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which products have you stopped buying because of price increases or volume decreases?

we're having a discussion here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/588516 in which some hounds tell us they've stopped -- or intend to stop -- buying certaIn products from certain manufacturers because the price has increased or the size or volume has decreased.

i'm curious as to how many of you have done this; specifically, which particular products have you stopped buying for either of these two reasons? be specific. also, if you wish, tell us what you "substituted."

we've hashed through the economics arguments, and the allegations of "thievery." so let's SKIP THOSE HERE, please. stay focused like a laser beam.

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  1. one example is fellow hound dolores, who has indicated that she will no longer buy edy's, turkey hill or haagen-daz ice creams, because of their reductions in product volume while keeping the same price. she hasn't indicated any acceptable substitute, afaik.

    dolores: please report and remove this if you don't want it here. thanks.

    2 Replies
    1. re: alkapal

      Um...I don't think you you can go naming a particular hound and then also expect to keep her line of argument out of the thread. That doesn't seem fair.

      1. re: ccbweb

        Not a problem, as I've noted I have no problem with anyone who wants to pay more money for less product.

        To answer your question, and as you know, Turkey Hill, Edy's and now Haagen Dazs.

        Thanks for the callout, alkapal.

    2. Eh, so far I am just making sure I know what I'm buying. I will stop buying anything that doesn't seem like the appropriate amount, such as a smaller box of macaroni when I need a pound. (I haven't run into that problem yet that I can remember. Certain types of dry pasta such as tri-color rotini have always tended to come in 12oz boxes, but I still get Barilla elbows for mac and cheese in a 1lb box no problem.) If everyone switches to the smaller sizes, well, we'll have to see.

      Ice cream, which began the other thread, isn't a real issue to me. I try to notice if I'm getting less than a pint. I remember last year that I found some brand doing not-quite-pints, but it still varies. When you're at the 2-1.75-1.5 quart size, I hardly think it matters.

      I just looked at a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi we have in the office here. It's still 2 liters. What will we call it when they change that size? What should we call a "half gallon" of ice cream? I guess that's a different thread. ;-) I think if they change 12oz cans of soft drinks I might have a problem, but these guys seem to be content to jack up the price instead. 20oz bottles (remember when these were 16oz?) as singles are an insane profit machine. I can buy a liter of Italian sparkling mineral water for less than a 20oz soda. That said, I think the 20oz soda could be endangered and end up downsized to a half liter instead. This would make it more standard with other products, not to mention other countries....

      4 Replies
      1. re: CrazyOne

        Bottles of soft drinks in six packs have been half liters for a while, at least for Coke products. I agree that the prices for 20 oz bottles are amazing - often the price of a 2 liter bottle is less than a 20 oz one in the same store!

        1. re: mpjmph

          I wonder if that's regional? Or maybe it's just because I don't look at Coke products as much. Apart from the Dasani water which comes in half liters for multi-packs, I haven't really noticed that. Pepsi makes 12oz bottles now, in a 12-pack, but the six packs of bottles are the even larger 24oz bottles.

          The thing is, if I buy a 2-liter I'd probably only get through half of it before the rest was too flat for me to drink. Can't stand that.

          1. re: CrazyOne

            I got a coupon for a free 20 oz bottle of Dr Pepper and discovered you can only get them at 7-Eleven or Walgreens or places like that. It would have been $1.59!

            1. re: CrazyOne

              I don't know if it's regional, but it could be. I usually buy cans rather than bottles, but my parents buy bottles in 6-packs, they have been half liters for several years at least. Coke also has 8-packs of 12 oz bottles and the traditional 12-packs of 12 oz cans.

              I noticed yesterday that the Pepsi bottles in 6-packs looked really, really large compared to the Coke bottles I'm used to.

        2. in my original post i've outlined the two scenarios in which the PER UNIT COST has INCREASED.
          reduced ounces in package at same cost = higher per unit (ounce) cost.
          same size/volume package/container at higher cost = higher per unit (ounce) cost.

          that some will pay a higher unit cost in one circumstance but not the other is quite fascinating to me (as mr. spock might say).

          according to the parameters of this thread, WHY the cost has increased or WHAT we think about the company that made the increase is IRRELEVANT!

          2 Replies
            1. re: CoryKatherine

              corykatherine, i see you're new to chowhound, so i'll just say "you had to be there".

          1. al, I know you mean packaged items, but your point has a broader reach. I live mostly in Florida, a prolific tomato-growing state, with 2 harvests annually. They are cheap during the few weeks of the harvest.
            Yesterday I paid $2.89 /lb. for one tomato for my BLT lunch today. It is from Canada.
            When tomatoes cost more than ground beef, I usually modify the menu and hold off on the crab-stuffed tomato and caprese salad until they are 99 cents/lb.
            And I used to love artichokes, but they are now for rich people.

            8 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              veggo, i too am often surprised that in local markets in florida, the produce -- esp. tomatoes -- is not local and not good. you have to go to the farmers market for the best tomato deals. how is your local farmer's market?

              1. re: alkapal

                My old reliable farm and market on my bicycle course in Ellenton has been plowed under to make way for a colossal FedEx distribution center. My parking lot mexican produce stand on highway 301 has about 2/3 of the fruits and vegetables I use, for about 1/2 the price of the supermarkets. They are not waxed or airbrushed, they are from the earth. I used to have a garden, and I remember life before Saran wrap and sprigs of parsley. And it's very fresh. And I can buy mangoes grown in Florida, the second-largest mango producing state. The mangoes in the supermarkets are from South America, and are picked so green you could use them to crush walnuts.
                EDIT: The "ugly" tomatoes yesterday in the Publix were $3.49 l/b.

                1. re: Veggo

                  Just curious, what are grapes (red seedless) going for per pound? Apples (gala or fuji)? Bananas?

                  1. re: enbell

                    Around Tampa Fuji's and Gala's go for $1.99/lb. regular price. $1.59 on sale, occasionally $1.29.

