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How to Outsmart The Grocery Stores’ Rising Prices


Whether you know it or not, “shrinkflation” is costing you. You’re paying more for less, as manufacturers boast record profits. Your paycheck is getting eaten away faster and faster every month, but you’re left with the same amount of stuff. How did this happen, and when is it going to stop? Phil Lempert, AKA the “SupermarketGuru,” has been analyzing consumer behavior, marketing trends, and the retail landscape for over two decades. Now, he’s sharing the tricks manufacturers use to get you to spend more while expecting less.

Shrinkflation has become such a severe problem that even the president of the United States has recently mentioned its damaging effects on the American household. Phil gives us the inside scoop on why prices are rising while sizes shrink, how retailers are actually fighting back to get customers the savings they deserve, and which products are seeing the most shrinkflation today.

Phil also shares his top tips to beat shrinkflation and save more money every month, how to show the companies that you WON’T put up with their price gouging games, easy ways to identify shrinkflation, and the supermarket chains that give you the best bang for your buck. If you’re tired of seeing your grocery bill inflate while your bank account shrinks, this is an episode you cannot miss!

Mindy:
Today on this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast, Kaylin Bennett and I are going to be explaining shrink lation when it happens and why you’re noticing more of it these days. And in the second half, we have supermarket guru Phil Lemert on to show us how you can outsmart these companies at the grocery store. Hello, hello, hello and welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. My name is Mindy Jensen, and joining me today from our producer team is Kaylin Bennett.

Kailyn:
Hi Mindy, thanks for having me on the show today. Thanks

Mindy:
For joining me and stepping into Truant Scott’s shoes.

Kailyn:
Oh, they’re big shoes to fill, big rugby shoes to fill, but I am here trying to do my best. Well, Mindy and I are here to make financial independence less scary, less just for somebody else to introduce you to every money story because we truly believe financial freedom is attainable for everyone, no matter when or where you’re starting. So to start the show, I wanted to explain what shrink lation is and how you may be seeing it as an American consumer. So what shrink lation is, is it’s literally what it sounds like Products are getting smaller in size, so that may be in the actual packaging. You may see a drink bottle that has more indentations or you may see a chip bag with more air in it or a literal smaller size. And so therefore there’s less of the actual product, but potentially more packaging or just smaller packaging. Mindy, have you been noticing that at all in your shopping adventures?

Mindy:
I have. I just recently made this really delicious soup and it called for chips as a side dish and I bought a bag of chips and I remember feeling them once I got home. I’m like, did I smash these in the car? There’s so much air in this bag. Yeah, it’s the same size bag, but it doesn’t feel like the same amount of product inside. And I thought, honestly, I was blaming myself. I thought maybe the milk rolled over on it or something and mashed them down because big chips take up more space than little crumbs.

Kailyn:
So Mindy, I’m just curious. We have reflation happening, which is things getting smaller, but we also have this secondary force happening, which is inflation. Can you just give us a little bit of background of when we started seeing inflation and how these two forces are working negatively together to hurt the American pocketbook?

Mindy:
Well, do you remember this little thing called covid? It’s been a minute since we had covid, or maybe it hasn’t been a minute. It’s still going on. I

Kailyn:
Try to block that part out of my memory, but technically I do remember it.

Mindy:
Supply chain was interrupted during this global shutdown of everything, and once it started going back again, we had this huge backlog of demand with no supply. And the law of supply and demand says when you have a lot of supply, you have lower prices. When you have lower demand, you have lower prices. When you have less supply, you have higher prices. And when you have more demand, you have higher prices. So we had this kind of perfect storm of greater demand and way less supply all at the same time at the same time that everybody wants to buy stuff and has money to buy stuff. So we caught ourselves in a pickle really in 20 20, 20 21. And the good news is that now we’re in 2024, inflation has started to level off. It isn’t completely gone yet. One way to combat that is to keep the product the same price while reducing the amount of product that’s in it, which is called shrink ifl.

