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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00002616/00001
 Material Information
Title: Unit Pricing
Physical Description: Fact Sheet
Creator: Harrison, Mary N.
Publisher: University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 1995
 Notes
Acquisition: Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
Publication Status: Published
General Note: "Publication date: January 1995. First published: November 1979. Reviewed: January 1995."
General Note: "HE 5014"
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the submitter.
System ID: IR00002616:00001


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FactSheetHE5014 TheInstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciencesisanequalopportunity/affirmativeactionemployerauthorizedtoprovideresearch,educational informationandotherservicesonlytoindividualsandinstitutionsthatfunctionwithoutregardtorace,color,sex,age,handicap,ornational origin.Forinformationonobtainingotherextensionpublications,contactyourcountyCooperativeExtensionServiceoffice. FloridaCooperativeExtensionService/InstituteofFoodandAgriculturalSciences/UniversityofFlorida/ChristineTaylorStephens,DeanUnitPricing1 MaryN.Harrison2Supposeyouareshopping,tryingtofindthebest bargains.Aproductisofferedinthefollowingthree sizes:4ouncescosting59cents;6ouncescosting79 cents;andthree3.5ouncecansfor$1.49. Tofindwhichsizeisthebestbuyyoumustdivide thecostbythenumberofounces.Whichdoyou thinkisthebestbuy? At13.17centsperounce,the6ouncecanfor79 centsisthebestbuy. Inthefiguringyoujustdidyoufoundtheunit priceforthethreeitemslistedabove.WHATISUNITPRICINGUnitpricingisalabelontheshelforproduct packagethatstatesthepricepermeasure,weightor count,alongwiththeretailpricefortheentireitem. Forsomeitems,unitpricingmeansdeterminingthe costperounceorpound.Forsomeitemssuchas papertowels,unitpricingisexpressedascostper squareinchorpertowel.Sincemanyofusaren't stronginmathwefinditdifficulttodothe computationsneededforpricecomparisons.Butnow wedon'thavetobemathematicalgeniuses,because storeshavedonethefiguringforusbyunitpricing theirmerchandise.Alltheshopperneedstodoisuse theinformationprovidedbythestore.WHATKINDSOFITEMS CARRYUNITPRICING?Someproductshavecarriedunitpricingforyears. Forexample,meatshavebeen(andstillare)soldby thepound.Onthelabelattachedtothepackageyou willfindthecostperpound(whichistheunitprice), thenumberofpoundsinthecutofmeat,andthe totalretailpriceofthemeat.Somefreshfruitsand vegetablesalsohavebeenunitpricedforalongtime. Apples,bananas,squash,andgreenbeansareusually pricedbythepound.Thelabelonthepackagetells theperpoundprice,thenumberofpoundsinthe containerandthetotalretailpriceofthepackage. Cannedandpackagedfoodsareusuallyunit pricedintermsofcentsperounce.Foodssoldin largerquantitiesforexample,5to10poundsof sugarmaybeunitpricedbycostperounceorcost perpound.Beveragesmaybeunitpricedbyprice perfluidounce,quartorgallon. Foodsarenottheonlyproductsthatareunit priced.Mostthingssoldbysupermarketscarryunit pricing.Herearesomeexamples: Liquiddetergentsareusuallypricedbytheounce orbythequart. Powdereddetergentscarryunitpricesexpressed ascentsperounceorpound. 1.ThisdocumentisFactSheetHE5014,aseriesoftheHomeEconomicsDepartment,FloridaCooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFood andAgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida.Publicationdate:January1995.Firstpublished:November1979.Reviewed:January1995. 2.MaryN.Harrison,professor,ConsumerEducation,HomeEconomicsDepartment,CooperativeExtensionService,InstituteofFoodand AgriculturalSciences,UniversityofFlorida,GainesvilleFL32611.

