App helps consumers understand unit price to save on food

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Spend Smart. Eat Smart. App

AMES, Iowa — Which bag of carrots is the better buy: baby carrots or full size, a one-pound bag or two? To answer this question, you need to know the unit price, says Jody Gatewood, assistant state nutrition program specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

“Unit pricing is the cost per ounce or other unit of measure: the total cost of the item divided by the item’s total size. When you know the unit price, you can compare similar products to find the best value and save money,” Gatewood said.

“However, doing math in the grocery aisle may not appeal to everyone, and that’s why we have an app for that,” said Gatewood, who is a contributor to ISU Extension and Outreach’s “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” blog and website.

The “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” app includes a unit pricing calculator. The free app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

“First, you can watch our new unit pricing video, which also explains how the app works. Then click on our links to download the app,” Gatewood said.

“Unit pricing is important, but remember that it compares only the price, not the quality. When determining the best food buy for your family, you also need to think about what items your family likes and what you can eat before it spoils,” Gatewood added.

“Sometimes it makes more sense to buy the smaller container even when it costs more per ounce, because you don’t need the larger amount,” she said.

Learn more about smart food shopping, meal planning and preparing healthy recipes at the “Spend Smart. Eat Smart.” website.

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