Kailyn:
So even though we’re seeing inflation cool off just marginally, I think that this inflation year over year, like pre pandemic is still technically up. And when you have these forces at play, it doesn’t hit just American consumers, it hits manufacturing, it hits agriculture, and all that is being brought down to the consumer and consumer prices. So rather than raise the price of a product, manufacturers are deciding just to make less of it. You’re

Mindy:
Exactly right. And as a response to the increased costs that the companies are seeing, they basically have three options. Raise the price of the original size product, decrease the size or decrease the quality of the materials that they’re using, which is called skimp ifl. I honestly would prefer them to raise the price of the original, at least that’s more transparent.

Kailyn:
I think a lot of companies choose to shrink sizes because it isn’t as transparent and they can get away with it a lot easier and consumers don’t usually notice. I think it takes quite a bit of time if they’re marginally doing that practice. And we’re seeing this really hit throughout the economy and a lot of people are being very vocal about it. You can see it online in many places and to the point where President Biden actually mentioned it in his State of the Union address to the American people that this is actually a big issue within the US right now. It’s

Mindy:
Huge. And for the president to mention it in his state of the Union address that says that we’re really dealing with a problem.

Kailyn:
Absolutely. And I just want to provide a little bit of stats going into this interview with Phil. So from 2019 to 2023, shrinkage added about 3.6 percentage points to inflation for products like paper towels, toilet paper, and that’s up 1.2 percentage points from 2015 to 2019. So that’s a pretty massive increase that Americans are feeling these days.

Mindy:
We are taking a break. We’ve talked about why and how inflation is impacting you. And when we’re back, we’ll be talking to Phil Lumper, AKA, the supermarket guru about how you can beat it.

Kailyn:
Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Money podcast,

Mindy:
Phil Lumper, the supermarket guru. Welcome to the BiggerPockets Money podcast. I am so excited to talk to you today.

Phil:
It’s my pleasure, and I’ve got to tell you what you guys are doing with the podcast is saving people so much money making you so much smarter. It’s an honor to be here.

Mindy:
Oh, keep talking, keep talking.

Kailyn:
Oh, that’s so nice. Thank you. So Phil, on the BiggerPockets Money podcast, we’ve been covering groceries and how to save and how to budget for quite some time, but we’ve never really hit it on the head. This concept of shrink inflammation at a very high level. Can you just tell us what that is and how it’s impacting the American pocketbook and economy today?

Phil:
Here’s the top line. Basically what shrink iation is, is brands ripping us off. That’s all it comes down to. It’s as simple as taking chips out of a bag. It’s as simple as taking the same size container, whether it’s cereal, whether it’s drinks, and putting less in it. Now, there’s two problems with that. Number one is it’s not being disclosed to the consumer. And every time we go shopping in a supermarket with 40,000 products, we’re not really looking at the net weight. So if the package looks the same, we don’t realize we’re getting less. And second is consumers are being fooled. Some companies are keeping the prices the same, putting less in it, some prices are going up and still putting less in it. So the impact for all of us is that what we’re seeing is we’re seeing these brands taking advantage of us.
And frankly, as we saw on the FTC report that just came out, that what’s happened is not only have we had prices go up 20%, a little over 20% since the beginning of the pandemic, what we’ve also seen is price gouging both by retailers as well as manufacturers. There’s some manufacturers that since the pandemic have had, especially in the soda business, have had eight increases in prices. Sure, we know that the price of aluminum went up, the price of water, not so much the price of sugar, a little bit price of artificial color zippo. So as a result, the FTC and other bodies like the White House are really looking at this saying this isn’t fair. And the good news is that retailers are now pushing back. It started with the CEO of car four in Europe who said to PepsiCo, Hey, we’re not going to take price increases. And PepsiCo said, well, you got to. So what did car four do is they took all the PepsiCo products off their shelves. We’re seeing the same thing here in the US where retailers are taking the side of the consumer and saying, unless you can justify a price increase, we’re not going to take it.

Kailyn:
I think that that is super interesting. When I’ve been sleuthing online about shrink lation and just looking through social media, the thing that I’m seeing is there’s a lot of people actually blaming the retailer going like, oh my God, I can’t believe X retailer is so expensive these days. I only left the grocery store with this much food and there’s less in it. But to me what I’m gathering that you’re saying is that it’s actually the manufacturer who is at fault Here.

