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Nov 9, 2009 12:03 PM

Ocean Spray - how trifling can you get?

This is a new one.

Lots of companies are reducing the size of cans, boxes etc.

This year Ocean Spray came out with the 14 oz can.

However, they also raised prices. Just raise the price 10 cents over what you are charging for that 14 oz can. Do an either or ... raise prices or reduce can but NOT BOTH !!!

I'm sure Thanksgiving week that stores will be running special prices for cranberry sauce, but still there's less.

First they add HFCS a few years ago. Now this. What next ... fake cranberries?

This smacks of the holidays ... but not Santy Claus ... but of Mr. Potter and Scrooge and the Grinch that stole Thanksgiving. Sneak in and lop 2 oz off of everyone's Thanksgiving.

At least it is not as bad as the shrinking pumpkin pie can which can ruin a recipe based on the old size. From last year.

The pumpkin can ... it's shrinking, shrinking, shrinking

Then again ... I didn't look at the bags of fresh cranberries. I'm not sure if they are still 16 oz.

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  1. Are you sure they just changed it this year? Fourteen ounces has been the "standard" can size for quite a while now.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      In terms of cranberry sauce, fairly certain. Grocery Outlet is selling the discontinutued 16 oz can from last year.

      Also, since I was ranting last year about pumpkin pie cans, I'm certain I checked the OS can and it was still 16oz otherwise I would have gone on and on about that as well.

      1. re: rworange

        Good to know. Thanks! Do they have the "real" Ocean Spray at GO -- in the past I've usually seen the "light."

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Not sure. I think regular, but I was focusing on the price originally and then checked the can size later when the smaller cans at Safeway caught my eye.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            hmph. I'm always looking for the "lite" and can't find it

      2. rw, do you honestly think prices and product sizes should never change? have you ever run your own business?

        14 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          I have zero problem with prices going up.

          I do have a real problem with the shrinking product sizes which I consider sneaky. Oceanspray is the only company I've seen to date to do both at the same time ... shrink the can and raise the price.

          Actually that's kind of clever, eh? People might come to the conclusion only the price increased and not note the can is smaller to boot.

          1. re: rworange

            I do have a real problem with the shrinking product sizes which I consider sneaky. Oceanspray is the only company I've seen to date to do both at the same time... shrink the can and raise the price.

            Apparently, you missed the Haagen-Dazs switcheroo and price increase this past year. If this is truly a major concern for you....there are few things you will be able to purchase in the future. Container size reductions and price increases have been happening since the the Industrial Age began.


            1. re: fourunder

              Oh goodness alive, who can forget the haagen-dazs thread? i think someone quit the hound over that one! ;-)).

              1. re: fourunder

                The Haagen-Daz one was only the size, not the price. I have to agree that it bums me out but inflation is a reality, even in an economic recession. I DID, however, appreciate the gigantic advertising Haagen-Daz put out; at least I don't feel like they were trying to pull one over on me. They were honest and that is just how it goes sometimes.

                Being a laid-off general manager at an organic manufacturer, I gotta say that this is just a sign of the times. Our costs for ingredients continued to soar and since we were organic etc, our choices were limited and we had to buy at the inflated rate. We wound up having to reduce the amount of product in each package and I'm glad we chose to announce it and advertise it. Better to be honest than sneaky.

                It does bum me out. I'm a real cheapy!!

                1. re: MinkeyMonkey

                  Not that I have a dog in this fight......but regardless of what the official position of Corporate Haagen-Dazs was of the policy change......Before the change in container size, I could regularly purchase a pint for $3.00-3.49 in any convenience store or supermarket in my area......since the change in the beginning of this year, unless the ice cream is on special sale, the everyday price is now $4.99/per 14oz. container. I would consider that to be an increase as well.

                  I used to purchase Haagen-Dazs regularly, but now I only do so when it's on sale. I'm not a Trader Joe's customer normally, but I have found a good substitute in their house brand of ice cream......true quarts for $4.00 each....and sometimes 2 for $7.00.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    for what it's worth, anytime harris teeter has a buy one-get one sale on ice cream (or anything, for that matter), you can just buy one of the item, and be charged half-price. they always have one ice cream brand or another on sale, and h-d is on sale -- i'd guess -- once a month. (at safeway and giant, you have to buy two items to get one free; no price halving! that's just another reason why i love harris teeter).

                    i always buy my ocean spray this way, too -- except when it is BOGO, i stock up. cran lasts for a decent while in the pantry. i never ever pay full price for cran -- or OJ for that matter. ( ....or pretty much anything, come to think of it. i take advantage of the online weekly sales circular, and create shopping lists through clicking on the items i want -- auto-generating the list. makes it very easy!)

                    1. re: alkapal


                      you are a very impressive consumer..... Whenever I purchase Ocean Spray, which is not a lot, I always purchased the concentrate in cans. I've mentioned this before on this site.......I do not know if I am blessed or cursed on knowing the prices of most foods @ wholesale pricing for being involved in the food industry all my life......I simply refuse to pay retail and will only purchase whats on sale......and it's like you noted....most everything goes on sale every 30 days or less. With regards to OJ, I had met a couple of guys at an event a while back. One worked for Tropicana and the other was a food broker whose only responsibility was Tropicana....they both told me the increased cost of OJ was a scam.....and even in the event of a frost destroying the crops in Florida.....there were so many available oranges for juice it really should never affect the price on the retail market.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Love the Teeter!

