The Products You Buy Are Shrinking — But Not the Prices You Pay
This past weekend I went to a hair salon and bought a can of hairspray. About six months ago, I bought a couple of cans because they were "changing the packaging" and they were putting the old cans on sale and closing them out. Apparently, "changing the packaging" means "We're going to decrease the size of the package and increase the price."
Compared to the cans I bought six months ago, my new can of hairspray had 2 ounces less product and a $2 higher price tag. I liked the old packaging better (and the price)!
Have you noticed the price of ice cream? Smaller package, higher price. Remember when you used to get a 5-quart pail of ice cream? When I was a kid, we used to have ice cream every night before bed. We'd go through a 5-quart pail a week. It was a cheap dessert! Now it's a 4-quart pail of ice cream and the price is at least $3-$4 higher. Inflation? Maybe?
Manufacturers of many popular products sold in supermarkets across the United States have been downsizing their products. The problem, though, is that companies selling those products in stores appear to be trying to get away with charging the same prices for these lesser versions.
This practice has left many consumers feeling cheated, and according to Edgar Dworksy, founder of Consumer World, “It’s been going on for years, but there seems to be a real surge right now.”
Recent consumer inquiries uncovered at least 14 products that seem to have fallen victim to the corporate shrink ray. Here are a few of those items:
- Kashi cereal may have a taller box, but it has less cereal
- Scott Tissue Boxes are now short 12 tissues
- Ghirardelli chocolate chips have nearly 50 fewer chips
- There are 52 fewer nuts in a container of Planters Mixed Nuts
- A can of Maxwell House Coffee now only makes 240 cups; it used to make 270
- Pillsbury Cake mixes are three ounces lighter, making 21 cupcakes instead of 24
- And four-and-a-half feet of Brawny paper towels seems to have gone missing
Manufacturers say that downsizing merchandise is typically more appealing to the consumer than raising prices, and that all products are subject to an adjustment in package size depending on the right value.
Experts say that while consumers can choose to change brands, many manufactures downsize with their competition.