Huh? Products shrink but prices stay the same
Have you noticed that your favourite brands seem to be shrinking? Well, you’re on to something.
Consumer Reports recently released its findings about several products that have reduced their size by as much as 20 per cent even though their manufacturers continue to charge the same amount of money for their offerings.
"From toothpaste to tuna fish, hot dogs to hand soap, companies have been shaving ounces and inches from packages for years," CR maintains.
Manufacturers are blaming the growing cost of raw ingredients. They say they don't want to pass on price increases – so subtle shrinkage is a handy alternative.
Thanks to what the consumer protection site Consumerist.com calls the Grocery Shrink Ray, pretty soon you’ll open a carton of a dozen eggs and see there are actually only 11. Here's a current example.
"Manufacturers make subtle changes to the packages but generally keep the price the same because when prices rise, buyers often seek cheaper alternatives. And the bottom line is that consumers are more attuned to changes in price than packaging," CR says.
There's a science to downsizing products, and few have studied it as closely as Harvard’s John Gourville. He studied purchasing patterns for hundreds of ready-to-eat cereals and concluded that consumers are far more sensitive to higher prices than to reduced product size.
To be sure you're getting the best value for your money in an era of shrinkage, check the unit price: it's the number on the shelf tag that says how much the item costs per ounce or pound. That way, it's a no-brainer to calculate whether the larger or smaller item is the better buy.
Have you noticed any shrinkage among your favourite brands? Do you buy anyway, switch, or get on the phone and complain?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: John | Jan 12, 2022 10:44:40 AM
I think the companies should start shriking the salarys of some employees starting with the CEO's
Posted by: don | Jan 12, 2022 11:12:36 AM
Giving us less for the same price is passing increasing costs to us. At least admit it and stop bsing us.
Posted by: Richard | Jan 12, 2022 12:01:46 PM
Ever wonder why the 500g jar of peanut butter is cheaper by volume than the 250g jar ? Same difference. Just check the unit price... or calculate it in your head. As always... shop within your budget and for what you NEED !! As for opening the carton of 12 eggs and finding 11... let's get real. Just more Chicken Little brandishing by the consumer police. Easily resolved... ya take an egg from another carton and put into your carton. Case closed !!
Posted by: Richard | Jan 12, 2022 12:09:35 PM
I'm certainly not going to waste my time counting the number of flakes in a cereal box. Maybe consumers should worry more about... why all of a sudden, in the wheat capital of the world, the price of bread has more than doubled in the past few years. Same amount of slices, same size... 2-3x the price. Or why the cost of milk in Canada is 2x the price of milk in the States... didn't know there was double the difference in the price of cows. Or why Canada produces more oil and gas than the States, but Canadians pay more for theirs (by volume). Or why Canadians are subsidizing the cost of exportation of electricity from Canada to the States. And finally, did ya know about the bottled water scheme... higher cost (per volume) than a llitre of gas and ya can get the same stuff out of the tap. Who's to blame for that ??
Posted by: Hewitt | Jan 12, 2022 12:30:33 PM
Please give us a list of those down-sized containers.But yes I have noticed and am switching,that's all I can do.We need to change our political system so that people that can do something ,DO something !Those CEO's are laughing all the to their golden retirement,on our backs.
Posted by: Richard | Jan 12, 2022 1:03:31 PM
Hewitt... it has nothing or very little to do with the political system. It's called commodities pricing and marketplace competition... which for all intents and purposes, isn't controlled by our country's politicians. Buyer Awareness and Comparision Shopping is the mantra for everyone in a capitalist system.
Posted by: Steve | Jan 12, 2022 8:12:30 PM
I'll take the more expensive CDN milk if the alternative is milk from US cattle. Unless I am mistaken Chemicals and IGF hormones are given to US cattle that is correlated with an increased risk of the birth of Twin's in humans (and who know's what other side effects). That said, perhaps a naming & shaming of companies where the products price increase is compared to the executive remuneration rates so suckers, err consumers could make a more informed choice. Unless.... unless the increase is going to all those rich farmers. Bwhahahaha....
Posted by: Lindsay | Jan 13, 2022 11:05:44 AM
It is called "downsizing" and has been in place for years. Most notable will be bath tissue/paper towels/facial tissue. They don't raise the retail price, but it will cost consumer more with purchasing more often ( more profit for manufacturer and retailer). Many other cosumables have had downsize , granola bars, chocolate bars, potato chips, juice boxes, just to name a few, and some are very invisible like take out beverages (coffee) that are served in slightly smaller portion ...