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UnitPricing Page2 Paperplatesoftenareunitpricedbythesquare inch,squarefootorperitem. Packagesofplasticbagsmaybeunitpricedbythe costperindividualbag.ARESOMESUPERMARKETITEMS NOTUNITPRICED?Thereareafewitemsthatarelesslikelytocarry unitpricing.Theseincludethefollowing: Frozenfoodsoftenarenotunitpriced. Therefore,whencomparingthepriceofan8 ouncepackageoffrozenbeanswitha10ounce packageofpeasora16ouncepackageofmixed vegetables,youmustmakeyourown computations. Itemsplacedonsaleoronspecialgenerallydo nothavetherevisedunitpriceavailable.(Thisis usuallyagoodwaytochecktheamountofprice reductionofthesaleitem.) Figure1.(1)Nameandbrand.(2)Unitprice.(3)Retailprice.(4)Weightormeasure.(5)Storemanagerinformation. (6)Packagespercase.WHATISONTHEUNITPRICELABEL?Eachsupermarketorchainofsupermarkets developsitsownunitpricelabel.Alllabelscarrythe samebasicinformation,buttheformatmayvary. Considerableinformationisincludedontheunit pricelabel.(See Figure1.)Itmayincludethe following: nameandbrandofitem unitpricepricepermeasure,usedtocompare prices retailpriceyoupay weightormeasureofthisitem storemanagerinformationusedwhen ordering

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UnitPricing Page3 storemanagerinformationnumberof packagespercase.WHEREISTHEUNITPRICINGDONE?Meatandfreshproduceareusuallymarkedwith theunitpriceatthesametimeandplacetheyareput intoconsumersizepackages,whetherthisisinthe backroomofthesupermarket,atarepackcenteror acentraldistributioncenter.Ontheseproductsthe unitpriceisincludedonthelabelattachedtothe package. Formostotherproductssoldinthesupermarket, theunitpriceisprintedonaseparatelabelwhichis attachedtotheshelfdirectlybeneaththeproduct. Fortheseitemstheunitpriceiscomputedandlabels areprintedatacentrallocation.Labelsarethensent tothesupermarket,similartothewaymerchandiseis delivered.Storepersonnelattachtheunitpricelabels toshelves.Theyupdatethelabelsaspricesfluctuate. Foranyaddedservicetherearecostsinvolvedfor materialsandlabor.Costsareincludedasapartof thecostsofoperatingandultimatelyarepassedonto theconsumer.WHATARESOMEADVANTAGES OFUNITPRICING?Unitpricingenablestheconsumertomakequick, easypricecomparisonsbetweendifferentproducts andbetweendifferentbrandsandsizesofthesame product.Itsavestimewhendoingcomparative shopping.DOESUNITPRICINGHAVELIMITATIONS?Unitpricingcomparespriceonly.Itdoesnot includeajudgementofquality,nordoesitrelateto individualpreferences.Someunitpricelabelsarenot easytoread.Theconsumermaybecomeconfusedby thevariousgroupsofnumbersonthelabelor perhapstheprintmaynotbeeasytoread.This problemcanhavespecialsignificanceforpeoplewith pooreyesightorthosewithverylittleeducation. Theformatusedinunitpricingisnotconsistent amongstores.Someareveryeasytoreadand understand.Othersarenotasclearlystated.The unitofmeasurementusedforunitpricingshouldbe consistentfordifferentsizesorformsofthesame food.Forexample,unitpricingforcannedpeas mightbegivenforounces.Ifsomepeasareunit pricesinounces,othersingallons,andstillothersin pounds,itisimpossibletousetheunitprice informationforcomparison.WHICHSTORESCARRYUNITPRICING?Unitpricingisavoluntaryserviceprovidedby foodstoresinresponsetoconsumerrequests.Itis designedtobetterservetheirpresentcustomersand toattractnewones.Therearenofederalorstate regulationsthatrequireunitpricingandnonethat requireaconsistentformatfortheunitpricelabel. Mostlargesupermarketsandgrocerychainshaveunit pricingsincethisservicecanbeprovidedthroughthe computersystemtheynowuse. Conveniencestoresusuallydonothaveunit pricing.Thearedesignedprimarilyforserviceof ``convenience''anddonotplaceemphasisonprice competition. Mostsmall,independently-ownedstoresdonot haveunitpricing.Forsmallretailoutlets,thecostof installingandservicingthesystemwouldbe prohibitive.HOWSHOULDCONSUMERS USEUNITPRICING?Consumersmayuseunitpricingtocomparecosts among: differentbrandsofaproduct differentsizesofthesameproduct differentformsofthesamefood differentfoodswithinthesamefoodgroup. Iftheshopperfindsunitpricelabelsthatare outdated,mountedinthewronglocation,orof inconsistentunitswhichmakepricecomparisons impossible,theproblemshouldbereportedtothe storepersonnel,preferablythemanagerorassistant manager.Bycourteouslycallingtheerrortothe attentionofthemerchant,theshopperinformshim thatunitpricingisofvalueandisbeingused.This encouragesaccuracyonthepartofthestore employees. Unitpricingshouldbeusedbyallthrifty shoppers.Itcansavetheconsumertimeandmoney.