News 12 Special Assignment: Are you getting what you paid for?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013; News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A lot of you probably had chicken for dinner tonight. If you didn't, chances are you've eaten it at least once in the past week. That means, you've likely bought some from a local grocery store in the past week.

We wanted to know if you're getting what you pay for.

Here's some food for thought: the average American eats 86.3 pounds of chicken every single year. That number isn't per family. According to the National Chicken Council, that number is per person. That's a lot of poultry, and if you think about it, that's a lot of your money, so what we found might ruffle your feathers a bit.

News 12 took a little chicken expedition. We went to going to three grocery stores over two days. In all, we bought 5 packages and spent around $35.

Then, we brought it back to our kitchen and calibrated our scale to see what that $35 dollars was able to buy us.

We've all fished those absorbent pads dripping with juice out of chicken packages before, but we weighed one that equaled 0.74 pounds. That's almost three quarters of a pound. That same package promised a net weight of 4.06 pounds of chicken. our scale said it measured only 3.374 pounds.

That kind of seems like a rip-off, until you consider this: the package says it contains up to 15% natural chicken broth. 15 percent of the promised weight (4.06 pounds) is more than half a pound (0.609). So, when you factor that in, the real promise here around 3.45 pounds. (3.451) Our scale said it was off, by 8 hundredths of a pound. (.08 pounds).

So even with the juice pad and the smaller weight, we found this package is off by only about 16 cents.

Another one we weighed, however, was off by a lot more than that. The label claims the net weight is 0.8 pounds. At $5.99 a pound, we paid $4.79 for the package of tenderloins. Turns out, our scale said we actually bought 0.628 pounds. This package, however, only promised 5% juice. So even when you figure in that weight (0.04), we're still off by 0.132 pounds. At $5-99 a pound, we figure we paid an extra 79 cents than we should have.

Other results tip the scale in the customers favor.

One package we purchased promised a net weight of 2.32 pounds. Factor in the juice, and the real promise here is for 1.97 pounds. Our scale showed the chicken weighed a little more than 2 pounds. (2.09) So really, we got a bit more than we paid for.

Bottom line here: the juice matters. It's clearly labeled on each package, but it becomes even clearer how much weight it can add when you use a scale.

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