Pinchin' Pennie$ in the Kitchen: 6 Tips to Save Money With Unit Pricing (FN1752, Reviewed Aug. 2019)

Looking at unit pricing can help you save money, in grocery stores you can check the shelf tags, calculate the unit price, and compare different brands and sizes. When shopping it's important to have unit pricing in mind, it could lead you to buying in bulk or switching brands.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Katie Odland, Dietetic Intern (former)

Unit pricing is a term that describes pricing goods to determine what the cost is per unit of measure, such as pounds, ounces or quarts. Finding the unit price of an item allows consumers to find the “best buy” and determine any advantages to buying in bulk or switching brands.


Tips for Unit Pricing in Grocery Stores

1. Check the shelf tag.

– The shelf tag usually shows the total price and price per unit (price per ounce, pound, quart, etc.) of each product. This can be used as a quick reference while shopping.

2. Know how to calculate the unit price.

– Item price ÷ item size = unit price

– Example:

• Item price: $2.99

• Item size: 12 oz.

• Unit price: $2.99 ÷ 12 oz. = $0.249 per ounce

3. Compare different forms of the same product.

– Items can be found in many different forms, such as fresh, frozen, dried and canned. Save money by purchasing the least expensive form.

4. Compare different sizes and brands for price and quality.

– Larger-size packages of food are often a better deal, as long as they have the lowest unit price and all of the food is used before its quality decreases. Name brands usually are more expensive than store brands. Try a less expensive option and compare it to your usual brand.

5. Read and compare Nutrition Facts labels.

– Compare calories, fat, protein, sodium and other nutrients so you know what you are purchasing. Which is the better nutritional bargain?

6. Remember coupons.

– Using coupons can reduce the price even more. Sometimes coupons can decrease the price of name-brand products to the price of store-brand products. Be sure to do the math.

 Which is the best buy?

While purchasing ingredients for the following recipe, compare the prices of fresh versus frozen blueberries and different brands or sizes of yogurt. Also consider buying items such as flour and sugar in larger-size packages.



For more information about nutrition, food safety and health, visit this website:

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.