Did you receive the Roundy’s/Pick’N Save “Terrific Savings!” coupon book in the mail this week? This is to alert you to the fact that Pick’N Save discriminates by zip code, providing savings on real food in some neighborhoods and empty calories in others. These coupon booklets are valid from February 17 through March 2, 2011, and they are not available in the stores; what you received in the mail is the only one you’ll get.
If you live in Shorewood or Whitefish Bay, for example, your coupon book has a coupon for a quart of Kemps milk for 88 cents. But if you live downtown or in the area Roundy’s thinks is served by the Midtown, 35th and North, and East Garfield Pick’N Save stores, your booklet instead lets you buy a gallon of Sunny Valley Fruit Drink for 88 cents. (There may be similar differences in other areas served by Pick’N Save stores as well.)
When is greater quantity a lesser value? Look at the difference in the products covered by the two coupons.
Kemp’s milk is real actual milk– an American dairy product, subject to American regulations– and contains 8 grams of protein and 30% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium in each serving. Depending on the variety you purchase, the calorie count can be as low as 80 calories per 8-ounce serving (skim milk) or as high as 150 (whole milk). Yes, you only get a quart, but you get a lot of nutrition in that quart.
However, the main ingredient in the Sunny Valley fruit drinks is water, followed by high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and sodium benzoate. It contains 110 calories per serving– empty calories– but no protein and no calcium. No vitamins either, just carbohydrates and sugar. (And ascertaining the origin of Sunny Valley products isn’t easy, but an internet search suggested that the fruit pulp from which the flavor derives comes from China.)
Don’t think you are somehow saving your family from sugary sodas by giving them this kind of “fruit punch.” This is the kind of “food” that contributes to obesity in children and adults. And if you’re diabetic, it will affect your sugar levels.
The manager at the East Garfield store said that he was unable to substitute the quart of milk for the gallon of sugar drink, so if you live in one of the neighborhoods that received the coupon for products like Sunny Valley (or any) “fruit punch,” products that go against government nutritional guidelines, call Roundy’s if you want to complain.
There are several other differences in the booklets. The Shorewood booklet has a coupon for a 2-pound package of Creamette pasta for $1.48, while the booklet for those “inner city” stores has, in the same place, a coupon for 100 Hefty foam plates (bad for the environment, by the way) for $2.98. There are also different vegetable coupons in the different books.
The booklet with the Sunny Valley fruit punch instead of the milk was distributed, among other places, to the high rise apartments downtown. Consumers should be aware of the difference.