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Arrowhead Bottled Water: 'Easy to Store' Because They Shrunk It! Print E-mail
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Food - Groceries
Written by livecheap staff   
Monday, 14 December 2009 04:29


Recently, LiveCheap examined 9 grocery items that were shrinking. This phenomena used to apply to just a few items in the grocery store, but now it seems that every food manufacturer is jumping on the shrinkage bandwagon.  

The Companies down sizing their products will explain that commodity prices such as flour, wheat, and cream have gone up in price and they needed to respond to keep prices sufficiently low.  That might be a plausible if dodgy excuse for some items, but how does it explain the latest food item to shrink: bottled water!



On a recent trip to Target, our staff noticed a very odd change to the one gallon bottle of Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water. It wasn't a gallon any more! The attractive package now looks more like a tiny mini-keg. In fact, the label now recommends that you choose it over other brands because it's "Easy to Store." You can't argue that point - it always takes less space to store smaller things. Another plus is that you won't strain many muscles lifting it either because it's 21% lighter. So the shrinkage is good for your back too. Maybe they should make a point of that on their label.

When compared to a regular gallon of water, the Arrowhead bottle gives the visual illusion of being about the same size but there was one difference you might notice when you turn it upside down. The "mini-gallon" has a cavity in the bottom big enough to fit your fist in. So while the bottle still looks like a gallon, about 26 ounces of what you're paying for is actually thin air!


Arrowhead doesn't make it easy for consumers to figure out how many ounces are missing from their bottles. A gallon is 128 ounces but Arrowhead leaves it up to you do the math. They list it as 3 quarts, 5.4 fluid ounces. That works out to a svelte 101.4 ounces. After 20 years of  getting consumers accustomed to the standard 128 ounce gallon, they just figured a little shrinkage wouldn't hurt their bottom line.

But seriously - water? I'll grant that this is "mountain spring water" but the municipal stuff costs about a dollar per thousand gallons.  Arrowhead probably pays about the same for their spring water. Even if spring water costs 10 times more to process than tap water, a gallon can't cost them more than a penny. And forget about being green, that baseball sized hole at the bottom of the bottle actually requires more plastic to produce. There is something else at play here. It's unlikely that consumers will change their water intake to respond to the higher price per unit which means that they won't only be paying more to hydrate their bodies, they will be stuck with 25% additional bottles to recycle.

What's next? Will the dairy companies start selling us 'leaner' milk cartons?  Will the food industry go decimal? Will they sell us ten eggs instead of twelve to reduce our cholestrol intake?

Lesson learned - when comparison shopping, always check the packaging to make sure that a gallon is still a gallon and a pound is still a pound. Start shrink your grocery bills by avoiding shrunk products.



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