                    1. re: enbell

                      i just bought red grapes on sale at 99 cents per pound. but, craving some "real" tomato flavor (i grew up in florida, so i do know that deliciousness), i paid $4 for a small clamshell of "campari" tomatoes.

                      i only buy hellman's, but stock up on sale. summer and labor day and memorial day are good sale times (@ $2-- 2.50), and usually near thanksgiving and superbowl -- when people are entertaining with dips! christmas it is a bit higher in the sale prices.

                      i buy whatever good bread is on sale. pepp farm country white is quite nice, and is now 'BOGO' -- making it $2 each (and with BOGO at harris teeter, you don't have to buy two to get the BOGO price! yay!). this goes well with the excellent deli roast turkey breast @ $3.99 per pound on sale. i just got a great deal on eggs. 30 large eggs -- $3. quiche, baby, here i come; hello, mr. omelette! deviled eggs, talk to me! ;-).

                      i always scour the sale flyers from three nearby chain markets. whenever there is a good deal, i'll stock up.

                      the artisanal loaves are a treat. currently, i have a great fruit and nut bread from harris teeter, but it is sliced, and frozen. i treat myself every few days by toasting a slice, and smearing it with butter. maybe a little shake of cinnamon-sugar!

                      1. re: enbell

                        en, red seedless grapes are $1.79, bananas are $.59 /lb.
                        Florida tomatoes will be on sale tomorrow for $.99 l/b at Publix, at least in my area. I still do better at my mexican roadside stand for the items they have (no grapes or apples)
                        P.S. Interesting new avatar, Erin. Can you explain it to us? Thanks.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Thanks for the "price check, aisle nine." Totally comparable to the going prices in Boise. A few Asian groceries have harder to find items, but no real roadside stands up here...bummer. Even Reno had a good size Mexican grocery store.

                          So, the avatar is just your basic animal cell (complete copyright infringement straight from the web site of an old textbook, shoot - I hope they're not on to me). I am just an old science geek at heart, and racerx, another hound, actually had the same biohazard sign for an avatar. I'm not a fan of duplicates, and thought I'd give this a go...whaddya think?

                2. If I ever stopped buying something because of the price increase (or volume decrease) I would end up starving to death ... All foods increase in price at some point.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Actually, they're reducing the quantity rather than raising the price.

                    Macaroni is now sold in boxes under a pound, requiring two boxes to make a recipe calling for a pound of macaroni.

                    Tuna has shrunk, as has the mayo, and no doubt the relish. The prices have stayed the same or have gone up, so people are paying more for less.

                    Guldens took away the former 1 pound plus jars of mustard in most supermarkets, replacing them with a shiny toy for those not paying attention, i.e., a squeeze bottle. Per ounce, I'm sure the cost is laughable. I managed to find the former pound plus jars and stocked up.

                    Of course, as more and more manufacturers lower the quantity while keeping the price the same, it will be harder and harder to find the products in their original form.

                    1. re: dolores

                      Dolores, I'm sure you're tired of talking about this, but I'm very curious as to why you refuse to purchase a product if they reduce quantity but keep the same price but it's okay when they raise prices and keep the same quantity. Is it a matter of principle? Or is it because you use these products for certain recipes that call for things like a box of cake mix or a pint of ice cream?

                      1. re: Miss Needle

                        Miss Needle, my opinion would involve the words 'thievery' and 'duplicity' and alcapal made it quite clear that this thread is about something else.

                        1. re: dolores

                          Yeah, I won't go down that road too far except to point out that these same companies that are complaining about rising costs don't seem to have a problem spending all the money on redesigning the packaging (especially in order to disguise the volume decrease) and, in many cases, retooling their plant to deal with the different packaging. One has to wonder how much higher the price of that Breyers half gallon of ice cream would really need to be if they hadn't switched to a 1.75 qt and then 1.5qt package over a short period of time?

                          And, yes, I've boycotted further purchases of Breyers because of their heavy handed employment of the 'grocery shrink ray'. I wouldn't have had a problem if they had just raised the price but object to their obvious attempts to 'slip one past' those of us pushing the shopping carts.

                      2. re: dolores

                        << Macaroni is now sold in boxes under a pound, requiring two boxes to make a recipe calling for a pound of macaroni. >>

                        So? I mean, unless you're cooking for 6, that's a huge recipe to begin with, so aren't you likely to be reducing it anyhow?

                        1. re: tmso

                          Believe me tmso, you're fighting a losing battle here regarding a discussion of reductions in the sizes of recipes.

                        2. re: dolores

                          reducing the quanitity IS raising the price

                          1. re: thew

                            I know that, thew, that's my point to those who insist it is not. I reread my post and of course you are correct.

                            Not only is it raising the price, but it is duplicity on the part of the stupid consumer who is happy that the price isn't being raised, when in fact it is being raised with the lowering of quantity. And the further lowering of quantity is a continued raising of price. And then the manufacturer will come out with a PR release that due to the pressures on them, that they just HAVE to raise prices on their 4X lowered quantity items, BUT the quality won't be reduced.

                            So, if the consumer is stupid enough to buy all this, they are more than welcome to it.

                            1. re: dolores

                              um, the point has ALWAYS been that it is a PER UNIT COST INCREASE to keep the price the same, but reduce the quantity. no one has said differently, have they?

                        3. re: ipsedixit

                          I totally agree. Good food is a necessity. If you're buying junk like soda and ice cream and chips then there's the problem.

                        4. Add Breyer's Icecream to the list. I was okay for awhile when they shaved six ounces off the half gallon; but now, it's down to 48 ounces, and I won't buy it unless it's on sale buy-one-get-one-free.

                          Certain brands of canned tuna have dropped down to 5 oz drained, but have not shrunk the can. As a result, you wind up with a very watery product. I'm finding that the cheap stuff from the off price grocery store is a better product these days.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MsRetro

                            I stopped buying ice-cream a long time ago unless it was on sale - and I mean 1/2 price, not a measly 50 cents off. I pretty much stick to this rule for things like ice-cream and snack foods.