                        The ice cream BOGOs are great. We have an overflow freezer in the garage, so it's not a problem cramming in an extra half-gallon of Breyer's. 8<D

                        1. re: Bob W

                          "We have an overflow freezer in the garage, so it's not a problem cramming in an extra half-gallon of Breyer's. 8<D"

                          Except it's not a half gallon, hasn't been in a few years or more. ;-)

                        2. re: alkapal

                          Bi-Lo does this too - which I love. I don't remember any of the Florida stores (Publix, Sweetbay) doing so. It was always the first one at full price and the second free. Half price is so much better with some coupons.

                        3. re: fourunder

                          Hee hee, you can have a dog in any fight if you wish! I honestly haven't bought a thing of Haagen-Daz since I was in my teens. I've never been a big ice-cream person. But, I had no idea they raised the price too!! That is sneaky after all.

                          When my grannie took us out for ice cream it was at thrifty drug store and the cones were 15 cents. By the time we were older kids and didn't always want ice-cream, the price had gone up to 35 cents. Gee, we complained, that sure is a lot! Of course the bigger chains were charging a whole lot more by then.

                          Probably a good thing I only buy ice-cream four or so times a year.

                        4. re: MinkeyMonkey

                          Exactly. I did appreciate them probably being the only company to be upfront about it. What set me off at the time though was it appeared they were changing the ingredients. They didn't. That is the other sneak-factor ... downgrading ingredients.

                          Oceanspray did that years ago swtiching from sugar to HFCS. That Oceanspray commercial for one of its juices, I think, always gets to me. The one with the guys in waders in a bog talking about its juice with no sugar ... all juice. Then one of the guys who is holding a cup of sugar drops it into the blog and the other guy freaks out because they just said no sugar. Heck, none of OS products use sugar, just HFCS. That was probably the only sugar anyone at OS has seen near a cranberry in a long, long time.

                          1. re: rworange

                            Actually, I looked at the label for an Ocean Spray juice drink recently and was surprised to see it didn't have any HFCS. I think they switched to using grape juice concentrate as a sweetener. The cranberry sauce is another story, however.

                      2. re: rworange

                        What's so sneaky? You're aware of the price, and after all, it's posted on the grocery shelf.

                        The size of the can, whether 14 or 16 ounces, is printed on the can.

                        You might find the changing of the sizes/price unpleasant, but it's really not sneaky.

                        That being said I'd rather pay more for a "normal" sized container of anything -- cranberry sauce or ice cream -- than purchase a smaller container which may be too small for recipes.

                    2. Cranberries are being sold in 12-ounce bags, but since a recipe for cranberry sauce in my several-years-old JOC calls for 12 ounces of cranberries, I suspect that this has been the case for a while.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pikawicca

                        and so easy to make your own and way nicer.

                        1. re: smartie

                          I agree, so easy. Be sure to have enough berries in the freezer to last the year.

                      2. prices go up. they probably determined that keeping the 16 oz can would require to high a price raise that would hurt sales, and just dropping the size still wouldn't produce the needed profit.

                        i see nothing sneaky about it, i'm sure it is all clearly labeled,

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: thew

                          Let's go with the non-sale price on Amazon $1.67 ... which is about right in my area if it is not on sale. That is 12 cents an ounce. The old 16 o can would cost $1.91.

                          While a lot of people arent really sure if $1.67 was more than last year, I am sure the $1.91 price would have caught people's attention

                          And given that ... given the price upping ... considering most people buy this once a year ... just how many people are going to drop Cranberry Sauce on the holidays?

                          In my area OS is it unless going to some organci brand. Those organic brands with real sugar actually cost less now per ounce than OS. Now how do they do that?

                          There are much longer and heated threads on the sneakiness if the shrinking package practise vs the "it is clearly printed' opinion. So I'm sure you can dig those up and continue that conversation in one of those threads. I'm glad you remember the size of every product you buy and know instantly when something shrinks. I could use that help ... especially with the paper towel games going on.

                          1. re: rworange

                            i've read and been involved in those threads. and my opinion there was the same. I don't know the sizes nor do i care. i'm just not offended by business doing business

                          2. re: thew

                            Nicely put. I don't understand the level of outrage I hear about this issue on a regular basis. There's a local TV reporter here in Cincinnati who does a story about "ANOTHER sneaky package size reduction" every few months. It's just business. And with the current American weakness for being outraged, I'm sure the company blunted the price increase with a change in package size. Such a non-issue. Such a non-story. I wonder if the folks who get their BVDs in a bunch about this stuff even care when, say, oil companies or insurers make record profits.

                            1. re: jmckee

                              >>> with the current American weakness for being outraged

                              The weakness is NOT being outraged.. I am happy for you that you have so much money that skyrocketing prices for smaller products doesn't matter to you and is a non issue. Oil man? Stockholder in Ocean Spray?

                              1. re: jmckee

                                First, it's not either/or -- I can be outraged about oil company profits and shrinking package sizes. But if gas stations very quietly changed their listed price from per gallon to per 120 ounces and the only notice of the change was a small note on the pump and nothing on the big price sign, then I'd be even more outraged. Wouldn't you?