The price stays the same, but the product gets smaller and smaller and smaller. It’s called product “shrink” and it’s the result of rising manufacturing costs.
As costs rise, companies must make a decision: raise the price of the product accordingly, or keep the price the same while reducing the size of the product.
I’m not the only one who’s noticed product shrink, many readers have too, and my recent column on products being downsized elicited many passionate responses:
Q: Your column on groceries shrinking is so true. Half-gallon orange juice bottles went from 64 ounces to 59 ounces. Today I saw a brand of juice now has 46-ounce bottles! That is 18 ounces smaller than it used to be. And the funny thing is, when you look at the bottle from the front, it looks the same, but the bottle is only a couple of inches deep. Did the price go down? No. But now it’s like three glasses of juice missing from the bottle. There was recently a $1 coupon in the paper and I was torn – do I buy it and give the company the impression I am supporting this downsizing? It was a better price than the store brand with the coupon but the store brand was still 64 ounces.
Q: Do not get me started on what is happening with groceries out there. Did you know that for some brands, ice cream isn’t even really ice cream anymore? Look at the cartons, and if you see it labeled as “frozen dairy dessert.” It has so much air whipped into it, and there isn’t even enough milk or cream in the ingredients to legally call it ice cream anymore. Have you heard about this one? I bought some once and it was such mushy, airy stuff. Never again. It’s got to say ice cream on the carton and that is something I will pay money for. But with major brands it is getting harder to find real ice cream.
A: Sadly, I am familiar with the “frozen dairy dessert” phenomenon and I won’t buy those either. These products can’t legally be called ice creams because they don’t contain enough cream or milk fats to meet the standards set by the USDA to qualify as ice cream under the Dairy Industry Act.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a smaller, full-fat, dense, flavor-rich scoop of ice cream than two air-filled, less satisfying, not-quite-ice-cream scoops any day!
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Visit her website, www.jill cataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.