You probably know that grocery stores stock their shelves with the freshest, newest of any food item toward the back of the shelf so the oldest will be sold first. It makes sense and works well most of the time. You can’t even call it a trick, it’s just good, common sense.
There are those times, though, when the “use by” date for food is too short for your purposes. Don’t feel bad about pushing aside the front cans or boxes or bags to find a fresher date if you need it. (Be sure to put everything back when you’re through.)
If you’re going to use the product right away, play fair. Groceries are generally guaranteed to be good through the date given, so you won’t gain anything by digging out a newer product and leaving the older one on the shelf.
A little common sense goes a long way, but even if we have enough common sense, how are we supposed to know which loaf of bread is freshest? Or if that unmarked package of carrots is organic or genetically modified? There are a few more tricks about the food you buy that you should know.
When bread is delivered to a grocery store, it sports either a “twist’em tie” or a plastic tag closure. You may have noticed that they come in different colors, but did you know that those colors are codes for the day of the delivery?
If the bread was delivered on Monday, the fastener will be blue; if it’s on Tuesday, it will be green. Bread isn’t usually delivered on Wednesdays, so there isn’t a color for that. A red fastener means the bread was delivered Thursday and a white fastener means Friday. Saturday deliveries sport yellow fasteners. Bread is usually not delivered on Sunday.
So if you go to the store Thursday morning and all you see is blue and green fasteners, you’ll know that the bread is not fresh as fresh as it could be. Go a little later in the day to find bread with red fasteners, a sure sign that it was delivered to the grocery store that day.
Another trick has to do with saving money. When you shop, your tend to see things in a general area from slightly above your eyes to below your waist. Grocery stores know this and they display the most colorful, yummiest looking (and most expensive) packages of food within this area. The colors and styles have been developed just for you… because we react to those colors, styles and pictures by reaching for the product.
How to beat it? Look above your head, bend down to the lowest shelf. Other brands of food may not be as showy, and they won’t be as expensive. It’s your choice.
Speaking of good food, there is one more trick you should know about. With all the publicity about organic food lately and how conventionally grown and genetically modified food is inferior quality, or at the least, not as nutritious or safe, knowing for sure how that head of lettuce or bag of potatoes or bunch of grapes was grown might be important to you.
PLU (Price Look Up) codes are four or five number codes that bring up the price of each item. Within these codes is information about the food itself.
If the code number (you can see it on the label or price tag) is four numbers, the product was grown conventionally.
If the code is made up of five numbers, the product is either organic or genetically modified. An organic product code starts with the number 9, while a genetically modified product code starts with the number 8. Never buy a product (unless it’s at a farmer’s market or direct farm to consumer) without a PLU code and know what it stands for.
Knowing about food before you buy it can insure that you get fresh, nutritious food not by chance or by trick, but by choice.