Phil:
Grocers work on about one and a half percent net profit, and it’s really, the manufacturers have done it, but when you and I go to the supermarket, we go to the cash register, we see that billboard that has the price we put in our credit card, we have a minor heart attack at the time, we blame the retailer. That’s the last point of who we have. But it’s really the manufacturer. And also, to be honest with you, there’s a lot of impact here. We’ve got climate change, 95% of all the products that are on the supermarket shelf somehow are seeped in our ground or livestock. So climate change, whether it’s colder weather, hotter weather, fires, droughts, floods, that all affects the price of food. We’re also down about 120,000 long haul truck drivers. So the cost of transportation has gone up. Also, what we’ve seen, we’ve sought a few years ago with the blockages in LA ports not being able to get containers in.
Now we’re going to see it in Baltimore, same kind of thing where the price of food is going to go up and there’s going to be a whole shortage of products. And then we also finally, during the pandemic realized that we have a labor force that’s making next to nothing, whether it’s $7 an hour for people who work in poultry factories, $11 an hour, people who work in grocery stores. So those prices have all gone up. So yes, we have had price increases, no question about it, and it’s not the retailer. What the retailer is doing is they’re fighting for us, but frankly we see opportunism on this side of consumer packaged goods companies, and I listen on those investment calls and I’m hearing the CEOs and the CFOs of a lot of these major brands basically telling Wall Street, Hey, we can take a price increase, so we’re going to, if you look at the profits, the record profits that we’re seeing from consumer packaged goods companies and the record bonuses that their CEOs are getting, Hey, give us some of that money.

Mindy:
That’s the part that bothers me. It’s not necessarily that the price is going up, although I’m not in love with paying more. I understand that things are getting more expensive, so if they have to go up, they have to go up. But when prices are going up at the same time that CEO reimbursement or compensation is blowing through all. Yeah, give us a little bit of that back. Hez just this came in a newsletter this morning to me, Heinz said that reducing the percentage of beans in a tin without bringing down the price isn’t shrink deflation. It’s to make it taste better and to improve the quality of our product. I’m sorry, I call garbage.

Phil:
Exactly. I agree with you. These people can spin it as much as they want to, but the reality is that the average American consumer wants good taste, good nutrition, and good value, and that’s what these CPG companies should be striving for, not to mislead us, not to try to trick us, whether it’s with net weight, whether it’s new and improved on products that are not new and improved, any of that stuff. It just diminishes the trust in our food supply, and that’s very sacred to us. And if we lose trust in our food supply, then from the supermarket down to the farmer, we have economic disaster.

Kailyn:
I can completely see that. And my question for you is what type of products are reflation hitting most? Is it packaged goods? Is it our packaged fruits and vegetables When they come that way, which products are we going to see the most reflation in

Phil:
The center aisle, those unemotional jars, cans, boxes, that’s where we’re seeing shrink more than ever. We’re not really seeing it in fresh foods, we’re not seeing it in produce, we’re not seeing it in meats and so on. It’s really taking place there. It hasn’t hit the frozen food case yet, it might to be honest with you, but most of the time it’s those boxes, jars and cans.

Kailyn:
And I think that that begs the question, what sort of people is this hitting? Most more affluent Americans can’t afford those higher end fruits and vegetables which times have or healthier food, which tend to have a higher price tag. So within this conversation, we’re talking about folks not making a ton of money. There’s a pretty big wage issue here in conjunction with a shrink deflation issue. So who is seeing this and in what parts of the country?

Phil:
Well, everybody’s feeling it. Everybody’s seeing it throughout the whole country. As far as the products that really are impacted most, it’s those products that we fall under the ultra processed foods, those products that are manufactured, if you would, multi ingredients where you pick up the product and there’s 20, 25 ingredients in it. Those products that have two or three or four ingredients in it, they’re not that affected by it. You pick up a jar of pasta sauce that has four ingredients, olive oil, tomatoes, a little salt, little pepper, a little garlic that’s not affected. You pick up a box of cereal. Major effect.

