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Monday, October 8, 2012

Sizes Shrink as Prices Rise--A Rant

Have you noticed smaller sizes of cans and boxes of food  in the stores? If you did, have you noticed the price per item is the same or higher? Even the few prices that were lower were still higher per unit. The bottom line for manufacturers and stores is more profit from our purchases. How does that set with you? So, maybe your grocery store receipt will be the same as last month. But, the food and supplies will not last as long.

Soft Soap was the first thing that caught my eye. The new bottle is tiny, really tiny, compared to the old bottle. I don't buy Soft Soap; it just caught my eye. In the vegetable aisle the cans were the normal size but there were also three inch tall cans of green beans and all the other vegetables. My half gallon of orange juice is now 59 ounces! When did that happen?

Domino's Sugar has been in four-lb bags for several years. A gallon of Clorox has been 3.5 quarts for more years.

People will have to reduce their consumption of goods in order to every stay even. However, at some point there will be the realization that the prices have doubled. Tripled? Quadrupled? What will be the tipping point?

Your turn
What items have you noticed that have shrunk in price? Did the cost per unit rise or shrink? What are you doing to make it? Spending what it takes? Growing or raising your own food?


  1. Always growing here- trying to get a little less dependent on the stores every year. Personally I would prefer if they just raised the prices. Shrinking sizes really irritates me- to the point that I switch brands or drop products altogether.

    1. Wendy,
      Raising the prices and leaving the sizes the same would certainly suit me better. If a recipe calls for a can of this or bag of that, the recipe is based on sizes that no longer exist.

  2. I hear you on this one. I see it all the time too - it makes feel old to keep thinking "I remember when that was bigger AND it cost HALF of what it does now." I bought some french bread at the walmart the other day, I haven't bought their bread in a LONG time, but it was late and we had an hour drive to get home and 12 mouths to feed, so to the bakery department I went......$169.00 for a SINGLE LOAF, and in all honesty it didn't even look that good to me, but that's because I make a lot of our bread. Anyway, I so clearly remember when that bread was .99 cents!!!! and it didn't seem THAT long ago.

    1. I go to the Thrift Bread Store and I paid $.99 until the other day and it was $1.29. That hurt! You must have to buy at least two loaves for all 12 of you.

  3. All,
    Someone commented and I think I deletd the comment! Aaaack. Write it again.

  4. Back when I worked in the food industry this was a hot topic. During that time coffee went from a 1 pound can to 13 oz and the large can from 3 pounds to 33 oz. Of course customers were outraged. When production costs rise they can either raise prices or shift package sizes. No matter which way it goes the consumer is not going to be happy.

    I hear that prices are going to soar because of the recent drought. I wonder if you have heard about the outrageous gas prices here in Southern California. Gas at the station down the hill is 4.89, $4.79 and $4.89 ....believe it or not these are not the highest prices in the area! Drought + fuel prices = higher prices.

    1. Janet,
      You are certainly right about customers not being happy. However, I feel like someone is trying to pull something over on me when the package suddenly shrinks without much variance in the price.

      Yes, packages have been shrinking. But, I suddenly saw about three dozen packages in smaller sizes, replacing the regular package, not in addition to the regular sizes. Plus, the unit price was absent.

      It is all over the news about your prices. I was horrified when our regular gas went to $3.59. Now, it is $3.41. That's enough to cause me to reconsider starting the car.

      Having been in the food industry, your input is priceless. We need observers on each end of this issue.

  5. Janet hits it spot on that consumers will not be happy either way... whether the price rises or the box shrinks.
    Wendy mentions she would rather the prices just rise.. and I would probably prefer the boxes shrink (if it has to be one or the other).
    But if you think about it from a business standpoint, isn't it a lot more expensive to change the size of the box? The company has to potentially redesign the package and then change their production process, right? I don't know enough about the intricacies of production plants, but it seems a lot easier to just tack on a few cents to the product than change the entire size. And while I said I would rather the size change (purely for no surprises at the register), I still feel cheated, it's like they are trying to be sneaky- do they think we won't notice??

    1. The packaging itself doesn't always have to change as long as the weight is displayed. Think about how much extra room there is in a box of cereal or a bag of chips. It is up to the customer to check the product ounces or pounds. Lately I have been seeing 4 LB bags of sugar! Here most stores actually show the price per oz on the shelf tag. I shop with a calculator in my hand. It is not always easy to know which size is the best buy. It is not always the larger size.

      Packages change all the time. There are special edition packages, holiday themes, different ingredients highlighted (heart healthy, antioxidant, reduced calorie, new and improved etc) You get the idea. Many times when packages change you will find the product at the 99c store or Big Lots. Other times product is donated to food banks.

      Personally I prefer the product to be down sized. I can make adjustments to recipes but I can't increase our income. What I need to be better about is food waste. I'm ashamed of how much we end up tossing out. I need to get a dog or perhaps chickens!!!

    2. I love getting the reduced packages, reduced because they are holiday packaging. Yes, there are so many changes that have nothing to do with a bad change.

      It just annoys me to have to figure out that I used the wrong size of pumpkin and the recipe does not turn out right.

      About 4 years ago, I saw the first 4 lb bag of sugar. From then on, I was even more careful to look at the number of pounds. If I don't have a calculator on me, and there is no unit price or it does not make sense, I pull out a pencil and paper.

  6. Danielle,
    Some people don't notice at first. My friend had a Sam's club card, and I went with her once. I was thrilled at the price of a gallon of olive oil. Two years later when I was decanting it into smaller, dark green bottles, I noticed it was 3 or 3.5 gallons. I was just furious. I am not usualy caught like that or for so long. Okay, it was a hectic day when I bought the olive oil. Yes, it is still good, not rancid at all.

    It would cost something to change the production and packing. But, obviously it's worth it to them.

    When people only have so many $$$ to spend, they are more likely to go along with the price change so they can buy what they need rather than be faced with putting things back or spending too much. Of course, it is a false economy to buy that way.

    They are being sneaky!


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