                          2. As far as food goes, I have stopped buying exclusively organic meat and dairy, a practice I had adopted several years ago. I now only buy organic dairy when I can find a "sale" price (especially for eggs, a product I see a real difference in). I don't buy a lot of meat or poultry, but have started getting it from my butcher when I do, so that I can get the exact quantity that I need and quality that I trust. I buy nearly none from supermarkets where the quality is more questionable and the price per unit is almost always higher. I have also reduced the amount of boxed cereal that I buy by about 75%. The prices for even the most basic national brand cereals (Iike Special K, for instance) have gotten ridiculous here in Manhattan, and for the first time in my life, I have moved away from my daily breakfast cereal routine over the past 18 mos. or so.
                            I have reintroduced lettuces such as iceberg and romaine as main characters in my salads and lessened the role of organic baby rucola. Don't get me wrong, I still love my baby greens, imported radicchio and the like. I just have a lot less of it turning limp in my fridge and tend to buy it only when I know I will use it. OTOH, I've always got romaine in the bin in case I "feel like a salad", which is a fairly new habit.
                            I am much more careful about where I buy my produce- not only is the supermarket variety and grade often lacking, but the prices do not fall with respect to product origin or quality, and I am paying much closer attention to where my food comes from (and how it is produced, grown, etc.) and whether or not I get value for my money. This goes for fish, as well.
                            I have stopped buying processed and packaged snacks,, cookies and juices (for example: Thomas' English Muffins, JIF peanut butter, Oreo cookies). I never really bought too many of them, anyway, but still, they became a needless (and increasing) expense, often declined in quality (wake up, Nabisco), and it made more sense for me, from both financial and health standpoints, to either consume less of them or put that money toward a fresher, less processed version on an occasional basis (cupcakes from a local bakery; fresh squeezed oj on Sundays only, etc.).

                            I realize that most of my consumerist adjustments have been partial or moderate, and not radical black and white decisions to do away entirely with a product. I have also made certain changes for reasons pertaining to philosophy or overall health. More often that not, the brands I have stopped using entirely have been because a drop in quality in conjunction with raising prices, and not only due to price.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: vvvindaloo

                              "I realize that most of my consumerist adjustments have been partial or moderate, and not radical black and white decisions to do away entirely with a product. I have also made certain changes for reasons pertaining to philosophy or overall health. More often that not, the brands I have stopped using entirely have been because a drop in quality in conjunction with raising prices, and not only due to price."

                              vvv, I've been following a very similar course, for similar and various reasons. A diet based on portion control was the beginning last summer (BTW it works!), and prices recently pushed it further. One difference is that I've BEGUN more organic dairy and veggie buying, just small quantities. And eggs are an ongoing extravagance (not always so extravagant, depending on which brands and where, etc.). I can taste a real difference in eggs also, love them and eat a lot of them, so like jfood below, there are no exceptions for eggs.
                              There are only two of us, so actually it makes sense to buy meat and poultry in smaller quantities at an excellent supplier. A money SAVER, in the long run.
                              Salad fixings are in flux here. Like you, too much ends up turning limp in the fridge. I need to be stricter about quantities and need. Yes, there's always romaine as THE staple. But I need really to face the truth about being unAmerican: I DON'T love salad, regard it as rabbit food, and I only really like what the French call salade composee, with lots of goodies tucked among the greenery. (Or salads that only goodies, no greenery, like chicken salad or tuna salad;-))
                              The processed foods --- with you 200%.

                              What appeals to me most about how you phrase your "consumerist adjustments" is exactly that it is a way of partial, moderate, not radical black and white decisions, but based on changing conditions and needs and desires, in short, flexible and subject to changing considerations. Hey, sounds like a good method for deciding about lots of things, not just food!

                            2. Tombstone pizza, price increase, stopped buying (I don't eat them, my spouse does), substitute cold cereal.

                              Breyers Ice Cream, volume decrease, now too small to feed one starving individual (again, not me), buy much less often. Also, formula change on the ice cream, so I don't buy it for myself, either, since it just isn't as good. If I end up with some (buy one get one free) I will slather it in "sauce" rather than eat it plain as before. No substitute.

                              Caramel Corn (maybe Jay's brand?), volume cut in half, stopped buying entirely, no obvious substitute, but I still snack on things.

                              Corn on the Cob (seasonal), number of ears for a buck went down a lot, I stopped buying it, maybe I was just waiting for a sale, I don't know, but eventually I caved/came to my senses, how could I not? Substitute: other fresh produce.

                              and many similar things.

                              Historically, I'm more likely to jump ship over a change in quality or a discontinuation. Well, that or the sudden availability of new alternatives that are a good price, since I regularly try new things that seem promising.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: saltwater

                                Quite awhile ago I went to buy a can of coffee. I noticed that the 1K can was now 925g. Why did they do that I wondered. Then it dawned on me. I decided to switch to another brand as all pre-ground coffee is much the same anyway. Guess what? They are ALL doing it. Sneaky and dishonest way to raise the price. I could accept a price increase as I understand that costs have gone up, but be HONEST about it.

                                1. re: billieboy

                                  My grandfather used to say: be wary of those kissing your cheek, because they are at the same time picking your pocket.

                              2. Jfood is a relative value shopper. At each visit to the grocer he knows that certain items will be on sale, others will have had a price increase, others will have a size decrease, etc. He also knows what he would like to buy and where certain items would be less expensive.

                                For example, meat. Jfood's grocer is kind enough to rotate those on sale and jfood takes advantage of those. One item that has left the rotation is tenderloin, it is now $24/lb and jfood has shown mrs jfood how much better strips are. :-))

                                Staples - There are certain brands that are no subs allowed. These include Hellman's, Heinz, certain salad dressings, etc. Jfood could not care less about price increases, size decreases. There are no subs allowed.

                                Ice cream (the topic of the other thread) - Jfood likes Turkey Hill and Edys. Yes, they have changed the size of the container, but he is paying $3/per or buy one get one free, so the relative expense delta is no biggie.

