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Use unit pricing to get the best from your shopping

11:39 am, Monday, 5th February 2024 - 4 months ago


North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards is urging shoppers looking to save money during the cost of living crisis to be more aware of unit pricing at the supermarket.

Whether you are the kind of shopper who buys the same things each week or looks for whatever is on offer, pressure on household budgets means everyone is looking for ways to pay less.

New consumer research shows that unit pricing can be a good way to check you are getting value for money and, over time, these small savings can add up.

Unit pricing is when the price of an item is provided using a standard measure. This might be by weight (for example kilos or grams);  volume (ie litres or millilitres); or quantity (per item).  

You can find unit prices on the shelf labels in store and online. They’re usually displayed next to or below the selling price of the item. The unit price may be in smaller print, and so you may need to look harder if there is a loyalty or promotional offer happening. 

Research published this week by the Competition and Markets Authority has identified that unit prices of some products compared to others can be surprising. 

They urge shoppers to be aware that:

  • bigger pack sizes don’t always offer the best value for money; 
  • items on a promotional offer aren’t necessarily the best value for money; 
  • items sold as part of a multi-pack aren’t always going to be cheaper than buying as individual items; 
  • pre-packaged bags of fruit and vegetables aren’t always cheaper than loose. 

The research also found that how much shoppers use unit pricing varies between shopping trips. It depends on factors such as how much time they have that day, who they are shopping with, how tired they feel, as well as the prominence and consistency of unit price information.

Cllr Ron Shepherd, Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities in North East Lincolnshire, said:

“At this time of year we are all looking to save extra money, but add to that the cost of living crisis that we have all endured for many months now and the cost of the weekly shop becomes one of the biggest burdens for families.

“We all get confused by what is a good deal and what isn’t because there is so much conflicting advice out there, but this research shows that it is always worth checking the unit price of items when shopping, whether you’re doing it online or in a store.

“Some shoppers have favourite items that they always buy, and you might be one of these people. But do check the unit price, because they can change over time, or may be different depending on where you are shopping.  They may not be the same as the last time, or even the first time you bought the item, so always check.”

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