Mindy:
I’ve noticed that. I just bought cereal yesterday and I was like, how much is this? That’s expensive. It seems like it’s, and I mean, to your point, these are the foods that you can kind of get by without. I am noticing that carrots are sold in a one pound bag or a two pound bag, and I’m noticing that I don’t see a lot of one pound bags anymore, which is the one that I always bought. I see two pound bags now and they seem to be more expensive, but that’s more, that’s not shrink ifl, that’s just inflation because a two pound bag of carrots is going to weigh two pounds. You’re not going to take, it’ll weigh at least two pounds, but I’m noticing lack of smaller options now in some cases. Is that just a local thing for me or is that nationwide? I’m going

Phil:
To be very controversial here and you may not appreciate what I’m going to say. The average supermarket, as I said, has about 41,000 products in it. We don’t need 41,000 products. If I go in to buy olive oil, I’ll be standing in front of a hundred bottles of olive oil. Basically. They’re all the same. Yes, there’s organic, yes, there’s extra virgin, yes, there’s a general purpose olive oil, most of it is coming from Spain, Tunisia or Greece or some combination thereof from different parts. It’s all basically the same with that amount of choice that we as Americans have insisted upon. It carries a major cost for the retailer, for the manufacturer to have that many varieties of basically the same thing at the start of the pandemic, the CEO of Progressive Soup was one of the first companies that came out and said, you know what?
Because we’ve got a shortage of supply, because we’ve got a shortage of ingredients, what we’re going to do is we’re going to evaluate our entire line. We’re going to get rid of some. Basically they had about 80 varieties of soup. What he said is they’ve got about 30 to 40 varieties that are a combinations of chicken noodle soup. We don’t need that many chicken noodle soup combination stars, long noodles, short noodles, all that stuff. So he eliminated that and what happened, it did not affect their sales. Their sales stayed stable, but they became more efficient because they didn’t have to do all those. What you’re seeing with the carrots is you’re seeing a reduction of SKUs in the most popular sizes that are more efficient. It is more efficient to have a bag of two pounds of carrots than one bag. It just costs less to do that.
Not from a product standpoint, but from a packaging and a filling standpoint. And what my suggestion is is let’s get rid of half the products in the supermarket. The supermarket will be more profitable, the companies will be more profitable, and you and I are still going to have an enormous amount of choices. If you take a look at what McDonald’s did, this goes back about 15 years ago. They used to have menu boards that had every item on it. They were static menu boards, then they went to electronic screens. Now you go into a McDonald’s and you see what’s for breakfast. You see what’s for lunch, you see what’s for dinner, and it’s less confusing. And what that did is it sped up the line at McDonald’s. So somebody isn’t like a deer in the headlights walking up and saying, oh my God, what am I going to choose from these 50 items? What we need to do is get past this idea that more is better. I’d rather see less, better quality, better value. No foolery, no trickery here. And I think as a result, everybody from farmer to manufacturer to retailer to consumer wins.

Kailyn:
And I think that we actually see that in certain stores like Aldi’s or Trader Joe’s, there’s less product there, but the prices are considerably less. And I think a lot of people on TikTok and Instagram are talking about how they’re flocking to these specific stores because they don’t have the paradigm of choice and it’s good for their pocketbooks. Phil, now that we have identified what reflation is, how the retailer and the manufacturer fit into that equation, I think the million dollar question our listeners are wondering is how do we identify shrink lation? Is there any signaling in packaging? What can we do to point out the elephant in the room while we’re shopping?

