to part with your cash:

1. Pre-portioned food. Those little packs of sultanas have been around since I was a child. They are still expensive. The little tubs of yoghurt, just the right portion for baby, are expensive. Individual packs of crackers and cheese - yes, they are expensive. Compare the price they are charging for each portion with the number of portions and the price if you buy a block of cheese and some crackers and toss them in a Tupperware container yourself. Just be sitting down when you do it, the shock may well cause you to feel faint.

2. Causes. It seems that groceries have become the choice fundraising tool for many charities. This is relationship exploitation at it's commercial best. I have nothing against charities and encourage everyone to be generous (part of the 10-10-80 rule is giving) but I wonder why I need to pay more for my groceries because they carry a logo that implies that a portion of what we spend on the item will go to that charity? Personally I avoid these items like the plague. I would much rather buy the groceries I need for less and send a donation to the charity of my choice from my slush fund.

3. It's healthy. Really? Is it? It seems that everything we eat has a "healthy" counterpart. Yoghurt - good for digestive health, low fat. Added vitamins and minerals into breakfast cereals and bread. Omega 3 fatty acids added to baby food. We pay a premium for these supposedly healthier food options. Before you pick it up, read the label, compare it with other brands and then, if the price is right and it is going to be better for you, buy it. But don't think because it is marked as healthy, organic or in the health food aisle that it really is.

4. Animals are our friends. Before you put that dozen free range eggs into your trolley and pay the extra $2.25, make sure you really understand what free range, cage free and organic mean. The same applies to meat and poultry. Before you pay a premium, thinking you are getting food from animals that have been treated humanely, check. Before you pay three times the price for your food, be sure it really does meat your expectations and standards.

5. It's all included. Everything included is all the rage. Breakfast kits, lunch kits, even dinners come as an all-in-one package: meal, crockery and cutlery. Single serve portions are expensive. Take the breakfast kits. They may include a tiny little plastic folding spoon but they lack the milk! Seriously how long does it take to pour a bowl of cereal? And as for taking it with you - go to bed 10 minutes earlier so you can get up 10 minutes earlier and eat your breakfast. You'll be saving money and not putting a huge amount of money back into landfill.
Marketing companies are constantly looking for new ways to promote the same stuff. They need new gimmicks to get us to sit up and pay attention and want to buy whatever it is they are selling. That's their job.

As a rule the products that get the most advertising are going to cost the company more to sell, so they are going to charge more - and they need you to buy those products so they can maintain their profits.

It's our job as consumers to beat them at their own game. Be aware of the tricks and shop wisely.

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  1. Better still - eat healthy!
    Eat nothing out of a box.
    Go back to 'Hunter Gatherer' diet.
    Eat only fresh - get better proteins vitamins n essential nutrition this way.
    Too many undernourished overweight people that the medical profession ignores.
    I used to be one!

  2. That is a good article. Not impressed by meat being packed by the container rather than by the kilo! Do they think we are fools, Veges from my garden last in the fridge for weeks. veges from the super market last at best a few days. Find a place to buy bulk. I buy chicken salt for the kids 1.5kg for $12. That would cost me $60 in a supermarket...... At worst try Aldi before Woolies ad Coles....

  3. I completely agree with one small point, the free range comment. I agree that it is important to know what each company means by "free range", but under no circumstances will I ever buy, or eat for that matter, a non- free range egg. I'm a vegetarian so meat's not an issue. And yes I call restaurants before I go to make sure. I know someone who used to work in one of those egg factories (and unfortunately, one day they told me about it) and I still want to cry.

    So yes, I completely agree to think about what you are buying before you do, both for price and the harm that product may be causing. I hate having to go to the grocery store and my fiancée and I are working on phasing it mostly out of our life. (There is an excellent service near us which provides local produce at MUCH cheaper prices, and well it tastes better.)

    Thank you for your interesting articles, I do always enjoy reading them.

    1. I don't think that she was saying don't buy free range, but to make sure that the eggs which are marked 'free range' really ARE free range. Some are called free range because they have a paddock in which they are allowed out in for a short amount of time each day, so it's about being aware of how things are marketed.

  4. Re:'Added vitamins and minerals into breakfast cereals and bread'. These additions wouldn't come near to replacing all the nutrients removed during wheat and other ingredient processing. It's a cover-up!


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