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Grocery math: 10 for $10 is better than $1 each

Tuesday - 7/19/2011, 5:33am  ET

grocery store (Thinkstock Photo)
Think before you buy. The 10 for $10 deals can lead you to spend more than you intend. (Thinkstock Photo)

Evan Haning, wtop.com

UNDATED - Five for $5 is a better deal than one for $1, when supermarkets do the math.

Because shoppers are pinched and making fewer trips to the store, supermarkets are trying to get them to buy more with each trip. Offering 10 for $10 or three 12-packs for $12 is proving to be an effective business strategy. The power of suggestion is working, stores say.

Although most supermarkets don't require customers to buy in bulk to get the bargain price, offering larger quantities tends to move more products.

Tom Lofland, director of sales and promotions at Supervalu, tells The New York Times that when items were priced one for $1, sales fell off in double-digits. When Supervalu put a 10 for $10 price tag on the same thing, shoppers usually bought two or more.

Food manufacturers and suppliers like bulk pricing, too.

When a family has three 12-packs of Coke in the basement, chances are they won't be buying any Pepsi for a while.

But some bulk offers don't work. When A&P supermarkets tried to sell 20 yogurts for $10, they had few takers. A spokesman says only shoppers who eat two or three yogurts a day are likely to be interested in that particular deal.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)