                                Another point is restaurant prices. There was a favorite in town that the jfoods would go to twice a month. Their prices continued to rise and jfood eventually called it quits. He ran into the owner atthe grocers and she asked him where he was. He told he he loved the place but mid-$30s was more than he wanted to pay, so he has found others. If the prices come back down he will return, but not until.

                                So there are times when the price is not worth it, there are items that are purchased no matter what and others that he selectively buys/passes on a weekly basis.

                                1. I know you are all going to flame me for this, but I've stopped buying so much good whole grain bread. I used to buy about 3 loaves a week. Now I buy one good loaf, and one 'wonder bread' type loaf. The kids are thrilled - they love that spongy white stuff, and I'm not eating much bread. So I'm saving about $6.00 a week ($4.00 for the loaf I'm not buying, and $2.00 because I'm buying the cheap stuff). And I'm OK with it, for right now.

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: jeanmarieok


                                    not to worry, jfood just finished his weekly loaf of pepperidge farm white with PB while making dinner.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      oooh....Pepperidge Farm Bread...takes me back to my Jersey yute. Totally off topic, but why can I buy Pep. farm cookies here in CA, but not their scrummy bread (or split top rolls for lobster)? Disgruntledly, Adam

                                    2. re: jeanmarieok

                                      No flaming here, jeanmarieok. You're quite right and perfectly justified.

                                      1. re: jeanmarieok

                                        I'm a bread lover, jean, and I'll be the last person to flame you. I used to buy a small loaf of fresh bread- baguette, ciabatta, pugliese, whatever- nearly every day, as I live in a neighborhood with many quality European-style bakeries. No more. I got tired of wrapping half-loaves in foil at night and shoving them into the freezer, and then calculating how many dollars worth of unused bread I was throwing away to make room for the new ones! I now buy maybe one pre-sliced loaf and one fresh loaf per week, depending on what I am cooking and what else I have around for breakfast.

                                        1. re: vvvindaloo

                                          Bread is something I've started stocking up on when it's on sale, reserving space in my fridge for it. Our favorite brand is Franz San Juan Island 9-grain bread (I know, marketing stuff). Some weeks I find it at 2/$5, other weeks, it's $4.59. I will not pay the higher price for it, when I know it'll come down again.

                                          1. re: tracylee

                                            if you follow sales, you learn the stores' and manufacturers' patterns, and intervals.

                                            have you noticed that often before something goes on (or after it goes off) BOGO, there is still a sale price but not as good as the BOGO?

                                            <i actually had a checker at safeway yesterday who had never heard of BOGO. it was on a rain check, and she couldn't quite get that concept.>

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Yeah, I need to start paying attention to the sales ads in the paper for things like that. I know when it's BOGO at one local chain, it's the same at the other local chain, so it is at the manufacturer level.

                                              I threw a young man stocking eggs for a loop the other evening by asking where the dried figs were. After finding them by the raisins, i went back and let him know in case someone else asks for them.

                                              1. re: tracylee

                                                i get the weekly fliers automatically via email. sign up online with your stores. i get safeway, giant and harris teeter. then it is easy to create printable shopping lists by simply clicking on the item's photo in the online flyer. so handy. typically the list has items grouped together that are in the same section of the store, e.g. deli, seafood, meat, etc. some stores' sites are easier to navigate. safeway's is the worst.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Not sure if Fred Meyer's (owned by Kroger's) and the local chain Roth's do this, but I'll try. That would be easier.

                                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                      Wow, thanks! I didn't mean to make someone else do the legwork, I should have looked these up myself! I just keep getting distracted by other things - oh, look, something shiny!

                                      2. Another thing that bothers me. You get ticked off with Brand X and swear you'll never buy it again and switch to Brand Z only the discover that half the alphabet is owned by General Foods.!!!!
                                        Or whoever

                                        1. I sometimes feel the need to incorporate cold cereal into my food rotation, so for a time there I was purchasing Ezekiel cereal to fill that void. On my latest trip to the health food store, I found that the price had escalated to $6.59 a box, and I certainly wasn't going to pay that price for a box of cereal. I searched for a substitute, and my substitute is now Go-Lean Crunch -- which when on sale -- costs significantly less than Ezekiel. It's a bit of a transition, and probably a loss in nutritional value, but I've come to accept it.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                            oatmeal is under-recognized as a great "health food" and economic value-for-money.

                                            plus, "doctored up." it is delicious..

                                            i just love kashi go-lean crunch "honey, almond & flax" variety -- but it is too expensive. even the sale price is "pricey." ;-). plus, i don't eat cereal every day, so it tends to go a little stale before i can eat a whole box (even if stored in an airtight container).

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Alka, if you keep it in the airtight container IN THE FRIDGE, it will keep fresh a really long time. Certainly my Familia does, and my hustand's Cascadian granola.

                                              1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                berkshiretsarina, i was *just* thinking about starting a thread about: "is your refrigerator stuffed so full with condiments and fresh foods that you could not possibly put in another thing without being a rubik's cube champion?" seriously.

                                                <edit: i just started the thread ;-).> http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589501

                                            2. re: Cheese Boy

                                              Cereal is the biggest rip-off in the grocery store. If you have a Trader Joe's, buy cereal there- high quality, under $3/box. Or get the store brand. I don't know how the mainstream cereal manufacturers have gotten everyone to pay as much as they have.

                                              1. re: CoryKatherine

                                                Because I know people that treat cereal as a major food group. They have it every night for dinner (they think it's a diet aid apparently, on top of everything). Personally I like oatmeal, for breakfast, period. McCanns at Trader Joes, $2.99.

                                            3. Other than refraining from seasonal variances, I pretty much don't care. Stuff goes up in price. There's nothing you can do about it.

                                              That said, I won't pay more than I think is "Worth" it.


