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In the world of grocery ads, stores can use different lingo to make comparing sales confusing. One not so obvious, but important, distinction is the difference between a price for each item vs. price per pound.
If you glace at an ad or sale quickly, you may not even notice when something says each instead of lb. It is a clever way for stores to make you think you are getting a better deal than you really are. The main place we see this is on meat and produce sales.
Each – Price of one item
Per Lb – Price of each lb
Stores will sometimes price meat per item. This is usually much higher than the price you would pay per lb for that same cut of meat. It will look like a great deal, until you do the math.
In the Bi-Lo Ad, they recently had Boneless Ribeye Steaks on sale for $4.99 each. Now, $4.99 lb would have been a great price. The sale was on an 8 oz piece of meat though, which would be $9.98/lb. Boneless Ribeye Steak goes on sale for $6.97-$7.99 lb, so if you were to buy the steak for $4.99 each, you are actually paying $1.99-$3.01 more per lb!
With produce, this looks a little different, but the idea is the same. Stores will have produce priced per item, but they’ll also have a different price for a group of that item. The group is usually wrapped in plastic on a Styrofoam tray and is more expensive.
In Earth Fare, organic corn was on sale. The single organic corn was $1 per ear, but beside it sat a 3 pk. of organic corn for $3.50. That is 16¢ more per ear. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather bag my own corn and save 50¢.
As a rule of thumb, when shopping for meat, buy by the pound. When shopping for produce, buy the individual items. Always be sure to do the math to make sure you are actually getting a good deal on meat sold by piece and produce sold in groups.