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Grocery trade secrets

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 12:20 p.m. CST

When it comes to grocery stores, it is no secret that time is money. Keeping mindful of what you purchased is just one component when it comes to saving money, and there are plenty more.

These are the top seven trade secrets of grocery stores:

1. No one is a fan of long lines, and many customers do not realize that grocery stores are less packed in the evening. While a majority of customers shop during the day, one may find an evening trip a lot more relaxing. The aisles and checkout lanes are less crowed meaning more time to yourself.

2. It is OK to reach for the last milk carton. Grocery stores keep the freshest products in the back of the cooler, so next time you are shopping for milk, go for the back. Some grocery stores have the same expiration date on all milk products in the section, but sometimes you get lucky.

3. It is easy to try to be adventurous in the fruit aisle. There are so many exotic fruits, but did you know that there is a reason why exotic fruits are so expensive? The reason is not only location, but shelf-life. Exotic fruits spoil faster than regular fruit. It is nice to be adventurous once in a while, but to make the most out of your dollar, stick to what you know.

4. Ever wonder why aisles are so long? The reason for this is because studies have shown that the more products that are displayed, the more one will buy. Studies have also shown that displaying products at eye level improves the chance of the consumer purchasing the product, this also applies to children, by placing sugary cereals at their eye level.

5. When a grocery store has a sale, the store makes sure the customer knows it by advertising it in the local newspaper, radio or TV ads, but be wary of a deal. Sometimes a deal can be too hard to pass up, especially if there is a product limit. This is a tactical move by promoters. There could be a number of reasons why the product is on sale, including expiration dates. Keep in mind studies have shown that customers are more likely to throw away at least 10 percent of their groceries due to spoilage.

6. Baby products are in high demand and with high demand comes high price and theft. It is sad to see mothers stealing baby formula so their child can eat, but at the same time, it is against the law. Many grocery stores have gone as far as locking the formula in a case, and only taking it out upon customer request. To get the best deal, keep an eye out for manufacture’s coupons. Some stores have store brands, but more often than not, the name brands are the best.

7. Mexican food is the most eaten food in the United States, and shredded cheese is a must for tacos, but there is a simple way to save money — shred it yourself. Products that are cut or shredded cost more money. The reason is someone has to either do it by hand or be present at the factory where it is manufactured. Block cheese is the way to go. Shredding cheese is not hard at all, it is just a matter of taking the time to do it.