                                              1. I haven't necessarily substituted one item for another, but I have decided that I can make a better product for less or the same price that I can get it at the store. I now make bread on a weekly basis for either sandwiches or to go with dinner. I make ice cream once a month. I make homemade pizza once a week instead of frozen or takeout. I've found that little changes like that have saved me some money.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: krisrishere

                                                  Agree wholeheartedly in principle...and in practice on the ice cream! It wasn't even a cost-related decision--after we bought an ice cream maker this summer, we had no desire to buy ice cream anymore. I had never had ice cream so good in all my life as what we made this summer. Imagine ice cream made with mint from your own deck. :) It was heaven!

                                                2. I'll never buy another car again. They cost more than they use to and aren't as large. What a rip off.

                                                  (said tongue in cheek)

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: bkhuna

                                                    oh no. have you seen how small the portions of tongue in cheek have gotten? i'll never go there again

                                                  2. One thing I haven't bought in over a year is pure Maple Syrup Grade B...used to be able to get it at supermarket for like $4.09 for smallish bottle, I forget what the size was, maybe 10 ounces? (still kind of high but I used it now and then for certain dishes)...now it's $7.99 even at Super Target. I also am not buying ice cream unless it's on sale at a really good sale price. I don't do "buy 1, get 1" on that product because we just don't eat it that often. I agree with Alkapal who said oatmeal, or oats, are a vastly overlooked food these days...so true...I CAN find that at local health food store for .79 per pound in the bulk bins, really great.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: Val

                                                      Shhh... be vewwy, vewwy quiet, before "they" get wind of this and raise the price of oatmeal, too!!! Re: the maple syrup, I know & fell your pain. WTF? Used to buy a 48 oz. jug @ costco 3 yrs. ago for like 10-12 bucks. Now, even at TJ's it's 10 bucks for 12 oz. Grrr!!! Still p-o'd about the shrunken best foods mayo jar, the teenytuna cans and the latest outrage...get ready...sit down and breathe....kleenex is now down to 100 tissues per box from 140 for THE SAME PRICE!!!! (Yes, I know you can't eat kleenex, but still....) And don't even get me started on candy bar sizes- a subject for a whole 'nother rant. Anyone besides me notice that Hershey Kisses are actually SMALLER than they used to be??? (I became aware when I was baking p-nut blossoms for Xmas...) Aaaarghhhh.... Adam

                                                      1. re: adamshoe

                                                        About maple syrup - prices have always fluctuated on a yearly basis depending on how the sap runs during harvest. If the weather wasn't right (freezing cold nights, warmer days are needed to induce sap flow) and there was a relatively mild winter, the sap won't flow properly, so production would be down - and prices would go up.

                                                        For real maple syrup? I'm *so* willing to pay the price.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Linda, thanks for that...I didn't know but it makes perfect sense: True maple syrup is not something that can be forced nor farmed, that I know of ...yet, right? BUT check it out...returned home from 10 days in California and had to go to grocery store to re-stock...the Springtree Grade B Maple Syrup is now $4.99 per bottle (8.5 ounces)!!! Yay! I bought some and will make my sage, curry and maple chicken this week!

                                                          1. re: Val

                                                            a little maple syrup on sage-y breakfast sausage patties is quite tasty!

                                                            1. re: Val

                                                              That's a good price! I just bought another quart at Trader Joe's of their Grade B - $16.99. The price sticker on the old container in the fridge was $10.99 - so definitely a price hike, but one I'm willing to keep paying. :-)

                                                          2. re: adamshoe

                                                            I picked up a Hersheys bar the other day and it was as thin as a PC circuit board. I actually laughed and put it back. How could you even taste the chocolate?
                                                            Now the maple syrup, I know the price is weather related, just like produce, and I won't stop buying that until it's no longer available at all. Which hopefully won't happen in my lifetime.

                                                            1. re: coll

                                                              coll, you're spot on: the hershey's bar is now officially a chocolate bookmark. ;-)

                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                I feel the same way about maple syrup. And now I just have to go to the store and heft a hershey's bar for myself.

                                                          3. re: Val

                                                            You beat me to it. I used to buy TJ's grade B maple syrup but now it's just too expensive. I literally walked back and forth with it in my hand for several minutes before putting it back on the shelf. Also, the last time I bought chicken thighs at TJ 's they were 4 to a package after having been 6 for ages. Same price, or even a bit higher. The quality isn't great either, so I think I'm done with that. So far I'm still managing to buy mostly organic produce -- in season, of course -- and good cheese, but much less of it.

                                                          4. I buy the tomato cans that are closest to the pound they used to be. Same with pasta and evaporated milk. Reducing the size of something you consume a little at a time is one thing, but shrinking ingredients so that it screws up your Mom's old recipe if you don't buy a second really makes me angry at the manufacturer. Contadina, Hunt's, and Carnation come to mind.

                                                            1. Some time ago, coffee went from a pound bag to 12 ounces and I started holding out for sales. Then we joined Costco. We use a plain old automatic drip pot, and maybe we're just tone-deaf on coffee, but we discovered that we get acceptable AM coffee with Costco house brands, at about three dollars a pound.

                                                              1. There's a more perverse twist on the same subject that doesn't seem to have been mentioned above. It's the quality decrease.

                                                                I stopped buying bread from Champagne French Bakery. Their baguettes cost the same $2.50 they did a year ago. However, quality of their flour is now terrible. Guaranteed heart burn, at least for me. As opposed to: Breadbar ( on 3rd Street ). Sizewise smaller than CFB, but no quality issues here. Same price though.

                                                                1. I was at Safeway in Northern California this morning & wanted to buy some Ruffles reduced fat potato chips...'twas buy 2, get 2 free for 9 oz. bags at 3.99 ea. Yeah right, just kept walking. Until several months ago, it was buy one, get one or my fav, 2/$5 but this is ridiculous! The Lays potato chips (for which there is no equivalent red. fat), was on sale for $3.29 ea. I guess I'll just head on over to Trader Joe's & buy a bag of their reduced guilt & make it last as long as possible :) Unfortunately, I love, love eating potato chips with deli sandwiches.

                                                                  Then there are the pepperidge farm cookies which are now a whopping $3.99 a bag. I used to buy these for the kids as an after school snack but at the rate they inhale them, this has become a luxury.

