Making Food Price Comparisons
By Brent Fairbanks
I have been designing and modifying accounting and business automation software for, well letís just say for a long time. Actually what this means is that Iím qualified to do research, create formulas, do the math, come up with results Ė but Iím not qualified to tell you what the results actually mean. Thatís what your accountant is for.
What Iíd like to do for you is show you how confusing it can be to compare consumer products using a real, fair and honest evaluation.
When making price comparisons so many people look at the purchase price and think they know exactly what they are paying. Even the government has realized this problem and has taken steps to assist consumers in making more intelligent purchasing decisions.
Just look at the pricing labels on the grocery shelves. Youíve seen how they show the price of the product and then break it down to the cost per ounce or what ever the unit of measure is.
The real problem happens though when you are comparing things that are in dissimilar units. For example, if you were buying gasoline and one station was selling gas by the gallon and the one across the street was selling by the liter. Which would you buy? The liter looks much cheaper initially but is actually more per gallon when you do the conversion. Now this example is easy, just convert one unit to the other and you can quickly see how things compare.
Sometimes though itís easy to get caught up and miss an accurate and fair comparison. This just happened to me recently when I went on a road trip. Let me show you. We stopped in Nevada to refuel the car and at the service station they sell a type of fuel called E-85, a gas and alcohol blend. They were both sold by the gallon so an exact comparison would be real easy right? I also noticed that the octane was much higher on the E-85 and so it looked like a better product and it was less expensive per gallon. Wow, I really wanted to try the new fuel but we were driving our Honda Odyssey and I didnít know if it would work properly on the new fuel. Since this is my wifeís car I decided not to experiment. When I got home I did a little research and the car was NOT designed to work with the new fuel. Whew, boy did I make the right choice on this one. More importantly though I discovered that your car doesnít get the same mileage on E-85 that it gets on gasoline. It gets less mileage for the same amount of fuel!
So, when you look at your total cost for driving the E-85 product is actually MORE expensive than gas, even though the units that you buy are less. You buy fuel to go somewhere and thatís how you need to compare the price Ė the cost to get somewhere.
So, how does this relate to you? When making food choices you need to be comparing the nutritional value of the meal or product by the serving, not the quantity and the price. The higher the nutritional value per serving is the better product.
Be careful when making product comparisons, price is not the factor - you want quality and nutritional density per calorie!
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