Phil:
Well, there’s a couple things you can do and it’s hard. It’s not easy. Let me say that. First of all, you’ve got to look at the net weight of your old product that’s in your cupboard. What I always suggest is what I call the ultimate shopping list. You take your cash register receipt from your last shopping trip, that becomes the basis for your shopping list. You then take that, you take inventory on what’s in your refrigerator, what’s in your cupboard, what’s in your freezer. You cross off the items you don’t want. Most of the cash register receipts today all have the name of the product on it and the net weight. You take that cash register receipt, you look at the net weight that’s on the shelf now and then that’s one way to do it. The other way is the body that organizes and controls the UPC code, that 10 12 digit code, the bars on the package, well, that’s called GS one and GS one regulations state that if the product package size or weight changes in excess of 20%, it requires a new UPC code.
So that’s one of the triggers that you can find out that something’s changed here. You’ve got to look further to see what has changed. But also, again, it started at car four in France. What they’ve been doing is they’ve put stickers on products with the word shrink iation on it. They’re actually tagging products that are ripping you off. Now, there’s retailers here who are starting to do the same thing because again, the retailers on our side, they really are, and I think we’re going to see more and more of that. And also remember, the best thing you can do if you feel you’re getting ripped off, Gatorade, for example, is a great example. They designed their bottle. Their bottle is the same height as what it used to be, but in the bottom of the bottle, there’s more of a false bottom, an indentation if you would, all bottles have it, whether it’s wine bottles, water bottles, Gatorade, they put a bigger indentation in it. So Gatorade has less fluid ounces, but the bottle is the same. When you discover that the most power we have is don’t buy that product. If we send the signal to the cereal companies, the beverage companies and so on that says, Hey, you’re ripping us off. We’re going to go to the store brand, we’re going to go to another brand that’s not ripping us off. That’s the number one signal to these manufacturers. If their sales go down, they’re going to listen to us.

Kailyn:
So if we’re visually scanning the grocery store triggers like new packaging or new and improved, that’s the sort of stuff we should start looking for, identifying and then compare it to previous versions to see if that product design or amount has actually changed.

Phil:
Yes, and in the case of breakfast cereals, we’re starting to see ones that used to say giant size, saying family size or super size or any of those claims as you point out, that should be the trigger for to say, okay, let me look a little carefully. And also let’s remember that during the pandemic when we had shortages of supply, and we still have it, we have a change of ingredients taking place every day because the war in Ukraine has changed the oil, edible oil business, the war between Russia and Ukraine has changed the manure business. We used to import a lot of manure from Russia. We don’t anymore. So all the farmers have to get manure from other sources. So we should also be looking for ingredient changes because some companies have done that as a way to save money. They’ve gone from sugar to high fructose corn syrup because that’s cheaper to manufacture and it’s cheaper to buy, or they’ve gone from other ingredients that are more available and less expensive.
So we’ve got to be very vigilant and nobody’s doing it for us, except you guys are helping us to figure that out. But we really have to pay much more attention to ingredients, net weight, nutritional information, all of that. And the trick that I always use, and I’m a big proponent of store brands, is compare the store brand to the national brand, compare the nutritionals and the ingredients, and if in fact they’re identical, what that means most of the time is that name brand is making the product. It’s identical to it, but also look, because there’s some store brands. In the case of Aldi, in the case of Trader Joe’s, in the case of a lot of the Kroger products and a lot of the other stores, their quality is better. So the name brand might be using high fructose corn syrup. The store brand is using sugar. We’re seeing more and more people gravitating towards store brands, not just because of price savings, but also because of quality and the quality of ingredients.

Kailyn:
Yeah, I love that. I personally do that all the time. Specifically, this is a pro tip. If you’re a whole food shopper, the 3 6 5 brand, it’s a great brand and it’s so comparable to anything. I love their chicken sausage ingredients completely identical to Applegate, and Applegate is an amazing brand, so delicious, and I like to pinch my pennies on that sort of high product stuff. The other things I see online are like Costco and Kirkland, like the Kirkland Hard Seltzer everyone says is the same thing as a White Claw, so you might as well go save a couple of pennies and get it in bulk for my drinkers out there.

Phil:
You mentioned Costco. One of the things, two things I love about Costco. Number one, they actually do more inspections of their meats than the entire US government does from all the other factories. Number one, their quality of meats is exceptional. And what I love is they have in place, if unfortunately we have a product recall and you’ve signed up what your member, so they know who you are, they have a robocall system that will call your phone and say, we know that you bought X product. It’s being recalled. Please do not use it. Bring it back to the store for a full refund. Costco is a phenomenal retailer, and not only on price, I mean the atmosphere, not when it comes to food. I don’t love it, but when it comes to price, when it comes to quality, you can’t lose at Costco. But if you’re buying for one person or two people, don’t waste your money. You don’t need 64 ounces of ketchup, you will not use it before it goes bad.

Kailyn:
What I always wanted an industrialized vat of hot sauce, like, no,

Phil:
No.

Mindy:
My 14-year-old will challenge you on that. I specifically go to Cosco to get ketchup for her. That is her favorite.

