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Decreasing size of packaging for store bought ice cream.

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FelafelBoy Apr 16, 2008 09:32 PM

I don't know the exact year that containers for ice cream bought in the freezer section of supermakets started decreasing, but it was in the last few years.

My recent purchase of Breyer's Lactose-Free Vanilla Ice Cream found myself looking at what seemed like a box that had shrunk even smaller than the last time. Maybe it seemed smaller because I have been buying other brands in the last year, such as Edy's, which has kept a heartier ice cream quality than some other brands that have added air to their ice cream (boosting the volume size, thus decreasing their cost per unit per weight) and packages their ice cream in what seems like a larger container (maybe it's an optical illusion in that their container is more of a cylinder type vs square shape).

The Edy's package was 1.5 quarts (1.42 L). The smaller size allows for easier storage in a small top freezer, though.

I bought this due to the "buy one get one free" offer at a local supermarket. The price of one container was $6.30. From the offer, that meant that one container was $3.15. It wasn't so long ago that one container of ice cream sold at a non-sale price of $3.00 and that was when the container was at least 25% larger. At to that the more air that some companies have been putting in to the making of their ice cream and you will get a better grasp of how much more expensive ice cream has become by weight.

  1. t
    TomBoston191 Jun 29, 2008 11:21 AM

    This deceptive practice of reducing the amount of product you buy without reducing the price goes on in just about every food category these days.
    The latest one I've noticed is Mayonnaise.
    Cain's container now holds 30 oz. instead of 32.
    The size of the jar hasn't changed a bit.
    I remember when this happened with Tuna cans. They left the size of the can the same and just put more water in. Still going on today decades later.
    It's all so VERY sleazy.
    I used to know of a site where you could report these sort of things, but I just tried to search for it to no avail. Can anyone recommend how to search for it ?
    I just can't think of the right keywords...

    1. d
      dolores May 13, 2008 07:21 AM

      Outside of the fact that a NY news anchor apologized for an hilarious faux pas during a network drama, last night's local news FINALLY had a segment on the !!news flash!! current theft of product volume while maintaining or increasing costs.

      Guess what they had to say on DOING something about it?

      Nothing.

      1. s
        six_string_21 Apr 26, 2008 03:46 PM

        You should try Blue Bell Ice Cream out of Brenham, Texas. They are still a full 2 quart half gallon. They use the best ingredients and don't fluff up their product with air (it's dense and creamy). This stuff is the best ice cream I've ever had (moved to Phoenix 3 years ago, wasn't available in Michigan). It costs about $6.50 for a half gallon but like I said, it's a superior product and value. If Blue Bell is available in your area, buy it. If it isn't, I know that Outback Steakhouses serve it with their desserts.

        4 Replies
        1. re: six_string_21
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          dolores Apr 27, 2008 06:29 AM

          I've had Blue Bell. You are correct, six string 21, it is outstanding.

          Not surprisingly, they don't have it in New York.

          1. re: dolores
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            ShelliG May 4, 2008 04:43 PM

            Of course the environmental impact of the additional trash created by packaging less in the same packaging is affecting us all as well. Too bad these companies don't have to pay a penalty for that when they reduce the size. Edy's ice cream just went to 1.5 qts (vs. 2 in the half gallon we "expect" for ice cream). They create 33% more trash when you pay the same quantity of product (if I buy 6 gallons, I have to buy 4 instead of 3 cartons.) Do they get penalized for that -- no. It is all profit and we just have to grin and bear it. I would rather pay more for the same amount, personally.

            1. re: ShelliG
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              FelafelBoy May 6, 2008 10:34 PM

              What a coincidence. I had planned on reporting finding that new containers of Edy's ice cream (in the same section as their larger 1.5 qt containers) are, as you said, now 1.5 qt.

              I hadn't thought of the additional trash angle of smaller sizes. I attempted to buy several containers of another brand of ice cream, now in the 1.5 qt size. I find that buying three of those isn't a big thing anymore in terms of size. These smaller sized containers don't take as long to consume. The one other thing I noticed is that at least several of them were damaged, in that they had tears and other such openings in the box covering material. I wonder if cheaper paper is now being used in the packaging also. Let's see - lower quality ingredients, smaller size containers, possible cheaper containers, but higher prices. It may be that these factors are components of cost containment. Everything is being contained better except for the product itself and consumer trust and confidence! (I still have to say though, that the mouth feel of Breyer's Lactose Free Vanilla Ice Cream is still good and they still use only a few ingredients and real vanilla beans. I have also heard that the slow churned version of ice cream from various companies produces a good tasting ice cream. I still like Edy's Orange Cream ice cream although I experience occassional freezer burn and unacceptable quality due to packaging problems. But these two kinds of ice cream are still better tasting than some other brands I have had, so I am willing to put up with the occassional packaging problems.)