                                                                  Okay, that's my rant.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ceekskat

                                                                    pepp farm cookies all have an artificial flavor and weird mouth feel-aftertaste that is sooo unlike how they used to be. they're often on sale @ 2-2.50 but i won't even buy them at that anymore.

                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                      Weird mouth feel ? Try the new Keebler Pecan Sandies if you want to be "weirded-out". It's an absolute crime what happened to that recipe. I really don't know how Keebler can even face themselves after that.

                                                                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                        i know. truly a disgrace!!! after tasting one last year, i took the package back for a refund.

                                                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                          Add jfood to the list of loved them in college, can't stand them now.

                                                                    2. About two years ago we gave up on premium ice cream unless it was half price or better.
                                                                      Pre packaged convenience foods would be next ,except they aren't on our buy list to begin with.
                                                                      National brand cold cuts,lunch meat is outrageous per pound,steak is cheaper if you watch the sales

                                                                      1. I have no specific examples to add that haven't already been covered. With how common this practice has become though, and as I've steadily watched my grocery bill climbing over the past few years(I've only been buying groceries a few years) I am getting to where I ONLY shop by the per unit cost. There aren't many staples in our home that are associated with a specific brand so it is easy for us to enter a store and go for the most frugal option without feeling the burn of missing out on our favorite pasta, cookie, bread etc. After seeing how inflated the prices of some brands are per unit I do not think I could ever shop any other way.
                                                                        A large portion of our groceries are bought in the produce section and I have found our habits changing there considerably as well. Rather than going into the store with the idea that today I am buying spinach, 2 mangoes, creminis etc. I tend to develop my menus around what produce is priced most reasonably that week once I get to the store. It is amazing how produce prices fluctuate from week to week. Last week my favorite apples, Fujis, were $1.89/lb so I skipped them. Today they were only $1/lb and you'd better believe I got one for every day of the week. I also got good prices today on clementines, tangerines, roma tomatoes, cucumbers, and hass avocados so that is what we'll be working with.
                                                                        As far as ice cream goes, we tend to buy Blue Bell. It may have some of the preservatives and additives that are best avoided, but a half gallon of there lower fat banana split fro-yo will last through 3x the servings since it is a true half gallon AND not pumped full of air.
                                                                        My Yummy Life

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: ArikaDawn

                                                                          This is exactly how I shop as well. I plan our menus around what is reasonably priced that week. We're also not married to many brands and I have discovered that the store brand, in many cases, is equal to or even superior to, the name brand item. (I shop at Shop-Rite, FWIW)

                                                                        2. Cheez-its, except where I can get the Family Size (now reduced, of course) at a unit price close to what it used to be. It was very sneaky.

                                                                          1. I haven't stopped, but I've greatly reduced butter consumption and substituted Canola oil when possible, especially in baking. The taste is affected, but not necessarily in a bad way. Brownies made with cocoa, for instance, have a richer, cleaner chocolate flavor when made with oil instead of butter.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Orchid64

                                                                              I never pay full price for butter anymore. Our store almost always has one brand or another on sale each week and when a brand I like goes on sale I stock up and freeze it.

                                                                            2. Be a true Chowhound. If you can't afford overpriced food, sell some paintings.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. I think this is worth mentioning here, though I'd give the girls a break on this one...

                                                                                1. 12 packs of soda--$5-6, if lucky, on sale 2/$9-10. For whatever reason, they're so expensive up here that we'd rather have a 6-pack of a good local brew for $1-2 more.

                                                                                  Ground meat: why it's so expensive is beyond me; it's usually made from meat a few levels above what's used to make hot dogs, but I'd rather have the slab, roast, or loin, which are more reasonably priced (and you know exactly what you're getting). This applies to beef, pork, and turkey.

                                                                                  I can't really add much more than that. After 2.5 years on the north east coast, I've had to accept food is simply more expensive at the grocer than in the midwest, California, or SC. The farmer's markets help a lot, but the winter hours force me to go to either the pricey healthy food markets (within walking distance), the boutique grocer (1.5 miles away), or the megamart.

                                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Caralien

                                                                                    soda 12 packs are ALWAYS on sale here. usually they run @ $ 3.

                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                      Not in NJ or NY, so we've just cut it out of our diets. Target usually has it for the best price, at 2/$9 (in SC it's 3-4/$10). But going into that zoo is something best avoided.

                                                                                      1. re: Caralien

                                                                                        In NY where I am, soda 12 packs (Pepsi or Coke) is almost always on sale for 3/$9. It is this week, but I'm already overloaded from the last sale.

                                                                                        I'd like to know what the grocery stores actually pay the supplier for soda, and Pepperidge Farm/Arnold bread, and 8:00 coffee, and all this stuff thats always on sale for less than half price. Do they get a bill back from the factory or do they make double or triple profit normally? Not that I fault them for making a buck (or two).

                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                          I wish that had been the case when I lived in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or now in Princeton, but things must be cheaper in your part of NY! Only benefit? We drink more water, which is better for us anyway.

                                                                                          1. re: Caralien

                                                                                            Things are not cheap on Long Island, by any means!! I use a dash of diet soda in my cocktail at night, for caloric reasons, so it lasts: but we spend plenty on bottled water (usually Poland Spring @ $3.99, I won't pay more!) Our tap water is sort of off. But I hate the new thin material they are making the bottles out of, it's just about Saran Wrap.

                                                                                    2. re: Caralien

                                                                                      sc does have good prices. at h-t in mt. pleasant, i paid 1.50 per crabcake that cost 3.50 at my arlington, va store.

                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                        Great. Now I'm craving Gullah Cuisine's fried chicken, but we won't be down for another few months. I'm going to pout now. :)

                                                                                        The fresh shrimp at Shem Creek--so good that it's not even worth it to buy it up here.

                                                                                        1. re: Caralien

                                                                                          i've never lived in charleston, but my nephew went to the citadel and is a civil engineer for the town of mt. pleasant. mr. alka and i love to visit! i'm going to make an effort to get to both those places next trip. some other threads have poo-pooed shem creek, while others praise it.

