Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seriously, Store? Or the Irony of Shopping for Chocolate Chips

Last Monday I went to the store to get a few things.  Since we were having Family Night that night, I especially needed a treat for the kids (who throw a holy fit if we dare to plan family night without sugar). I try not to keep all the ingredients for baked treats in the house.  Who knows when I'm going to self-medicate with chocolate chips, know what I mean? They can't live in my house.  Neither can Doritos or Twizzlers. But I digress . . .

 At the store, this is what I saw: 

Chocolate chips were on sale, 12 oz for $3.00. Betty Crocker (BC) oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix was on sale for $2.00.  This actually goes against frugal theory about how food made from scratch is cheaper than prepared mixes.  How many cookies did the recipe on the chocolate chips bag make?  Five dozen.  The BC mix made 3 dozen.  So is it still a good deal to buy the choc chips and make cookies from scratch? The recipe also asks for 2 sticks of butter (!!!) and the BC mix only needed one.  I have a hard time using a whole stick of butter in a recipe much less two.  Our arteries don't need that much saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only was the BC mix cheaper over all but it was a healthier option because it would make fewer cookies and use less butter.

In the end, I did end up buying the mix.  We had everything but the chips at home but, man, those two sticks of butter turned me off.  And did my family really need five dozen cookies?  No, we didn't.

This chocolate chip 'dilemma' illustrates the irony of food shopping in Hawai'i for me.  Some of the normal rules of savvy food shopping go out the window.  First of all, those chocolate chips were $3 on sale.  The regular price would have been more than $3 at any given time.  And you can just barely see it, but the BC cookie mix is regularly $3.99. 

Food is expensive here. Mostly because we have to pay for it to get shipped on Matson barges.  So while people (tourists and locals alike) might bemoan food prices, it helps to remember that you pay for the food's trip to Hawai'i.  This is a factor in food prices. I also realize that the BC mix was probably a loss leader sale and that the price was probably a deal struck between BC and Foodland.

So normal savvy shopping guidelines (like cooking from scratch rather than from mixes) sometimes just don't fit here because the ingredients for from scratch cooking can cost as much as prepared mixes.  Of course, the rules of the game totally change when I shop at Costco but that's a situation that deserves its own blog post. Later. Peace out!

1 comment:

  1. My "mother in law" lives in Hawaii...and I had NO CLUE how high prices were. I just asked my boyfriend and he laughed at me and said our food budget is laughable to her!

    I feel for you!!! I just got 3 bags of Hershey's chocolate chips for free back at Christmas using coupons and a sale. Wish I hadn't used them all in treats then - I'd offer to mail you a bag. It would end up being cheaper for me to ship to you than for you to buy it there!


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