              1. re: ShelliG
                d
                dolores May 7, 2008 03:45 AM

                Good point, ShelliG. I guess when it's all about profit, and a subversive hosing of the consumer, there's no need to worry about the 'green' of it all.

                Breyer's is perpetrating the same subterfuge on the consumer, as will Turkey Hill, I'm sure.

                I imagine they'll keep at it until half gallons are pints, and pints disappear.

                >>I would rather pay more for the same amount, personally.

                Of course, as would I. Then again, I don't get to buy anything made in this country anymore, but look at how I'm saving money (sarcasm on and off).

          2. f
            FelafelBoy Apr 20, 2008 07:34 PM

            Some posts on this thread referring to the individual packaging of food, like cookies got me thinking ...

            individual packaging in containers that are of a smaller size make sense when the purpose is to maintain freshness. That got me thinking of the various reasons why smaller packaging and individual packaging is positive:

            1. Extending of freshness per item.
            2. Easier storage.
            3. More affordable pricing per purchase. (that doesn't mean better value, it just means that the product's price is within an "affordable" range that the buyer can budget per purchase, regardless of the weight)
            4. Distinguishing the product from other similar containers to create the illusion of uniqueness.
            5. Better suited for purchasers who are looking for "portion-controlled" packaging of a smaller size.
            6. Allows the purchaser to buy two of the same item, each of a different flavor without having to concern himself with needing more storage space.

            A short rumination on why larger containers are better:

            1. Greater size and volume normally lowers the cost per unit.
            2. Allows the purchaser to throw caution to the wind when consuming the product, eliminating the need to be concerned with how long an item will stay fresh.
            3. Allows the purchaser to share their food with other folks without being concerned that there will not be enough food to go around for more than one serving. (most containers of ice cream are good for three servings, unless one is eating cookies with them).

            (PS ... the new Kashi TLC line of cookies comes in a small size ... kudos to them for not individually packagin each of the 8 cookies in the flimsy plastic container ... they could have ... they must have known that these things wouldn't last that long, plus, the additional packaging would have to add to the cost, so maybe the decision was more a matter of cost than anything else.)

            I would have to guess that these ice cream companies have either not done focus groups, or disregarded the results. I can't imagine the majority of consumers preferring the downsizing of ice cream containers. Just an informal survey here ... for each additional post, it would be interesting to read what posters here prefer for a size for an ice cream container. My vote goes for a rectangular sized container of at least 1.75 oz. (I do not like the round sized shape of Edy's 1.5 oz ice cream containers.) For a smaller sized container, I prefer a 32 oz. size. I saved the container for Haagen Daaz Gelato (it pays to save things!!) and see it came in a one pint size - barely enough for two servings.
            (While looking through my saved containers, I see that the containers of applesauce bottles have that "hole" in the bottom that juts up into the interior space, reducing the overall space. That weight size was listed as 46 oz.)

            4 Replies
            1. re: FelafelBoy
              Veggo Apr 20, 2008 07:49 PM

              For a high percentage of items that are packaged in small quantities to provide the conveniences you cite, anything from lettuce to batteries to 12 oz. canned beverages, the cost of the packaging may exceed the cost of the product.
              "Loose stock" and large sizes will always be the best value.

              1. re: Veggo
                d
                dolores Apr 21, 2008 04:07 AM

                >> the cost of the packaging may exceed the cost of the product.

                Exactly, Veggo. As well as the plethora of commercials convincing those who don't do the math that 'new and improved and smaller' is a better mouse trap.

              2. re: FelafelBoy
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                dolores Apr 21, 2008 04:06 AM

                Very good summary, FelafelBoy. As long as the consumer is familiar with 'caveat emptor', they are welcome to the 'new and improved' smaller sizes.

                However, since the deceptive ice cream manufacturers are charging me the same for 56 (and soon 48) ounces as they were for 64, I would like a return to real half gallons.

                Which, like the Dodo, are gone with the wind.