Kailyn:
But I think that begs the question is buying in bulk a way to quail shrink iation on your own end if you have a larger family or you’re going to go through it and can strategize that bolt,

Phil:
Yes, no question about it. If you’ve got a large family, that’s the way to go. If you’ve got a smaller family unit, what you want to do is you want use what you can and freeze the rest for later. Just taking these large sizes, whether it’s shelf stable or putting it in the refrigerator isn’t enough. You want to take what you’re going to use in a reasonable amount of time and freeze the rest. Most foods can be frozen for six months without any loss of nutrients or taste, but freeze it properly. And what that means is putting it in, what I do is I wrap it in aluminum. If it’s a meat product or whatever else, then I put it in a plastic freezer bag and then I date the outside of it so I know how long it’s been in the freezer, so I’m not using it a year later.

Mindy:
That is a great point. Getting back to shrink lation, what sort of shrinkage are we really talking about? Let’s say we’re talking about toothpaste. Are we going from 50 uses to 48 uses or 50 uses to 20 uses?

Phil:
We’re going in between. So if you look at toilet tissue, that’s been reduced by about 10%. If we look at a lot of beverages, that’s probably anywhere between six and eight ounces. If you look at breakfast cereals, depending on the size, it’s probably a good 10% if more. It really depends on the category and it depends on the brand. I mean, the most famous one that President Biden talked about during the State of the Union address is how Doritos, he didn’t name the brand, but how Doritos has taken eight chips out of the bag, same size bag, eight chips out, and who’s going to notice that whoever’s counting a amount of chips in a bag? I did a segment on inflation with Inside Edition about a year ago, and one of the things that we found, we took a container of raisins and we found, I counted out all the raisins that were in there one by one, and there were about 20 raisins less in the same size package.

Kailyn:
That’s a whole bowl of oatmeal or two that raisins out.

Phil:
Yeah, everything from paper towels, toilet paper, our food supply, everything is there, but we shouldn’t be confused because when we come to certain water-based products like laundry detergents, what they’re doing is they’re becoming more efficient, having it more concentrated with less water in it. So it’s a smaller package. It’s easier for us to carry because it’s lighter. It’s just as efficient for us. So that’s not tril, that’s efficiency, and that’s making our lives better and giving them more cost into their system. So we’ve got to separate those two issues. One is making our life better, the other one is ripping us off.

Kailyn:
I think that that makes total sense. And something you said triggered my brain on this. I think that with shrink iation, the big thing that we can say is I don’t have to buy raisins. If I see that this brand is ripping me off, then I don’t have to do that. But every person has to buy toilet paper. Every person has to buy toothpaste. And I think that that’s really the big issue here that’s hitting families the hardest is we’re noticing that we have to repeat things more often. And I think there’s really two factors that work, which is shrink inflation and inflation and both are just hitting the American pocketbook so hard. We’re going to take a quick break, but when we’re back, Phil Lumper will answer the questions, will product sizes ever go back to normal? Stay tuned. Welcome back to BiggerPockets money. I think the big question for us here is items ever go back to their normal size after shrink inflation occurs, or do things just get smaller and smaller and smaller?

Phil:
Never in our lifetime, 22% pre pandemic. It’s now flattened out, which is the great news, and I think that’s the best we can hope for. Again, because of climate change, because of the situations that we’ve got at play, prices can’t go down. You look at the price of chocolate, which has continued to go up. The reason for that is that about 60% of all cacao is grown in Africa. Now. In Africa, they’ve had El Nino, which has destroyed a lot of the cocoa trees. Cocoa trees are now aging, and they have less yield to them. Also in Africa, or not only in Africa, in 6,000 different regions throughout the world, there’s 63% less insects. So as a human, you could say, oh, that’s great. I’m not going to be bothered by it. Well, if I’m a cocoa tree, I want insects because just like bees pollinate flowers, insects pollinate the cocoa beans.
So we need those pollinators in order to survive this thing. And we talk a lot about climate change and greenhouse gases and so on. I wish the conversation would drill down to how it’s affecting agriculture. Air quality is very important. Water quality is very important, but it’s really the ag sector that has the problem. And as we’re having more droughts, more rains, more hurricanes, more everything that impacts our food supply. So no, I don’t think prices are going to go down. What we’ve done is we’ve gotten more efficient, but you bring up toilet paper. The reason that we had toilet paper shortages during the pandemic is toilet paper manufacturers had workers working shoulder to shoulder, so they had to distance themselves, so the machines had to run slower. So now they’ve corrected that. But if you go to buy toilet paper, I just bought toilet paper. I won’t name the brand, but earlier this week, and for I guess it was nine rolls of toilet paper, it was like $16. That’s absurd. Absolutely absurd. Their costs have gone up, but we’re seeing in toilet paper and paper towels, smaller sheet sizes, less, less sheets per roll. I mean, all of those kinds of things taking place and consumers just don’t remember how many sheets my toilet paper had last time around.

