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(27 votes, average 4.63 out of 5)
Food - Groceries
Written by livecheap staff   
Monday, 23 November 2009 02:55
Article Index
Shrinking Groceries: 9 Foods
Super Premium Ice Cream
Breyers and Dryers
Tuna Fish: Less Fish
Orange Juice Aint So Juicy
Sausage: The Other Light Meat
Fabio-Less is Lighter
Ahoy Matey
Yogurt: Healthier and Lighter
All Pages

There’s a nifty little trick going on at grocery stores and they're hoping that most consumers are none the wiser. For some time now, product manufacturers have been reducing the size of their packages and the weight of the product inside them. It used to be that groceries were sold in simple sizes: 1 lb, 2 liters, 1 quart, a pint, etc.  But now there's a new problem: grocery shrink.

Consumers got used to making price comparisons and purchasing decisions based on those standard sizes. Driven by bottom line considerations, food manufacturer’s started to get inventive on ways they could increase profits without increasing prices. And of course, in many cases, they just went ahead and raised their prices anyhow.

Now, manufacturers will tell you that their ingredient prices skyrocketed a few years ago and people are only comfortable paying certain price points at the grocery store and that's what forced their hands and obliged them to shrink the size in order to hit those magic price points. We just don’t buy it especially since commodities prices have now plunged and the packages haven’t gotten any bigger!


Here’s our list of 9 foods that have shrunk in the grocery store. Notice any of your favorite brands? If you have others to add to our list, please add them in the comments section.

Coffee: Good to the Last Drop Because It’s Also the First Drop

Coffee was the original shrinkage sinner many years ago. Once sold in 16 ounce cans (You know, a “Pound of Coffee!”). The industry got creative with escalating coffee prices. Our friends at Folgers and Maxwell House dropped their coffee from 16 ounces to 13 ounces but conveniently explained that the 13 ounces would make the same amount of coffee as the original package because they “puffed” the granules. Sure, if you just make the coffee weaker, you won't notice the difference. That wasn’t good enough and now their pound of coffee is a tiny 11 to 11.5 ounces for a whopping 30% reduction. Of course, they didn't bother to change the size of the can so you just get to pay for more air.


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cschutt  - Cereal |2011-07-21 07:06:45
Has anyone noticed how small that the cereal boxes are getting? I have learned to make my own granola and it's great. Using oats, a bit of brown sugar, honey and oil, I make more granola than what they charge 3.99 for at the store and mine is better. When my kids were small, I refused to pay more than 2.00 for a box of cereal. I am glad they are all grown now because my sons could probably eat a whole box now of his favorite since the boxes are so small. Watch out for cereal!
Gino Sitkoski  - It's Getting Worse |2011-03-22 20:19:39
The list is just about as long as there are brands in the grocery store. From a pound of bacon that weighs in at 12 oz. (though the price is significantly higher than the pound price), to a favorite that I now refuse to purchase; Oreo Cookies. The price of the old package gradually grew to the point where it was almost necessary to take out a loan to buy it. Now, the package is much smaller (I don't know exact sizes any longer as I simply walk by shaking my head in disgust), but the price is the same and often higher. Sometimes it is displayed as a "SPECIAL", with the price of the old package and the new, tiny size on the shelf.

I'm glad to find that others are seeing this too. Do they really believe they are fooling us all? Is there no limit to "corporate greed"? What can we, as consumers, actually do?

One more question. Most of us buy eggs. The standard is "Grade A Large". Is it legal to sell pigeon eggs? That is the only way "Grade A Large" can be considered large!
Jane |2010-11-28 20:58:59
Yeah, the tuna fish.....hmmmmmmm. Now that it's 5 oz.....they (the supermarket chains) didn't bother to put on the store brand of "tuna helper" that you would be using a 5 oz. can.....they still have the ingredients listed as using a 6 oz. can! I called Fry's main office and they couldn't even answer my query on that!
Numbers Game  - Friendly's Ice Cream |2010-07-23 10:23:44
I've noticed that Friendly's Ice Cream has so much air in it, that you can take a mouthful of it, crush it with your tongue, and get a bite size piece of ice cream. If you pump it full of air, it makes 1.5 quarts of ice cream a lot ligher.
debbie |2010-06-12 17:28:44
I wonder if someone out there is working on tracking down the original butcher with the heavy thumb, and presenting him with a posthumous achievement award for his innovative technique.
Just Me  - Trop 50 |2010-06-11 12:30:49
Has anyone tried trop 50, its not only half the sugar, its half the juice! Its 50 percent water sold at the regular juice price!
Jason  - Toilet Paper |2010-06-11 10:39:21
Quilted Northern toilet paper pulled a dirty little trick. Instead of less sheets on a roll, they narrowed the whole roll. They can still say it's got the same number of sheets and is the same "length" as the old rolls, but the overall square footage is lower. I noticed when I replaced an old roll and it seemed too small for the holder. I compared the cardboard rolls and the new ones are about 1/2" thinner (lengthwise).
One Sunny Acre  - Toilet Paper |2010-06-14 20:52:18
I've noticed that with Scott tissue as well. First they narrowed the roll, then recently they also shortened the length of one sheet. It's already as thin as all get out--come on! :P
Carole  - Bigger cardboard rolls inside |2010-07-24 11:00:44
I also noticed that the cardboard roll inside the roll of some toilet paper getting larger in diameter.
TCR  - Another odd profit maximizing technique... |2010-06-11 05:01:38
I'm just as concerned about websites that ask the user to click through 9 page when it could all be loaded on one. Sheesh.
Anon  - agreed |2010-06-11 07:21:16
If you visit 9 pages you can load a single AD 9 times, or 9 different ADs. Like you said Maximize profits.
Anonymous |2010-06-11 08:23:39
Or you could look to the side bar on the right and click "All pages" tada!
Donna  - The evil "Grocery Shrink Ray"! |2010-05-20 08:31:47
When an item mysteriously rises in price, seemingly overnight, BUT shrinks in size, the "scientific" term for it is that it has been zapped by the "Grocery
Shrink Ray"!
uponfurtherReview  - Other Reductions - Cottonelle |2010-05-18 09:39:53
Kimberly Clark and their Cottonelle Bath Tissue is another example of deceptive price increases.

They've reduced their double roll from 305 sheets to 260 but naturally they don't provide notice of that on their packaging.

Companies like this that play this game of deception show a complete disrespect of consumers and don't deserve our business
Omiewon  - And of course the problem is.... |2010-05-20 13:06:12
That virtually every food producer is doing this. You still have a choice in some categories and thankfully they haven't tried to make the marketing department convince us that 10 eggs is the new dozen because you'll get just as much egg!

mjs  - another method of fooling customers |2010-06-02 20:22:28
Unilever bought Ben and Jerry's (ice cream) in 2000. They didn't change the name or the packaging, but they did change the ingredients - among other things. [Ref:].
dc2837998  - or maybe... |2012-01-24 08:45:44
its a conspiracy theory to get us to consume the pounds roll off, eh ?
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