                1. re: dolores
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                  FelafelBoy Apr 21, 2008 10:17 PM

                  I don't know har far we will go with this, but I was reminded of smaller packaging in two different ways - I think for some time now, ice cream was sold in those really small containers with that small wooden spoon - in a way, I respect those containers, because they were not pretentious - they were exactly what they appeared to be - barely enough for a one serving snack. I mention this, because I was given one of those miniature sized Pringles containers that barely has ten pringles in them - they are meant for a one snack meal, but I can't help but wonder if people realize how much they are paying for the packaging of the chips. In this case, the packaging is likely more costly than the contents.

                  With the attention on reducing waste, I think the smaller the packaging, the greater the amount of waste, as many products have packaging inside packaging. Sort of like the design of those Russian dolls that open up to a smaller doll inside the previous doll. (In this regard, the one advantage of Edy's ice cream packaging is a minimization of packaging. Many ice cream manufacturers do put a plastic security seal over their containers. Edy's doesn't. It amazes me that they trust that there is no need for extra security in this regard.

              3. Veggo Apr 20, 2008 03:22 PM

                The holy grail of deceptive packaging may have been the ubiquitous WW2 era 6.5 ounce Coke bottle with the waist and thick green glass. It's 6.5 ounce contents could be contained in a sphere of 2.85 inches in diameter. By comparison, a tennis ball is 2.5 -2.625 inches in diameter. They were good... to themselves.

                1. Cheese Boy Apr 19, 2008 06:26 PM

                  I'm surprised nobody mentioned the fact that this was lactose-free vanilla ice cream made with lactose-free milk. One gallon of lactose-free milk costs significantly *more* than regular milk and easily twice as much as one gallon of gasoline. With that said, customers are not going to spend a small fortune on ice cream to satisfy their sweet tooth, and ice cream companies know this. They in turn, deceive us. They deceive us on what we perceive. Coffee companies are most notorious for this practice. Coffee cans are the same size, they're just not filled all the way. Consumers are only willing to pay so much for what they perceive to be their *usual* can of coffee or as in this case, their *usual* container of ice cream. Companies don't want to lose your loyalty because of pricing issues, so to keep prices *frozen* at what they are or where, companies shrink package sizes, or just place less in them and yet charge you the same $ amount.

                  Hershey's chocolate bars used to be sixteen ounces each for .99 cents. They presently have the same "look" (dimensions) as they did years ago except nowadays they're only FIVE ounces each for .99 cents. Pretty deceptive, don't you agree?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Cheese Boy
                    Veggo Apr 19, 2008 07:07 PM

                    The single-serving Hershey bar, with or without almonds, cost 5 cents in 1959. Commodity prices and other cost increases compelled a doubling of the price by 1970, and obviously many base price increases since. But the weight of Hershey bars, in the standard sized packaging, varied almost unnoticed and almost constantly, for decades, in increments of 1/20th of an ounce.
                    The economists at Hershey were considered to be so prescient and accurate at predicting commodity price increases and reacting quickly, that some business schools, mine included, used Hershey bar weights as an economic forecasting tool in the 70's. I shared this item about a year ago on a different thread and jfood (U of Chicago) asked me (Wharton) if I still had my work papers from our study, but I don't. By the way, Hershey is totally owned by a charitable educational foundation. Mr. Hershey had no children.

                    1. re: Veggo
                      Cheese Boy Apr 19, 2008 07:28 PM

                      Veggo, I found it quite entertaining (and disturbing) to watch a Hershey bar be whittled away over the course of several decades, but I find it even more entertaining to learn that business schools used Hershey bar weights as an economic forecasting tool in the 70's. ... Very interesting.

                      1. re: Cheese Boy
                        Veggo Apr 19, 2008 07:44 PM

                        CB, they were good and you stick with winners. The current maneuver with chocolatiers is testing market acceptance/resistance to imitation chocolate. Cocoa has eclipsed 1300 euros/ton, and with its limited growing areas in volatile parts of the world coupled with unabated sweet tooths in India and China, chocolate is emerging as brown gold, soon to be too expensive for kiddie treats. Watch.
                        And to connect the dots with this thread, chocolate ice cream will be delivered in refrigerated armored cars, I predict.

                        1. re: Veggo
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                          FelafelBoy Apr 20, 2008 02:48 PM

                          Good point and correct reasoning. However, Breyer's Lactose-Free Vanilla ice cream, to the best of my knowledge, was priced at the same level as most of their other flavors, which also, have increased by the same amount of price, and decreased in container size.

                          Although lactose free milk costs more than "regular" milk, keep in mind, this product (the ice cream) doesn't have some of the other items (like fruit, pieces of cake, etc.) that some other flavors have. Those other items must add to the cost of the ice cream. For the LF V ice cream that this thread started out with, that product contains few ingredients.

