This list probably won’t save you any money, but it’ll help you understand some of the small ways companies get away with overcharging us.  Here are five subtle ways you’re getting ripped off at the grocery store.

#1.)  Sneaky Packaging Tricks. Look at the bottom of basically any jar of peanut butter, and you’ll notice that it isn’t flat, it curves in.  And they do it for one reason:  So they can get away with cheating you out of 2 ounces of peanut butter.

Other companies do the same thing:  Toilet paper still has the same number of sheets per roll, but the sheets are getting shorter and thinner.

And the same goes with cereal boxes.  They’re the same height and width, but the boxes are getting skinnier.

#2.)  Bags That Are Half Full of Chips . . . And Half Full of Air. This one probably qualifies as a “sneaky packaging tip”, but it’s so outrageous it gets its own spot on the list.

If you’ve bought a bag of Ruffles in the last ten years, you know that half the bag is actually filled with air.  And in the food industry, there’s a term for it:  It’s called “slack fill”.

The FDA allows “slack fill” because if there was NO air, the chips would get crushed during shipping.  But a lot of companies slack fill their bags way too much so customers think they’re buying more than they really are.

#3.)  Charging More for High SPF Sun Block. SPF 5 and SPF 50 both cost the same to manufacture.  But companies assume that if people see a higher number on the bottle, they’ll be willing to pay more.  And they’re right.

#4.)  Injecting Meat With Broth. It sounds gross, but companies do it to add flavor and make the meat juicier.  At least that’s what they SAY the reason is.

The REAL reason is because broth is basically just water and salt, so it’s cheap.  But it makes the meat weigh more, which also makes it COST more.  And according to Consumer Reports, some brands of packaged chicken are up to 30% broth.

#5.)  Expiration Dates. People assume that expiration dates are regulated by the government to keep us from getting sick.  But that’s not true.  The federal government has nothing to do with expiration dates.

It’s the manufacturers who decide what they should be.  And companies figured out a long time ago that when things like dairy products pass their expiration date, people freak out and throw them away . . . then go out and buy more.

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