As grocery prices are rising in Canada, now is an excellent time to read food labels carefully.
The 12th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report released Thursday predicts the average Canadian family of four will pay an extra $966 for food in 2022, for a total annual grocery bill of $14,767.
That’s a seven percent increase compared with 2021 – the most significant jump ever predicted by the annual food price report. Source
Last year I asked my readers how vital product quality was, and I was not shocked to hear it’s not.
The most important aspect of their grocery budget was the price to make healthy meals for the family. Saving money on products helps to stretch their grocery budget.
When a family is working with a tight budget to save money, they have to price is critical.
For example, we work with a budget but have wiggle room, and sometimes we go over and need to stop that.
This year we are dedicated to reading product labels applicable to products we buy. I explain more below, so keep reading.
I’ve been doing grocery research for almost ten years now and have learned many tricks of the trade.
Focus More On Grocery Shopping Than Just Price
Today, I specifically want to focus on three aspects of reading food labels and their importance.
You might be shocked that you probably always hadn’t gotten the best price at the grocery store.
This post is strictly about checking product labels for size, servings and price differences compared to a smaller or larger version.
If you don’t mind no-name products, you might find those products even cheaper.
For example, when I make my Classic Thick Date Squares, the recipe calls for large oatmeal flakes.
I don’t opt for the brand name when grocery shopping for oats if the no-name is cheaper.
As you can see from the photos below, I purchased Selection Large Flake Oats, cheaper than the name brand.
The Selection version offered more oats per bag which worked out great.
- Flyer specials are not always the best deals
- Reading Food Labels will save you grocery money
- Product weight
- Homemade Is Best
Meal Planning Around Flyer Specials
While grocery shopping a few weeks ago, Oreo cookies were on sale for two for four dollars.
Each package had 227g worth of product, and the price compared to the regular price of $2.99-$3.99 seemed reasonable.
While he was secretly filming in the grocery store, he brought to our attention that we must read labels.
Not only for nutritional reasons but for savings purposes which I thought was a great idea.
Many of you might already do this, but I also know that people plan around the flyer specials.
Consider that the flyer specials don’t necessarily mean it’s the best price. They are strictly for marketing purposes to get you through the door.
Comparing Oreo Cookie Prices
Let’s pretend the Oreo Cookies are on sale 2/$4. When you read the product label, it states a weight of 261 grams.
So for $2, you get 261 grams of Oreo cookies that are on sale.
Typically, you will find sale items on the middle shelf, eye-level for consumers.
This is the reach-and-grab tactic because not everyone takes the time to read food labels.
I located the family-size Oreo cookies out of sight at the bottom of the grocery shelf.
The regular price for the family size package of Oreos was $3.37 for 500 grams.
Oreo 261g $2.00 on sale
Family-Size 500g not on sale $3.37
Let’s look at the size and costs now.
Two packages of the sale Oreo cookies would cost $4.00
A package of the 500g Oreo cookies family-size costs $3.37
Sale Price for 261g x2 = 522g
One package of Regular Price Oreo Cookies for 500g = $3.37
Grocery Savings After You Read The Food Label
Here is the final breakdown of prices.
- Two packs of Sale Price Oreo Cookies 522g for $4.00
- Regular Price Oreo Cookies Family-Size $500g for $3.37
That’s a savings of $0.63 if you ditch the sale Oreos for the family pack.
Have I got you thinking now of a way to make sure you’re saving money on your groceries?
Since our son is Autistic, he won’t eat what we bake or cook unless it’s on his list of foods he loves.
Most kids that are Autistic like crunchy foods, so his lunch includes crunchy foods he will eat.
Keep in mind that the Oreo cookie on sale will have a higher non-sale price making the family-size an even better.
Why You Need To Read Food Labels
There are many reasons to read food labels, especially on a doctor’s nutritional diet.
I’m not a nutritionist, so I’ll leave that to the professionals.
For that purpose having to read food labels may include watching out for sugar, fats, carbohydrates, diabetes, cholesterol or weight loss.
I’m sure there are other reasons someone might read labels; however, I want to focus on grocery savings today.
To read a product label purely for weight, ingredients, and servings will make a difference.
Another reason you might want to read food labels is for nutritional content that it’s not always easy.
The first ingredient on the list is typically the highest amount of the product.
For example, if sugar is the first ingredient when you read the label, it’s telling you that’s the most significant amount going into the product.
Reading Macros On A Keto Diet
I’ve explained how to count macros in my Ultimate Costco Keto Product List if you are on a keto diet.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Grocery Budget
As a frugal living finance blogger, I’ve composed over 300 grocery savings posts on this blog.
Coupons are still hot and heavy at some grocery stores, and clipping internet coupons from Save.ca.
Don’t leave savings on the table because all those small amounts add to paying a mortgage early.
Create A Product Diary Price Book
If you want to know what prices you are willing to pay, create a product diary.
For example, one large can of Unico crushed tomatoes not on sale $1.59 on sale $1.00.
No-named large can of crushed tomatoes not on sale $1.29 and on sale $1.00.
The weight for each of the two brands is the same, and for all, we know it’s the same product in the no-name can.
In the flyer for the week, you see that the Unico is on sale for $1.00, and you’re ready to stockpile.
However, when you get to the grocery store right under the Unico crushed tomatoes, you realize that the no-name brand is $0.85 a can.
What would you do if you were on a tight grocery budget?
I’d go for the no-name if it were me because I can use the extra money towards other products on my grocery list.
If your diet requires specific ingredients, do what’s best for your dietary needs.
Homemade Food Products And Gardening
As prices increase, another way to save money is to grow a garden in the spring, summer and fall.
There are many ways to preserve fruits and vegetables that you can use during the cold winter months.
In terms of cooking homemade meals rather than buying pre-made ones at the grocery store is because it’s far cheaper to do so.
If you scroll through my free recipe depot index you’ll find hundreds of homemade recipes.
I don’t think I’ve ever bought a pre-made meal at the grocery store apart from a rotisserie chicken from Costco. Even then it was a day old and reduced to $5.99.
If you don’t think you’re good at cooking practice with small easy recipes and go from there.
We’ve all made recipe mistakes before but that’s how we learn to rely on ourselves when the going gets tough.
I suppose that means I better learn how to make Italian sausages because they went up from $6.99 to $10.99.
Most Important Tip About Reading Food Labels
The most important tip about reading food labels to get the best price is to take your time.
If your grocery store allows price matching, plan your matching at home, so you are not fumbling at the store.
Avoid rushing your grocery stop and throwing sales items into your grocery cart without taking a moment to read the product labels and compare.
When grocery stores started grocery delivery and online shopping for pickup, there are two benefits but what matters to you is what’s important.
- You save money because you don’t roam around the grocery store
- Saving money is easier if you roam around the store because you have buying power
Good luck on your grocery savings journey, and remember to read food labels to make an educated decision on whether it’s a deal or not.
P.S- Don’t forget to bring a calculator or use your phone for ease of match calculations.
Discussion: Do you read food labels, and what are you looking for?
Please leave me your comments below and any other information you think might be missed in my article so we can include it.