                          Turkey Hill brand packages their products in two different sizes - 1.5 and 1.75oz, according to the variety of product. Supposedly, the more premium brand commands a smaller size. Come to think of it, that's a good marketing ploy isn't it - the perception that a product packaged in a smaller container suggests a more highly valued commodity, one that has a limited supply.

                          Funny, some posts ago I was going to mention some other food products that are now packaged in smaller sizes, but thought that might take the focus away from ice cream. Seems like I've touched a raw nerve that others have with the packaging of other products.

                          (I was going to start posting about that "hole" on the bottom of plastic containers that cannot be seen/noticed unless you turn the container over. It takes away from the volume content size of the container without being perceived as such by the consumer ... he/she looks at the container and thinks what is seen is what exists. It's a very clever design, if you are the manufacturer, that is. I have noticed that "hole" in containers for items such as mayonnaise and hummus. I first became aware of it in a small container of hummus that didn't seem to have as much of that item as the container led me to believe. I then noticed that the bottom center of the container was much higher than the rest of the bottom. Sure enough, that "protrusion" was cutting into the space for food and thus reducing the content. I noticed it later in containers of mayonnaise that were of reduced weight even though the container looked identical to what I had seen previously. I thought, "how could the same sized container contain less weight of a product?" Answer? When there is some space taken away from the actual volume for the container. How to conceal that? Modify the bottom of the container, the space of which is not visible when the container is viewed in the normal way by the consumer.)

                          Regarding chocolate - Cadbury's, which I consider a richer and more "milky" tasting chocolate (and better by that criteria) than Hershey's markets their small chocolate bars in a lighter weight sized bar than Hershey's. I think Hershey's is still about 5 oz, whereas Cadbury's is a little less, perhaps 4.5oz.

                          Think of how in cereals, while the packaging may remain constant, how some manufacturers save money by cutting down on added ingredients like raisins, nuts, fruit, etc. Recently Post brand took the opposite approach, and actually ADDED ingrediens to and truly IMPROVED on one of their products, "Grape Nuts." Its variation on that cereal called "Trail Mix", has lighter tasting grape nuts, and additional nuts (almonds), raisins, and cranberries. The first time I tasted it, I was amazed at how much better that cereal tasted than the original . I doubt I will ever go back to the original Grape Nuts after tasting the newer version and modification of that cereal. This is similar to what happens when ice cream manufacturers change their product, reducing its quality, such as putting more air into it, cutting down on packaging size, and raising the price. Consumers like myself look for other brands, which is why I am currently attracted more to the medium priced Edy's brand. I am willing at times to pay a premium for a premium brand, made with "healthier ingredients, such as the brand "Soy Delicious." Not exactly the real thing, but it is an interesting variation on ice cream and one can believe they are eating something healty and not addicting! I rarely buy that kind of thing, because I am not willing to eat just a few spoonfuls of ice cream nor do I have the discipline to do that, and when I indulge, it's hard for me to justify the cost of such a treat if done consistently. Once in awhile, I can forget about my need to rationalize getting "good value for the dollar."

                          Then again, buying these premium brands is still cheaper than getting ice cream at most ice cream stores now. I wonder if there are standards on the composition of gelato. The few times I have had it out, I have thought it far superior to most ice cream. Hagan Daaz used to make it, but there was insufficient demand for it so they discontinued selling it, at least where I live. I thought that ice cream was much better than most other brans. If there were standards for it, it seems like a gelato could not be made with inferior quality, which seems to be the trend in many kinds of ice cream now, and with increasing costs for manufactering it, I suspect the trend will continue.

                          1. re: Veggo
                            t
                            tarteaucitron Apr 20, 2008 04:00 PM

                            Interesting historical background on the Hershey bars.

                            I totally believe in the prediction of the impending unaffordability of chocolate. Unfortunately as a mere consumer, the only strategy I can think of in the face of this, is to start training my tastebuds so that they get sharp enough, to allow me to get satisfied with increasingly small quantities of the "brown gold".

                      2. re: Cheese Boy
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                        FelafelBoy Apr 20, 2008 02:34 PM

                        Previous post in this space was incorrectly positioned in the thread. Please ignore!

                        1. re: FelafelBoy
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                          dolores Apr 20, 2008 02:45 PM

                          >>Come to think of it, that's a good marketing ploy isn't it - the perception that a product packaged in a smaller container suggests a more highly valued commodity, one that has a limited supply.

                          Yes, isn't that hilarious? And some might actually believe it.

