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Everything Seems To Be Shrinking

Have you noticed lately that every time you buy a box of cereal or a bag of potato chips, for example, that the amount of product is less but the price, of course, remains the same -or higher? How much longer can this go on?

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  1. It will go on as long as people buy processed foods, since I haven't noticed this in, say, bags of beans. But the boxes of WW pasta I buy have decreased to 7 svgs/box from 8.

    And they will buy, since people don't seem to be shrinking!

    2 Replies
    1. re: nofunlatte

      Well, we no longer have a "10 pound" bag of potatoes, I just figured that out in the store last weekend. Used to be a 5 pound or a 10 pound bag, all my life. I picked up the heavier/bigger bag and was like hey, wait a minute. Looked at the bag - 8 pounds. Same price as 10 pounds used to be. And these aren't processed, so it's happening to everything. There's no more one pound can of coffee either.

      1. re: rockandroller1

        I don't think there's been a one pound can of coffee in a long time.

    2. Just a head's up/link to another thread on the subject of smaller packages - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/664152 - (and there are probably other threads also).

      1. This isn't new though. I worked in a grocery store as a scan coordinator 15 years ago, and one of my responsibilities was to make sure the shelf tags were accurate. Every week I was changing them because some product or other had reduces its package size.

        1. Sadly it's nothing new... everything gradually shrinks over time except the prices!

          1. They are getting smaller, however yesterday much as I didn't want to, I purchased a bag of sliced criminis. Offered was a pound sliced all up in the bag, and they not only looked fresher than the ones being offered whole in the bin, but it was $1 a pound cheaper. Pays to check it all out.

            5 Replies
            1. re: chef chicklet

              Same thing happened to me with criminis yesterday! Usually I don't even glance at the presliced stuff, but it's worth a passing glance at least, just in case.

              1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                Yeah me too, usually not interested in bagged food. These days I'm looking at everything carefully. Check out the canned sweetened condensed milk. Ridiculously priced! Go to the Mexican section, half the price. Now why is that? And by the way I bought it and it was terrific.

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  Not quite on the original topic, but another bargain in the Mexican section of my local supernarket is spices. I can refill a $4 jar of dried oregano or thyme with the contents of a little $0.79 plastic bag from the Mexican aisle.

                  1. re: BobB

                    the "badia" brand spices in the mexican food section of grocery stores are a super-duper bargain compared with their "mcCormick's" correlates.

                    1. re: BobB

                      I also appreciate the Badia spices in a bag...bay leaf, peppercorns, oregano, thyme, ...I don't think their cinnamon sticks are very good, though.

              2. it will go on as long as businesses want to stay in business and still make a profit while paying increased costs for all manner of inputs (raw materials, energy) and taxes, healthcare premiums, regulatory compliance, equipment purchases and maintenance, employee raises and bonuses.......

                1. It's even happening with beer. Have you noticed that quite a few brands are now in 11.2 ounce bottles instead of 12?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LeslieB

                    I hadn't noticed that! I'm definitely going to keep an eye out for that one!

                    1. re: dagwood

                      Yup, beer, tuna, peanut butter, toilet paper, coffee, chocolate bars, ice cream, frozen tortellini, etc. The OP brings up an interesting point though. 'How much longer can this go on?'. Will toilet paper eventually become the size of ez-wider? Will beer be poured out of 8-ounce bottles where we can tell a bartender, "I think I'll have a cup of beer please." Will chocolate bars all become the size of Hershey's miniatures? Our incredible shrinking world has to stop at some point, and consumers are just going to have to pay more for what they want.

                  2. Yeah lots of threads. Businesses need to meet payroll and stay in business.

                    Question is how come if all the packaging is shrinking everyone is getting fatter.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jfood

                      I guess we're all becoming couch-potatoes-or should I say computer-potatoes.
                      Sitting at our computers for hours certainly doesn't help the waist-line does it?

                      1. re: Doctormhl1

                        one month sitting for chowhound yacking costs one day shoveling east coast blizzard snow from driveway.

                    2. Its easier to shrink packaging rather than raise the price. No customer uproar.

                      1. consumerist.com has been covering this for a long time (search for "grocery shrink ray").

                        1. The indexed price of food has been going down in the USA for the last 50 years. That rather goes against the sentiment expressed here. Pick any normal food - say pork, coffee, milk, corn flakes, honey, bread, butter,eggs, tomato sauce, bacon, pasta - and look at the cost per pound / unit twenty years go and compare with today after removing inflation.

                          Certainly food consumes a far smaller part of the family wage packet.

                          1. HA HA - when I initially read the title, I thought you were refering to clothes (which always seems to be shrinking! - well mine do anyways!)

                            1. While it is true that almost everything seems to be shrinking, my reaction to that falls into two distinct categories.

                              On the one hand, there are items that we use incrementally - peanut butter, say, or mayonnaise, or cereal. Smaller packages just mean you need to restock sooner. No biggie.

                              On the other hand, there are items where we tend to purchase and use a full container at a time: canned tuna is a prime example, or pie fillings. There, a smaller container means you may have a screwed-up recipe because the proportions are no longer correct. THAT ticks me off!

                              1. yea, it's a sneaky way for some manufacturers to pass on a price increase and it needs to be monitored more closely, especially in the food store. "Caveat Emptor" and check your packaging carefully before you buy. It would be interesting to know what kind of response you get back when you contact them..

                                1. Most "half gallon" ice cream cartons have shrunk from 2 quarts to 1.5. At least a pint is still a pint.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: aynrandgirl

                                    Uhhh, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but check this thread out ...
                                    The NEW 14 ounce pint makes it debut --> http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/634275

                                    1. re: aynrandgirl

                                      Not really. A pint is 20 fluid ounces - except in the US.

                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                        The US doesn't use Imperial gallons either. So?

                                    2. I'm nominating all of the "shrinking food -- rising price" threads for the "how can we do the thread over and over again?" award.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        And when they get to that heated furor they become the incredible shrinking threads...thanks Mods

                                      2. Help! The last yardstick I bought only had 34 inches!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: therealdoctorlew

                                          ha! that made me LOL for real :)