Grocery store rip-offs

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Unless you’ve cut back to one meal a day, chances are your grocery expenses have doubled in the last three years.  AND, in many cases, the packaging has shrunk to boot!

Walking through the isles of a grocery store can sometimes turn into a stroll down

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Ambush Alley according to LiveCheap.com. The shenanigans just keep getting worse for shoppers. Even the most astute consumers can be tricked by the creative tactics they encounter at grocery stores and the trickery of manufacturers. 

Here are a few common rip-offs that you can avoid by reading the labels.  If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.

Diluted Bleach:

Bleach is bleach, right? Wrong? You’d better read the label. We spotted a bottle the other day which was significantly more expensive than Clorox. I compared labels on the two products and discovered  the cheaper branch had reduced the typical 6% bleach to 2.75%.

Barely "Fruit" Juice

The term fruit in anything has become fairly meaningless. Take the term, "Fruit Juice Drink Blend". You would think that you are getting a blend of fruit juices. Examine CapriSun, it has a whopping 10% fruit juice. The blend is sugar and water mixed with a tiny bit of apple and grape juice concentrate. Ocean Spray has fruit drinks with cranberry and other juices but when you look at the label carefully, you’ll see that it contains a meager 27% actual fruit juice. It used to be that nobody wanted cranberries and that’s why they put them in the juice drinks. Now they don’t even give you 100% cranberries.

Sneaky Containers

Shrinking groceries (aka Shrink-Ray) are food items  that have gotten smaller over time with the manufacturer and the grocer hoping you wouldn’t notice. The foods that are the most egregious are those that attempt to make the package look like it hasn’t shrunk. Two come to mind: the Breyers "Half Gallon" whose width and height are exactly the same as before, but whose depth has shrunk dramatically. And the Arrowhead "Gallon" that suddenly got an air pocket dome that you could put a baseball in. Both packages were designed to give the visual illusion that you’re getting the same amount of product. That’s not just underhanded, that’s psych warfare against the consumer.

Fillers and Fake Foods

Ever look at a container of Kraft Parmesan Cheese? It boldly displays that it’s 100% Parmesan Cheese with no fillers. Some other brands will use lower quality cheeses and other ingredients to charge a lower price.  I wish someone would check for sawdust. I suspect that is one of the “fillers.”

That cheap crab meat that looks so good, it’s actually Alaskan Pollock or another fish. They clean, press and color it to make it look like crab meat, but of course, it’s not the real thing. Make sure you look at the ingredients in crab cakes too, they might not contain an ounce of crab.

Lastly, high fructose corn syrup has invaded every aisle of the grocery store and is often used to create cheaper alternatives to sugar. You’ll see misleading labels such as "With Real Maple Syrup", but the reality is the dominant ingredient is cheap corn syrup not high quality maple syrup. They put a touch of the real stuff so they can market it like the juice manufacturers do.

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