                          Witness the H-D 'reserve' pints.

                          Again, a sucker born every minute.

                        2. re: Cheese Boy
                          d
                          dolores Apr 20, 2008 02:44 PM

                          >>Pretty deceptive, don't you agree?

                          Absolutely.

                        3. h
                          Hue Apr 19, 2008 02:45 PM

                          Many manufacturers try to avoid an extremely high price on their product at the point of sale. Hence a 1# can of coffee becomes a 13 ounce can of coffee, and a half gallon of ice cream becomes after a time 1.5 Qts or 48 ounces.
                          There is an actual "standard of identity" that a product must meet to be called Ice Cream. Certain percentages of butterfat and overrun(air) must be met. Breyers had a product called Cyclone that was identified as a Frozen Dairy Dessert, it was at about 200% overrun.
                          Ice Cream is sold by volume not weight, next time you are in a store pick up an inexpensive Ice Cream and a pint of say Haagen Dazs and notice the weights.
                          Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerrys have hight butterfat percentages 15-18% and less overrun.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Hue
                            m
                            Mellicita Apr 26, 2008 10:36 PM

                            I recall an episode of Alton Brown's Good Eats, where he melted down cheaper store brand type icecreams and compared them to the premium icecreams (eg Haagen Dazs). He demonstrated that the reason the price was lower on non-premium brands was because they were packed full of extra air (overrun) and that the premiums actually didn't cost all that much more if you calculated the price per volume of fluid you were getting.

                            1. re: Mellicita
                              d
                              dolores Apr 27, 2008 06:30 AM

                              Good to know, Mellicita. Thank you.

                          2. q
                            Querencia Apr 18, 2008 10:21 PM

                            Re smaller package sizes like a half-gallon of ice cream now being 1.5 quarts and five pounds of sugar actually being four, a couple of years ago Jewel Foods in Chicago advertised (now this took real nerve) a "12-ounce pint of blueberries".

                            1. Tbird1980 Apr 18, 2008 10:02 PM

                              I am glad packaging is getting smaller b/c it helps me control my portion size. Like the tiny little Ben and Jerry's. I have no will power. I have noticed how much more expensive those little babies are. I guess it is because of the individual packaging.

                              1. m
                                mlgb Apr 18, 2008 04:52 PM

                                You might not have noticed, but reducing package size is fairly widespread. Basic food products like milk, wheat and corn keep getting more expensive, it's one way to "sneak in" a price increase more gently.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: mlgb
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                                  FelafelBoy Apr 18, 2008 09:48 PM

                                  Yes, I forgot about the change of packaging that Dannon did. But, prior to that, their container was alot larger than the container used by Yoplait which evidently was popular. Interesting that when fast food places were supersizing their portions (of semi-junk food), here we have more real food downsizing portions!!

                                  Yes, I know about the need to put some air into ice cream, but I am talking about the obvious volume increase put into ice cream by some of these ice cream makers to cut down on product content - that coupled with a price increase and container decrease results in a triple whammy to the consumer - less product, less value, lower quality.

                                  I have no problem with this version of ice cream, but at least give consumers a choice - and that's why I have switched to Edy's for most of my ice cream purchases. So far, its orange creamery ice cream, or whatever it's called, consisting of a blend of vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet is still rich and not too airy.

                                  I bought Breyer's (lactose free vanilla) because they don't add too many artificial ingredients like some other ice cream makers.

                                  Beware of some bottle containers for other products like mayonnaise and hummus. The bottom of the containers often have this big hole that cuts right up into the container itself reducing the overall volume. The first time I saw this, I thought, "how sneaky!!" Then I thought, "how ingenuous!" I'd guess many people assume the bottom of the container is flat.

                                  With the cost of materials increasing, these manufactureres will continue to be creative with creating the illusion that consumers are getting good value for their dollar and not having the cost of their food increase that much. Commodity prices are going up, and we should continue to see increased prices on many food products. I'd rather not see the QUALITY of the food product compromised.

                                  (I think the box size of crackers also shrunk about two years ago. Even cereal boxes are shrinking too. I see that some cereal manufacturers are packaging their products in a mini version. The price is much more per serving than if purchased in a larger quantity. There is an optimum serving size for ice cream, though, to retain its freshness. Edy's has a unique packaging, in that they don't use a plastic sealer for protection - you just remove the lid that has no packaging protection, and there the ice cream is ... according to the company, when they fill the container to the top, the seal is created by that process. Once in awhile, I have gotten freezer burned ice cream due to the seal not being present.)