Kailyn:
That’s absolutely true. I don’t remember what toilet paper looked like. Pre pandemic. All I remember is it running out everywhere and people having to ship toilet paper across the country for toilet paper getting. I do have one more question for you, Phil, before we start to close out here. We’ve talked about what we can do vocalizing to these manufacturers or stop buying products that are price gouging us and creating reflation. Is there anything else as consumers that we can do to take action today on working on the ecological agricultural front or with manufacturers to create change long-term or even on the hill, even with politicians?

Phil:
Absolutely. 40% of all of our food is wasted in this country, and a good percentage of that is at home. So what we need to do is we need to have a good shopping list. We need to be realistic about the sizes that we buy. We need to not waste. If we go to a restaurant, there’s no shame in having a doggy bag and bringing home the leftovers. There’s no shame in using leftovers even from home. So number one way to save money is to stop wasting at home in our food supply. That’s number one. Number two is yes, being very vocal. The Biden administration has really taken a stand on food prices. They’re out there. The FTC is out there. Just putting out a study that showed that retailers and manufacturers during the pandemic did take advantage, especially manufacturers, is to voice our concerns, to our representatives, to the government.
The White House has a whole fabulous initiative on food and agriculture, and food is medicine. What we need to do is we need to really understand what the nutrients are that we want. We need to be focused on what we want to eat, what we enjoy eating. And yes, we’re always going to indulge. We’re always going to get that extra piece of chocolate to make us feel good. That’s fine, but we’ve got to limit those impulse supplies. When we walk into a supermarket and we see a big display, we think it’s on sale. That’s our emotion. It doesn’t mean it’s on sale. It means it’s a big display. So let’s just be realistic about what we buy. Let’s be vocal to the companies. If you’ve got a complaint with the company, absolutely call up their 800 number that’s on practically every can or send them an email and you’ll get results.
And also keep in mind that practically every product in the supermarket, especially store brands, have a money back guarantee. So don’t be shy. If you get a product that you don’t like, bring the unused portion back to the store with your receipt and you’ll get your money back. If you want to save money, it’s a job. You’ve got to be proactive. You’ve got to be reading labels, whether it’s net weight ingredients, just as everything that we’ve talked about. Nobody’s going to take care of us. There are people like retailers that are curators for us that are on our side, but it’s our responsibility as it comes to our food supply to take good care of ourselves and our family price. Nutrition wise and quality wise.

Mindy:
This is so important, and I’m so thankful for your time today. This is a super fantastic conversation. Where could people find more about you?

Phil:
Well, first, thank you again for inviting me. Anytime I can be of help, just give me a holler. You can find me @supermarketguru.com.

Mindy:
I love it. Thank you so much for your expertise in sharing your time with us today. We really appreciate it. My

Phil:
Pleasure.

Mindy:
That wraps up this episode of the BiggerPockets Money Podcast. She is Kaylin Bennett, and I am Mindy Jensen saying, got to run,

Scott :
If you enjoyed today’s episode, please give us a five star review on Spotify or Apple. And if you’re looking for even more money content, feel free to visit our YouTube channel at youtube.com/biggerpockets money.

Mindy:
BiggerPockets money was created by Mindy Jensen and Scott Trench, produced by Kaylin Bennett, editing by Exodus Media Copywriting by Nate Weinraub. Lastly, a big thank you to the BiggerPockets team for making this show possible.

 

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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