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            Shem Creek--not the best place to eat (overpriced & touristy), but to pick up fresh shrimp--at least 3 sizes. My inlaws had lunch at Shem Creek during the holidays, and the service was terrible. The table next to theirs joked about auctioning off a french fry with an opening bid of $20.

                                                                                            1. re: Caralien

                                                                                              okay -- good to know. the french fry auction is funny. so their raw shrimp is a good price, though?

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                $6/lb and up last summer. Freshly caught, never frozen. On ice.

                                                                                                2lbs, 2 people, a lot of napkins, and a movie. We were full at 1.5lbs, but ate the rest anyway. They were so good.

                                                                                                One March hits, we're heading to the Machipongo Clam Shack (Coastal VA, Route 13) during a camping weekend. Clams on the campfire. Mmm.

                                                                                                I've been so spoiled by good, fresh, reasonably priced seafood on my travels and from different neighborhoods that it's something I rarely buy when at home due to the terrible markups (trying to get back on topic).

                                                                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                  clam shack! yes! i haven't been, but i'm sure gonna go (or get it shipped.)

                                                                                                  1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    There's the original (a tiny shack) then the newer location in a refurbished McDonald's where you can drive up to the window after choosing from a hand-painted sign. Cheapest jars of oysters I've found if you want to make oyster pie or stew--$11/pint.

                                                                                                    1. re: Caralien

                                                                                                      shrimp shrimp shrimp shrimp shrimp!

                                                                                                      see my "shrimp confession" here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/573626

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        I hadn't seen that thread before and just added to it. But oh MY there were lots of confessions there!

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          thanks for goin' to the party. ;-).

                                                                                                      2. re: Caralien

                                                                                                        That seems a little pricey. I'm in Florida and I pay $9 /pint for Willapoint oysters from Washington state. But if local is ultra-fresh and ultra-delicious, I understand. I gladly pay a premium for Florida pink gulf shrimp.

                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                          hey sir veggo, how are shrimp prices down there your way for those fresh florida gulf pinks, medium or large size?

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            From 10 to 14 $/lb, sometimes 16 for really large. Incredibly firm flesh on the wild-caught shrimp that had to work for a living, contrasted with the flaccid, gray, farmed asian stuff.
                                                                                                            Alka, to connect the dots to another post to which you contribute, the Willapoint 8 oz and 16 oz plastic containers with lids are great for reusable non-metallic storage for small quantities of leftovers. I have so many in my fridge that I don't know what most of them are, or how long they have been there. But the chicken livers from last summer
                                                                                                            have got to go.

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              sir veggo: "But the chicken livers from last summer
                                                                                                              have got to go."

                                                                                                              i'd have to concur!
                                                                                                              btw, thanks for the shrimp info. i sooooo crave my home-town (ft. myers) fresh gulf pink shrimp. that is a fair price. i hate those farmed shrimp. they are flaccid and they taste metallic. maybe it's the faint whiff of iodine -- or ammonia! ;-(.

                                                                                        2. re: Caralien

                                                                                          We just got diet Pepsi(12 packs) for 4/$12 with a $10 bonus cash back with $20 purchase--had to buy 4 more to use the bonus cash back--12 for $26 total drive-out price. Watch ads for CVS, RiteAid, Walgreens, etc. for similar bargains. They are out there. We don't buy diet Pepsi unless it is on sale. Not about to pay grocery store prices of $4 or $5 per 12 pack--NO WAY

                                                                                          1. re: pepperqueen

                                                                                            4/$12 here at my cvs, too. just got one 12-pack, though.....$3. trying not to drink soda too often, but sometimes i like a fizzy cola and its "bite" <what's the word i'm looking for here.?> pepsi has been running lots of sales. must be trying hard to keep up with its competitor, coke.

                                                                                            coke's "regular" price was nearly $6 at cvs. riiiiiight! no way, josé. but, it'll be on sale soon --- if not today. (superbowl prep).

                                                                                            everyone, watch the "superbowl party" sales..... stock up on non-perishables. i'll bet hellman's goes on sale! let's see!!!

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              They're already starting with the "stock up for the big game" ads - my local CVS ad in the Sunday Boston Globe has Pepsi 12-pack products at 3/$10 (limit 6) - also with the $10 Extra Bucks back if you buy $20 worth, as pepperqueen said.

                                                                                              So they're essentially *giving* you $6.40 to buy six 12-packs, if I figured it out correctly. :-) (12 * 6 / $20 - $10, right?) I guess if you drink Pepsi (I rarely drink soda now, and then usually only ginger ale), that's the way to go! Of course, you can't use the Extra Bucks on that particular purchase - it's given for a future purchase at CVS.

                                                                                        3. Ice cream. I don't mind a price increase from time to time, but I despise the slightly smaller package and hope-they-won't-notice approach. I actually respect HD for coming out and saying what they are doing. As a result, ice cream consumption has fallen to almost nil at our house. Popsicles, however, are at a zenith in their popularity.

                                                                                          Girl Scout cookies. That one's been going on for years. We just pass.

                                                                                          I find myself baking a lot more bread too. Mostly a taste/quality thing, but certainly cheaper than buying it.

                                                                                          1. I am surprised no one has ranted about yoghurt yet. I used to buy a lot of 8 oz cups to use for breakfast. I could just make it to lunch on one, and if I kept them to expiration date and beyond there was no problem with my lactose intolerance. But the 6 oz cups mean that the short cup is too small and I can't make it to lunch, so that breakfast is history.

                                                                                            I tried getting quarts of yoghurt nnd taking a quarter and adding friuit and sugar, but the variety selection is poor and the prep is a pain when I have to run out fast, so that didn't last.

                                                                                            My tried and true tuna salad recipe that made just enough for me and Mrs. Doctorlew is defunct with the tuna can shrinkage phenomenon, so we buy a lot less of that, too.

