"An Interesting Trip To The Grocery Store"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grocery shopping takes a lot more time than it used to. A few years ago a shopper went in the store and looked for the row that held the product they wished to buy. A choice was made regarding brand and flavor but that was it, into the basket it went and you moved to the next item on your list.

Not so today. Once you find your favorite brand, you must make a size selection and compare the cost per ounce or weight. After the size comes the reading of the contents, with a large magnifier if you happen to have one on you. The fancy labeled soup cans, with Star Wars characters to attract the kids, have pull tabs. They contain less soup than the regular cans and are often priced higher.

More confusion awaits you in the cereal aisle. A great example is Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, which I really like. They have many size choices; one may be taller but when looking closely it is thinner with less content. You just about have to pull them all off the shelf to compare.

As for content — the last time I wrote an article on food I suggested it was wise to check the content label to be certain no additives that could be harmful to persons with medical conditions are listed. My comments were challenged but I simply asked, “Why do many food manufacturers add statements prominently on their product labels stating: No MSG, No GMOs or Gluton free.” No response was given to my inquiry.

Concern about what contents are in our food is growing. Shrimp is an example. You will note on frozen packages, some come from Florida or Texas, but according to consumer advocates a whopping 94 percent is imported. Deceptive packaging may state; “Packaged in U.S. — caught in China.” Some shrimp lovers probably think, “Shrimp is shrimp so why be concerned.”

I for one sure can tell the difference.

The reason — seafood products from our country are processed under strict FDA requirements. Tales of how shrimp are handled in other countries are scary and inspections of foreign imports are spotty at best.

Here is another deception. Many products packaged in glass bottles such as applesauce have indentations in the sides to make them easier to handle. It makes the product look the same as those without the modified packaging but the content amount is less and it is often difficult to get the food out of those indents. It is almost impossible to get all of the promised “servings” out of the plastic containers of peanut butter with bottom indentations. As you struggle with it, your toast grows cold, so you just open a new jar.

Some liquids packed in glass containers are placed in colorful packaging that look much bigger than competitive products that have the same content. You need to check the amounts and cost per ounce, pound or whatever measurement is noted on the container.

Potato chip bags, greatly inflated in size, have come up with a plausible excuse; they are protecting the contents.

As I see it, shopping trips can be longer and tire you out with all the cost comparisons. No more dashing in and out unless it’s just for bread and milk — and have you glanced at the varieties of those items?

Don’t blame your grocer for any of the dilemmas faced when you shop, they don’t control the design or packaging of products. The butcher may be responsible for some packing, however, and to my surprise I came across beef from Australia. Do you suppose we are eating Kangaroos?

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