                                  1. re: FelafelBoy
                                    d
                                    dolores Apr 19, 2008 02:48 AM

                                    FelafelBoy, I just remembered where it all started here in Westchester -- with a can of coffee. Formerly a pound, it went down pretty quickly to 13 ounces. There it's been, for a long while, surprisingly.

                                    Yes, cereal is no longer 16 ounces, and I remember also calling Lipton Cup of Soup when they gave less packets in their box. Again (company mantra?) I was told: it is what the consumer wanted. Riiiiight.

                                    And again, guess what we the consumers who notice can do about it? You guessed it, bupkus.

                                    Oh, and I just thought of another boondoggle -- the cookies that are separated and marketed 'to go' or the 100 calorie snacks. Because, don't you know, I can't separate my own cookies and put them in a baggie. Or figure out how much of a package is 100 calories all by my self. Sheesh.

                                    I'll hazard a guess that it will get better before it gets...wait, it won't get better, so no need to finish that sentence. It will just keep getting worse.

                                    1. re: dolores
                                      Caitlin McGrath Apr 19, 2008 04:44 PM

                                      "Oh, and I just thought of another boondoggle -- the cookies that are separated and marketed 'to go' or the 100 calorie snacks. Because, don't you know, I can't separate my own cookies and put them in a baggie. Or figure out how much of a package is 100 calories all by my self. Sheesh."

                                      No one's forcing you to buy the snack packs. It's not like they've stopped selling regular boxes of cookies. Go ahead and do your own dividing - or not. There's no scam being run on you, however.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
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                                        dolores Apr 20, 2008 02:42 PM

                                        >>There's no scam being run on you, however.

                                        That's right, not on me there isn't. But on those who haven't done the 'per cookie' price of those 'handy' snack packs there is.

                                        But you're perfectly correct. If someone wants to pay three times the price because they don't know how to separate a few cookies from their tray and package them in aluminum foil and then in a baggie, they are quite free to do so.

                                        As P.T. Barnum supposedly said, there's one born every minute.

                                    2. re: FelafelBoy
                                      s
                                      six_string_21 Apr 26, 2008 03:53 PM

                                      Not only are packages decreasing in size, but Breyer's, and particularly Edy's, are coming out with products that are not even ice cream. Look at the carton. If it says "Frozen Dairy Desert", like Edy's "Loaded", "Butter Pecan", "Cookie Dough", etc., it does not meet the legal requirements to be called Ice Cream. The primary ingredient is whey, as opposed to ice cream which lists milk, cream, and so on as primary ingredients. This "Frozen Dairy" stuff is horrible. There is no quality control anymore at Edy's and they're trying to pull one over on us.

                                      1. re: six_string_21
                                        l
                                        Laura D. May 5, 2008 06:31 PM

                                        I actually happen to enjoy the Overloaded products from Edy's, despite being fully aware that they are a "Frozen Dairy Dessert" as opposed to ice cream. Not only are they loaded with all of the junk that I love (i.e. cookie dough, peanut butter cups, brownies, etc) but they are lower in fat and calories than a comparable flavor ice cream would be Sure, there's lots of artificial stuff in it, but then again I'm not consuming ice cream and similar products under the guise that I am doing my body any favors. It's an indulgence and I'm okay with that.

                                  2. jfood Apr 18, 2008 07:56 AM

                                    Jfood gave up buying ice cream in the store about 2 years ago. And he was a "half-gallon" a week eater.

                                    As the weather is now turning to ice-cream time he will begin to make his own again. With the "price increase" associated with the smaller package it is almost, if not, cheaper to make his own and it's way better.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: jfood
                                      a
                                      anzu Apr 18, 2008 01:02 PM

                                      Ah, if only that were an option!

                                      The way I figure with the ice cream prices, it's like juice for me. Some people drink a lot of juice, so they buy the concentrated stuff. My parents used to do that, b/c there were 3 of us kids. But since I buy juice rarely (several times a year?), when I do get a craving for it, I'll suck it up and buy the really expensive freshly-squeezed kind. Likewise with ice cream (though I buy it far more often than several times a year. . .). I've tried the Breyers, Edys, Dreyers, and for some reason, I don't like it as much as Haagen Dazs, Ben and Jerry's, etc. They end up costing twice as much as buying the larger tubs, but with ice cream, I rarely do the single-serve. Mostly, b/c I feel like why pay $2.50 for a serving of Baskin Robins when I can get a pint for a few dollars more if I delay my gratification a bit, so that's what I end up doing a lot, and then thinking I "saved" money or at least got a better deal. :) It's probably akin to thinking you "saved" money when you spend $300 on a sale item that you wouldn't have otherwise bought, but by parallel logic, when I buy the $3-$4 pints, I feel like I'm still "saving money".