                                                                                            I'm seeing more and mor shrinkage: Dove ice cream bars, smaller, fewer, less chocolate covering; kleenex that is so thin it take two to sneeze into with clean hands, toilet tissue that is too thin to wipe with, etc. I'm waiting for a switch to half gasllon pricing at the gas pump, single socks instead of pairs at Macy's, and electricity by the kilowatt minute.

                                                                                            Well, that's my 1.5 cents' worth.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                              I can't imagine making tuna salad with just one can of tuna anymore. Have to use 2 or 3 to get enough to make a couple of sandwiches. But the little cans are always on sale for cheaper than the big ones.
                                                                                              Yogurt, I like to add my own flavors anyway, I buy the giant ones, put in a small cup and add instant coffee, or lemon curd, or pumpkin puree with cinnamon, or maple syrup, or cocoa, or whatever jelly is in the fridge. The little ones, they have so much headroom under the lid, I add some trail mix and raisins and make a parfait. It's great if you're eating at home anyway.

                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                coll, those are FABULOUS add-ins into plain yogurt! Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  I LOVE all the Greek yogurts and experimented so I would enjoy having them as a snack on a regular basis. They're not so exciting plain, except as a sub for sour cream. My favorite is instant coffee (I use espresso) because I love coffee yogurt, but watch out, if you put a whole teaspoon in you'll be jittering all over the place!

                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                    LOL! Yeah, that's the one I'll pass on. :-)

                                                                                            2. I stopped buying lactaid milk when it got to be twice as expensive as the 'normal' stuff. I used to love Dijiorno's 'Ultimate' pizza, but it was frequently seen for $5 12 months ago and now it's up to $7, which is definitely outside my price range, so it's off the menu - I make my own instead and use a pita bread crust ($1.30 for six individual pizzas, as opposed to boboli's $3 or $4 for one meal) And icecream only enters the house if it's buy-one-get-one-free. It's not that I don't WANT to eat this stuff, but every time the price goes up, I have to eliminate something from the grocery list to try and compensate!

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                that lady on food network just used tortillas as "pizza crusts" -- ellie krieger, that's her name. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/el...

                                                                                                btw, i'm liking her more......

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  That's so weird! I just made "Mexican" pizzas last night for dinner and I thought I invented it. (Actually I'm sure I'd heard of them just didn't know what to put on) I used fresh tortillas, one was tomato basil and one was garlic herb, and the edges came out nicely crispy, not hard and brittle as I expected. I put guacamole and ratatouille on one, and hummus and ratatouille on the other, then some tomatilla sauce and tons of cheddar on top. (Maybe I should call them garbage pies, it was all leftovers) My husband ate a bunch, even though he had just eaten loads of fried chicken, so I guess they will go into rotation.

                                                                                                2. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                  The one splurge every week for me is goats milk, but my local store charges $4.99 while anywhere else I've found it charges $3.49. That burns me up, but I still buy it there almost every week; love cooking with it, it's so creamy. I guess I need one luxury in these hard times!

                                                                                                3. Well, here's another amazing shrinking product: Mrs. Smith's frozen fruit pies. They lost two inches in diameter and now only make 4 slices instead of 6. OK, so they're not bakery or home made quality, but they are good enough and on sale plus a coupon were a decent value. Now, not so much.

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                    Another shrinking supermarket item...COFFEE!!! I noticed Folger's has shrunk their plastic containers to 27-29 ounces....so I will stick with Maxwell House, who not only switched to a better bean Arabica, but at least for now you are getting 33 ounces of coffee...and the pricing is the same.......Maxwell House- Please Don't Shrink!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                                                                                    1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                                                                                      oh no, wait till i tell my mom that mrs. smith has downsized! her "go-to" holiday pie is the pumpkin. she always says mrs. smith does it better than she herself could do.

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        I think the primary thing I'm NOT buying is fresh fish and I miss it :( . Those frozen filets in a bag suck.

                                                                                                        I'm still buying Starbucks or Seattle's Best but I'm shopping around for sales and then stock up. I also don't skimp on whole grain bread, usually f/k/a Brownberry and also stock up when on sale. Best price, usually, TARGET (I refuse to set foot in WalMart).

                                                                                                        I am going from store to store and shopping more in smaller locally owned places especially for meat, deli, dairy and produce. I don't get WHY they're cheaper than large supermarket chains, but they are. Strangely NOT on packaged things. When I have to shop at the larger chains, I make a game on buying absolutely as much as I can on sale.

                                                                                                        I can't let go of Hellmann's either, the cost of which has become outrageous, but I will make my own more often if I have time. The cost of making mayo is nothing, so the fact that commercial mayo has skyrocketed is also a mystery.

                                                                                                        BUT the biggest mystery is that the sharp rise in food and other consumer prices last year was blamed on the cost of fuel. This has since taken a major dive, but prices have not. What gives?

                                                                                                        1. re: Whosyerkitty

                                                                                                          Well, while transport costs have declined, much food was a product of feed or grain that was expensive when contracted for. And producers and middlemen are going to resist lowering prices until deflation forces them to.

                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                            Also, transport companies use diesel fuel, which is coming down much more slowly than gas. I think it will never be cheaper than gas again. Take a look at diesel prices at the gas station. It's not $6/gal anymore, but it's still high.

                                                                                                    2. It's not necessarily a food product, but it's directly related. As of this weekend I've boycotted my gas stove because of this months bill that's triple the normal amount. On this billing cycle I was even gone for 12 days and I haven't been doing anymore cooking than normal..I've requested an investigation on the meter and natural gas lines. If that turns out to be inconclusive, then I will resort to grilling 365 days a year.

                                                                                                      1. I have substituted Kraft mayonnaise for Best Foods/Hellmans. Kraft has improved their product tremendously and still delivers a quart. I also like the design of their container. If you are going to abandon glass for plastic, why keep the shape that was necessary for the fragile material?

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: EdwardAdams

                                                                                                          edward, my mom has kraft in the fridge. i am forced to admit, kraft has indeed improved its product quite a bit! it is quite acceptable on a tomato sandwich! ;-).