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Nov 9, 2008 08:48 PM

Can someone explain to me the angst people have towards smaller food packaging?

Yes, I know it sucks to pay the same amount of money for a smaller box of cereal, or carton of ice cream, or jar of peanut butter.

But what's the alternative?

Would people be happier, or less peeved, if the food packaging size stayed the same but the price increased?

I'm not necessarily happy about either of these alternatives, but I've simply come to accept it as (1) part of general inflation (2) rising commodity prices (3) corporate profits and (4) a combo of all three.

Same price, smaller packaging ... "food companies are being deceptive! shame on them!"

Higher price, same packaging ... "food companies are being greedy! shame on them!"

I just don't get the angst ... esp. when the alternative isn't all that better.

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  1. The packaging itself is rarely smaller, and someone used to buying a product rarely checks the amount. If the companies consistently used smaller packages it would not be as misleading.

    For recipes that have units based on, for example, "one can" it will throw off the recipe - especially for baking.

    1. I haven't noticed any reduced sized packaging. What I have noticed is regular or larger sized packaging that is as little as half full when you open it. That ticks me off! Not because of any "overcharging" (you do buy by weight or count, which is unchanged), but the extra shelf space it takes up is a pain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Caroline1

        Good point. Make it smaller overall, fill it to brim, list the volume, etc., and be done with it. Let's campaign for more choices within the same shelf space and not waste packaging, whether it's paper, or plastic.


      2. ""But what's the alternative?"

        I pay for the better/larger part of a deal, whenever possible.

        Now, not always is the family/giant/bulk size item be a better deal. I mean cost per ounce can be higher in the larger form, for some odd reason. Items placed on sale or feature will generally be of a brand's general moving size. I have seen people debating in getting a large #10 can vs several other cans of the same item and have no clue of which way to go. I looked and at the time the #10 can of beans was 11 cents per oz, with the regular cans going for 7 cents a can while on sale, 9 cents was the regular price.

        I lose my cool whenever they expect me to pay beyond what I feel as reasonable for whatever the item is. Like recently Save-A-Lot started carrying barley at $2.49 a box when I can get it everyday for under $1.40. The stuff can develop shelf rot as far as I am concerned.

        1. Food packaging makes up a huge amount of the waste stream...

          1 Reply
          1. re: lgss

            Yes. The trend right now seems to be packaging individual serving sizes (i.e. 100 calorie packs) in little bags in a box of 8. All that extra material for far less food. It just seems so lazy and wasteful to not take the time to put a serving size of Cheez-its in your own reuseable container.

          2. As the saying goes, you cannot please everyone. Jfood agrees that the angst people have to payingthe same for smaller packages is understandable but the level of the vitriol seems a bit much. Companies are trying to survive and they have three choices:

            1 - keep package size the same andincrease price
            2 - shrink package size and keep the price the same
            3 - decrease the expenses associated with the contents usually by reducing quality

            Sometimes companies do more than one of these.

            Jfood also understands in these times it is important to watch every dollar and the idea that thepound of coffee is now 12 oz or the half gallon of ice cream has shrunk 12-25% is unnerving. but it's just part of life. Jfood remembers $0.05 candy bars, change back from your dollar at McD's and $0.15 bread. But times are different and everything is more expensive. Remember gasoline at $0.29 per gallon?

            The one thingthat bothers jfood is many of his recipes call for a 28oz can of something and the new size is 22 oz. Now what to do, by 2 and place most of can 2 in a container in the fridge? Sorta adds to the cost of the dish.

            And in CT/NY the grocers have not only the price for anitem but the comparable price for an item. So the can at 28 oz can be compared per ounce to the can sized at 22.8 oz. If you want to see some interesting differences look at detergent and soap for dishes, huuuuge spread.

            So is jfood happy, nope, but he does the best he can, reads the size of the container and the price per oz and then decides which to buy.

            2 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              I do not know how large your family is (the one dining at the Jfood table most nights), but for me, I choose #2, then #1, and please, please do not even consider #3.

              Down the way, you relate to size/quantity disparities. I'm all for a pack of Johnsonville Brats containing 8, not 10 brats, to match the number of buns in a pack. I get more upset over that little disparity, than any package re-sizing. What do I do with those two extra brats? My Bulldogs are on a special diet! Still, I loose not sleep over this issue. It is, as it has been, and I've gotten by for all these years, with little damage, or even lost sleep.

              "The one thingthat bothers jfood is many of his recipes call for a 28oz can of something and the new size is 22 oz. Now what to do, by 2 and place most of can 2 in a container in the fridge? Sorta adds to the cost of the dish. "

              And he, or Mrs Jfood, buys a nice kitchen calculator. Hey, I have an old slide rule to give ya'...

              Oh, did I urge the producers to NOT choose door #3?


              1. re: Bill Hunt

                Jfood is indifferent to #1 and #2 since he eats everything that comes into the house. And he agrees #3 is unacceptable.

                Jfood had that same argument with the last two hot dog rolls last week. HN and Pepperidge farm have different hot dog & bun counts. Always a WTF moment.

                And jfood did have a slide rule so he understands the concept all to well. Infact he actually used one in HS for a test. And he has a great digital scale.

                And currently there are M&M jfood in a normal dinner with me sitting between them looking for hand outs. Every Sunday night one of the little jfoods comes over with a friend to keep the jfoods young.