Winter remains in full force. Before the next approaching snowstorm leaves grocery shoppers scrambling for the last batch of kale, you can plan ahead by stocking up on non-perishable food items.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, use these tips and tricks to spot the non-perishable food items that will last the longest and deliver the best value while still tasting great.
Never Buy Dented Cans
If a can has a dent, keep walking — even if the store has marked down the price. Bulge or rust on canned goods could be a sign of bacteria or botulism.
Save Money on Store Brands
Want to buy the brand you love for less? Try your store’s private label brand. Since retailers typically offer a 100% money-back guarantee, there’s no risk in trying! If the store brand item you’re looking for doesn’t share the store’s name look to the immediate right or left of the best-selling brand in the category. You’ll likely find what you’re looking for. Once you’ve found both items, compare the ingredients and nutritional panels of the name brand and store brand package. If the ingredients are in the same order and the nutrition reads identically, there’s a chance that the same company makes both.
Always Read Expiration Dates
Whichever package an item comes in — a can, box, bag, pouch, bottle, jar or aseptic container — always read the expiration date. If there isn't an expiration date, turn to the manufacturer's code. Since manufacturer codes vary, it's important to call the 1-800 phone number listed on the food packaging to make sure you're not buying something that's past its shelf life.
Broaden your definition of what non-perishable food items actually are. Sure, Chef Boyardee® Beef Ravioli is the perfect “snow day” food for the kids, but don't stop at canned goods. Make sure to pick up a variety of non-perishable food items. A box of dried pasta lends itself to an array of meals. While Orville Redenbacher® Original Gourmet Popping Corn is the perfect snack for a snowed in movie night. Frozen meals like Healthy Choice® Café Steamers may not be non-perishable but they last longer than fresh produce and are perfect to have on hand for a quick, balanced lunch when you just can't leave the house.
To save even more, limit the items you buy from eye-level shelves. Look to the top and bottom shelves for the least expensive items in each category.