About a week ago, I was shopping at Wegman’s grocery store, a high-end grocery chain primarily located on the east coast. All I needed to buy was cashews and raisins, and figured that the cheapest prices would be at the bulk bins. However, I quickly learned that this wasn’t so when I took a look at the unit pricing.
Unit pricing is a way to compare two similar products so you can tell which one is the best bargain. For example, the organic cashews shown in the picture below (on the left) were $12.99/lb in bulk, and the unit price (circled in blue) was $12.99 per pound. On the right, the prepackaged cashews were $6.99 for one 10oz container and the unit price (circled in blue) was $11.18 per pound. Which means that the prepackaged cashews were cheaper even they are literally the same store-brand, raw, organic cashews.
Now, here is where the twist happens. After getting a package of cashews, I turned around and took a look at the organic raisins. As shown below on the left, the bulk raisins were $3.99/lb and the unit price was $3.99 per pound (circled in blue). In contrast, the prepackaged raisins (on right) were $3.69 per 9oz package and the unit price was a whopping $6.69 per pound (circled in blue). Which means that it was way cheaper to buy the raisins in bulk. This is a completely different story than the cashews, which were cheaper prepackaged. Goes to show you that unit pricing is a great strategy for saving money.
Note that not all stores have unit pricing on product labels, but most major grocery stores do. If your store does not have them, you can download smartphone apps to calculate your own unit pricing: Unit Price Compare for Android and CompareMe Shopping Utility for iOS.