Stealth Inflation….Hidden Price Increases

Sometimes inflation and food costs will sneak up on us. This is what is happening with reduced amounts in packaged products….

Product Old Size New Size % Difference
Hebrew National franks 12 oz. 11 oz. -8.3%
Classico pesto 10 oz  8.1 oz  -19%
Chicken of the Sea salmon 3 oz. 2.6 oz. -13.3%
Lanacane first aid spray 113 grams 99 grams -12.4%
Scott toilet tissue 115.2 sq. ft. 104.8 sq. ft.  -9%
Häagen-Dazs ice cream 16 oz. 14 oz  -12.5%
Kirkland Signature (Costco) paper towels 96.2 sq. ft. 85 sq. ft. -11.6%
Kraft American cheese 24 slices 22 slices -8.3%
Tropicana orange juice 64 oz. 59 oz. -7.8%
Ivory dish detergent 30 oz. 24 oz. -20%

Bonney and I have tried a number of things to reduce food cost, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t……

We Buy some things in bulk. First we check the unit price. How much per ounce, roll, sheet, etc. We have discovered that sometimes the bigger package does not save us money. And with only two of us we find that if we buy too much of fresh food products the food will spoil.

We Shop at warehouse clubs. Though it might require a bit of money up front (up to $50 a year), warehouse clubs offer per-unit prices that are lower than at most supermarkets. Have memberships at Sams and Costco and we buy mostly dry goods, cleaning, and paper products. Sometimes we buy chicken and pork in bulk and repackage using zip-lock bags and freeze them. We have discovered that beef does not freeze well. Single? Maybe live-alone neighbors can split the cost of a membership and split large items that might spoil before they have time to eat them. If you just can’t afford a membership, ask friends and neighbors if you can tag along when they go. Most clubs allow members to bring a friend.

We Read labels–and not just for the calories. Those labels on store shelves tell you more than the retail price; they also allow you to compare prices. Look for the unit price, which is often smaller and in the corner. It will tell you how much the item costs per ounce, pound, etc. Usually, the price is lower per unit for larger boxes.

We Buy mostly off brands. We splurge on name brands for a few favorite products, and buy store brands for the rest.

We Shop elsewhere. Farmers markets, and stores such as Aldi, and Dollar General  selling a private line at cheap prices. We find that Aldi canned foods contain almost all product while private label goods at Kroger contain a lot of liquid instead of product. I have heard people brag on value of Dollar General private label canned vegetables and fruits.

And we use in-store and manufacturers’ coupons, credit cards that offer cash back or perks, and in-store discounts for loyal customers.

We try to stay with fresh foods, usually the less processing a product has, the lower the cost, regardless of the package size. Bonney and I love a heaping spoonful of chuncky peanut butter with a sugar-free chocolate syrup coating rather than a candy bar. Both calories and carbs are lower along with a lower cost!


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