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Arrowhead Bottled Water: 'Easy to Store' Because They Shrunk It! Print E-mail
(5 votes, average 4.80 out of 5)
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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haverwench  - Don't buy the bottle |2010-06-09 11:28:43
If you're fed up with the price of bottled water, the simplest solution is to quit buying it. As you point out, municipal water is much cheaper; it also is held to higher safety standards for most contaminants, and in blind taste tests, it performs just as well as the typical bottled water. So just save your old one-gallon jug that actually holds a gallon, and refill it from the tap.

And for all other products, remember the Rule of Thumb: always thumb open your calculator and figure out the unit price.
vastrightwing  - I continue to compare |2010-04-08 06:11:50
The shrink ray is being used everywhere and liberally. Not only on products, but services as well. Consider that when you go to the grocery store, you now check out your own stuff and bag it yourself. Banks have fewer tellers and rely on ATMS and then charge you for the privilege! Companies don't want to send you a bill, they save $0.44, the cost of printing and stuffing an envelope. They then convince you that they are being "green?" Come on, they are clearly shifting the cost and labor to their own customers! Why? Because they can! $0.20 for a text message? Well, we pay it. My stance is to combat this trend by consuming far less. I've dumped cable and my highly taxed land phone line. When I shop, I compare prices based on how much product I get vs. the cost. The size of the container is only a convenience, I just check to make sure I'm getting the best value for my dollar. Once the price goes to a certain point, I won’t buy. I stopped buying ice cream years ago when they changed the 1/2 gallon to 1.5 quarts. It's just not worth it anymore.
amp  - Not the Chocolate!!! |2009-12-15 14:55:34
I picked up a couple of bags of chocolate last night - figured I'd have a treat for my co-workers to enjoy - Well, the bags are now 8.5 oz if you are lucky!!! $8/pound for chocolate? regular, plain old hersheys and reeses - Did I fall asleep like Rip Van Winkle? I actually put ICE CREAM back on the shelf this summer (imagine that!) because a half gallon package was now 2/3's the size!
Omiewon  - Getting Completely Ridiculous |2009-12-17 08:56:29
Chocolate is a big victim of shrinkage. The candy bars that they sell today look like minis. Thin as a couple credit cards stacked together. Also, with chocalate, the ingredients have gone to hell in the last 25 years. It isn't just that your taste buds have gotten more refined, the ingredients have gotten worse.
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