                                      Of course, if I had a family of 5, I'm sure many of my food consumption habits would change (e.g. aforementioned OJ example). . ..

                                      1. re: anzu
                                        d
                                        dolores Apr 18, 2008 01:25 PM

                                        FelafelBoy, this dirty trick on the part of food manufacturers began more than five years ago with Dannon, which reduced their yogurt container to six ounces from eight. When I called them, they said it was ‘what the customer wanted’. Right.

                                        Fast forward a few years, and I notice Turkey Hill had reduced their ‘half gallon’ from 64 to 56 (and soon to 48) ounces. When called on it, they said ‘oh we haven’t gotten any complaints but we’ll send you a coupon for a free near-half gallon’. Lovely.

                                        Oh, and Dove has now reduced their ‘pint’ to 15.4 ounces.

                                        Anzu, I boycotted Turkey Hill for awhile but it didn’t work. Homemade ice cream is too good and is gone in a flash. At least the TH near-HG lasts two days.

                                        Disgusting, ain’t it? And there ain’t a thing we can do about it.

                                        1. re: dolores
                                          coney with everything Apr 22, 2008 08:06 AM

                                          Don't you love it when companies shrug their corporate shoulders and cite "customer demand"? It's what the customer wanted. Yeah, as a customer I always want less provided to me for more money. Sheesh.

                                          1. re: coney with everything
                                            f
                                            FelafelBoy Apr 22, 2008 11:06 PM

                                            I also recall Dannon's response to "consumer demand" for a smaller sized container for their yogurt. That 8 oz. container really did serve as a more filling amount for yogurt than the smaller 6 oz container.

                                            I wonder how many people ate from the 8 oz. container and said, "this is so filling, I must put the remaining half that I cannot finish now for another day." I'd love to know if they did focus groups and the majority of people preferred the smaller size. If they did, they probably used the yogurt as an appetizer for their next course, perhaps a supersized portion of some other food that had not yet been downsized!

                                            Just think, with all the smaller single size boxes of "snack/processed" foods like granola mixes, cereals, etc., a person could combine everything and make their own meal, such as something consisting of a mixture of yogurt mixed with the granola and/or cereal and/or trail mix. Let's see, that small snack would come to over $2. A reminder of why buying in bulk or larger sizes and/or making your own such mixtures is more cost effective. Just as buying some items at those minimarts for convenience is offset by the premium charged for such "convenience."

                                            Fortunately, bananas are still relatively inexpensive, as are apples. I guess sometime in the future, such real food will cost a premium as the cost of transportation and increasing demand for food on the planet drives up the cost of food. Currently, there is a premium charged for the so-called "convenience" foods and those which are more oriented toward impulsive eating habits (like that which one cannot do without, like a drug fix).

                                            1. re: FelafelBoy
                                              d
                                              dolores Apr 23, 2008 07:31 AM

                                              Excellently put, coneywitheverything and FelafelBoy.

                                              I guess it's all about the flash (the advertising) and not the substance (the truth behind those smaller sizes).

                                        2. re: anzu
                                          jfood Apr 18, 2008 02:04 PM

                                          What jfood has found is the home made beats the craving faster and jfood eats less than store bought Turkey Hill. And for some reason when he buys Phish Food it seems to disappear in one sitting.

                                          So jfood keeps his Cuisinart bagel in the downstairs freezer and uses Ben and Jerry Cookbook or on-line recipes.

                                          You should try it, very good.

                                      2. r
                                        ricepad Apr 18, 2008 07:43 AM

                                        EVERY ice cream producer adds air to their product, or else it'd freeze up in a brick and be completely unscoopable. Churning ice cream bases is essentially low-speed whipping to keep the product smooth. In the industry, it's called "overrun", and even the highest quality ice creams have at least 100% overrun (meaning that their volumes are increased 100% by the addition of air). Lower quality ice creams have even more overrun, which may make them easier to scoop - since it's less dense - but also lowers the net volume of product and improves the bottom line.

