Money To Live

August 27, 2008

Changes at the grocery store

Filed under: advertising,spending — by moneytolive @ 5:00 am
Tags: , ,

Blame it on whatever you like – inflation, oil prices, the weak dollar, or all of the above – a trip to the grocery store costs more today than a year ago.

Since manufacturers are hesitant to raise prices, they are trying some sneaky ways to keep prices the same while earning a profit. One way is to put less product in the package, which is referred to as shrinkage (NYT). Another way is to use cheaper ingredients, which Hershey is doing by substituting vegetable oil for cocoa butter (WSJ).

I am not too upset about buying less product in the old package (except for what is wasted in extra packaging). This could be good for the waistlines of American. I am more concerned about ingredient substitutions. There is more soy in some packaged foods, and while I am a big fan of soy, I am cautious due to possible health hazards (there may or may not be connections between soy and infertility).

One of my favorite grocery stores is Whole Foods, and it is losing customers to more affordable stores. Whole Foods wants to change its image and be viewed as an “economical place to shop” (NYT). I noticed this at my local WF; there are signs highlighting lower-priced items. What really caught my attention, though, is that there are 55¢ coupons in Amy’s frozen dinners. When gourmet frozen dinners come with coupons, something serious is happening in the economy.

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