Know your prices but recheck

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A while back I discussed the price breaks realized by purchasing bulk produce. The manufacturer passes along their savings by not packaging their products in carboard boxes or jars, which is a win-win for the customer and them.

Last week I went to the bulk food section to load up on a few kitchen staples and checked out the price of the white sugar. Lo and behold, they were charging 95 cents a pound. I did some quick math and knew that I could get a 5 lb bag of sugar for less than $5/lb off the shelf. It wasn't organic or guaranteed to be from cane sugar. It was just ordinary white sugar.

Thanks to the sugar subsidies in this country which have been in force my entire life and to which we can attribute soaring rates of obesity and diabetes, I knew that $5/lb for sugar was overpriced. (And thank you for indulging my rant.)

So it was a reminder that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to purchasing. Do not fall into a "all bulk food prices are a better value" mindset. Apparently at my grocery store of choice, oatmeal at the bulk bin is a superior value to the packaged brand, but sugar is not.

And I have definitely noticed that the prices of groceries have been steadily increasing over the past eighteen months. My go-to brands for dried pasta and soy milk at Trader Joe's have slowly upticked in price, more than once.

So know your prices, but recheck them, because we're in an unprecedented state of flux.

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