                                        As for the shrinking size, I'm pretty sure that Dreyer's/Edy's was the first to cut their packaging size (around 2002, IIRC), and I also seem to recall their marketing department came out with some BS story about how the smaller package fits better into "modern freezers", or some such baloney. Of course, they didn't lower the price per unit any, so I'm sure the increased profits fit better into "modern balance sheets", too.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ricepad
                                          a
                                          alamedaandy Jun 29, 2008 02:52 PM

                                          Ricepad, you statement that "even the highest quality ice creams have at least 100% overrun" is incorrect. The highest overrun that can be incorporated into ice cream to still be legally called ice cream (ice cream is a term that is regulated by the federal government) is 100%. Therefore, you will not find an ice cream on the market that has more than 100% overrun. Most cheap-o ice creams go right up to 100%, but not over.

                                        2. a
                                          anzu Apr 17, 2008 02:31 PM

                                          Since I'm just one person, I usually buy just the pint-sized containers. A Haagen Dazs or Ben and Jerry's will run about $3.99 ish for a pint. I usually wait till they go on sale, but even then, it's like $3 or occasionally $2.50. However, it usually lasts me a week or so, even if I eat it every day. I do see the larger containers that are twice as big or larger for almost the same price as the pint-sized ones. But a) it wouldn't fit in my freezer, and b) unless I'm in the mood for ice cream, even the pint-sized one might sit in the freezer for months, so I can't imagine how long it would take for me to go through the larger sizes.

                                          Breyers ice cream has a lot less calories per serving size than Hagen Dazs does. But then I looked at and felt the box, and it's also substantially lighter. I guess they add air to theirs.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: anzu
                                            f
                                            FelafelBoy Apr 17, 2008 11:37 PM

                                            anzu - your ability to make a pint of ice cream last one week is unbelievable. But as you said, because the ice cream is richer than the lower premium quality ice creams may explain why you are able to not consume the pint at one sitting.

                                            By the way, the brand Turkey Hill Ice Cream's containers are 1.75 oz, except for their new line of ice cream consisting of two different flavors, something called "Duo" or something like that. I think even Turkey Hill is putting more air into their ice cream. Edy's, so far, has maintained a denser ice cream, in a larger container (1.75 oz, I believe), making it harder to consume the entire container at one sitting.

                                            Hipquest's explaination of airier ice cream leading to freezer burn makes sense.

                                            I did try some time ago, Edy's "Dreamery" line of pint sized ice cream. Amazing graphics on their packaging and superrich ice cream. It was too rich for me. Their New York strawberry cheesecake ice cream tasted like chilled/frozen cheesecake. It was so rich, I couldn't take more than several spoonfuls, which for me, is unbelievable.

                                            To me, it's scandalous that some of these companies are airing up their ice cream, decreasing the size of the packaging, and charging more for an inferior product. Once I know that's happening, I try other brands, or buy only when the product is significantly discounted. No way I'm paying $6 and more for an inferior product.

                                            1. re: FelafelBoy
                                              c
                                              Cinnamom Apr 18, 2008 06:16 AM

                                              I had the same experience just this week with the b1g1 offer for Breyers. I didn't even realize the sizes were different until I put the two containers next to each other- one was 1.75, one 1.5. Does anybody actually pay the full $6? I hope not. I was disappointed that I had to put my cherry vanilla back to find something that came in the larger size-- opted for dulce de leche. Meh. And I've noticed the air content lately as well! I have not been enjoying the new, frothy Breyers ice cream, and that used to be my favorite brand! Does anybody know if you can get Turkey Hill in the Chicago area? Does it have as much air as Breyers? I'll have to try the Dreamery next time.

                                            2. re: anzu
                                              t
                                              tarteaucitron Apr 18, 2008 05:00 PM

                                              Wow. The same tub of Haagen Daz sells for about $6.99 +taxes, at most stores where I live.

                                              1. re: tarteaucitron
                                                Caitlin McGrath Apr 18, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                Yes, but it sells for $6.99 Canadian, as opposed to $3.99 US.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                  t
                                                  tarteaucitron Apr 19, 2008 08:43 AM

                                                  Exactly. As of today, 1 CAD is still worth about 1 USD. And with the heavier taxes in Canada (where I am now), it looks like I'm paying 2x here...

                                                  1. re: tarteaucitron
                                                    Miss Needle May 4, 2008 08:28 PM

                                                    I've go to say that's pretty pricey. But I bought a pint of Haagen Daz a few weeks ago at my local store for $6.50 in NYC.

                                            3. hipquest Apr 16, 2008 10:14 PM

                                              Interesting post. The weight is less and the companies that "inflate" their ice cream cause it to get freezer burn and ice crystals much, much faster causing inedible ice cream after just a few days of opening the container. Yuck!

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