Cleaning products have also moved down in size. I don't think all of this hits a consumer price index, but does make consumer pay more for goods based on frequency spending.
Posted by: Bracken | Jan 13, 2022 11:58:25 AM
Multi Mass Media...controls everything....we jsut keep purchasing, blindly.
Inactive Canadain are we, sheep being lead to slaughter with a smile on our face,and a full tummy.
Posted by: John | Jan 13, 2022 12:04:14 PM
Is this something new? Does anyone remember when we switched over to metric and most of the packaging went smaller for the same price. Excuse was the switch was expensive. Was it? Now the last few years we are getting farm vegetables canned in different countries with quality in question. Cant find a can of mushroom here that doesnt come from China or pickles from India. People forgot to support their local farmers and gradually there was the change right in front of our eyes. Consumers can control the market place to a certain extent. If you dont like it, dont buy it.
Posted by: John Webb | Jan 13, 2022 1:26:16 PM
I think most people understand that cost are increasing, they also try to recycle to maintain our country for thoes who follow after us. We use x amount of many products on a daily bases, when manufactures decrease the size, we purchase higher numbers to maintain the amount we use. This
increases the amount of material going to landfills and recycling plants, which cost us more for additional equippment to transport and handle, additional fuel, electric and labour cost. It is a no win
for the buyer, keep the large sizes we have and pay a little more, or pay higher taxes to dispose of
the additional packages. Some, but very few, companies have tried to cut down on packaging material, this also reduces their cost. CEO, CFO, OO and Sr management need to think out of the box and work smarter to reduce their companies product cost not just past it on. If they can't do so, they need to have a salary cut. I purchase products that maintain standard sizes, keep their packaging light and are often store brands.
Posted by: M. Summers | Jan 13, 2022 2:15:48 PM
Rememberwhen No-name brands (Canada) are cheaper the store brands?...Well check your packages before you buy. Now if seems that the No-name brands are the more expensive ones. For instance Coffee, dog food, cereal brands etc...its happening all over, price went up and the product in the package is reduced. The dont tell you. So its buyer be ware...use coupons and check flyers and compettiors flyers. Some stores accept different store flyers for reduced prices. I do this every two weeks when I go shopping, they don't like me when I go, and then they take my flyer when I am done paying so know one else can see the other flyers..so again buyer be ware!!!
Posted by: Ian Makus | Jan 13, 2022 2:34:18 PM
It is called "hideden infaltion."
The government tells us that infaltion is running at 2-3%, but if you factor in the shrinking product size the true inflation rate is much higher.
What a scam.
Posted by: elmo2006 | Jan 13, 2022 3:13:54 PM
No people. Its called *Shareholder Value*. It's all about the shreholders. Apparently they know best!
Posted by: Devon | Jan 13, 2022 3:13:56 PM
Yes inflation is much higher then we're told. The government doesn't want us to know how high it really is!
Posted by: Hewitt | Jan 13, 2022 5:29:47 PM
Actually it is fraud,in my mind anyway ,but we (they) use another name.Oh yes its on the jar(bag)all right but one should expect "them " to inform us since we usually shop by $ ,a large bag of chips,or jar peanut butter.Some articles are sold by weight : a pound of butter.Volume: quart of milk,gallon of gas.Cans, jars and bags ,lets "them" cheat.Remember those thick glass milkshake containers ? they looked like there was a lot more in there.Beer mugs....etc.In the USA they don't have to enumerate what's in the product nor how much alcohol is in the beer.Nowadays you see on the labels : made for or distributed by ,NOT where it came from, mostly CHINA but they don't want to put THAT on the label,so they have a small part of the processing inland.Screw the consumer ,to prosper,same as having whatever built in Mexico ,but the price stays the same here.Having stuff made /assembled in Mexico takes American/Canadian jobs away from US.
Posted by: Alex | Jan 13, 2022 6:06:51 PM
All true but I'm wondering why nobody hasn't mentioned the shrinkage of a McDonald's hamburger??? That is perhaps the most visible one that has happened, IS happening gradually throughout the years, pretty much in front of our eyes. Those tiny little ones they are serving nowadays - you have to order double and triple burgers now, preferably a couple of those, just not to feel hungry. That is what I call fraud! If this goes on, pretty soon we'll need a microscope to see those burgers...
Posted by: anonymous | Jan 13, 2022 6:13:01 PM
Yes I have noticed lately, especially in grocery items. For instance, my favourite ice cream used to come in 2L containers, but about a year ago they changed the packaging, it's now much flashier and brighter, and it the tub size is 1.89L for the same price (or even higher) than before. Do companies think we're stupid and don't notice these things? Geez!
Posted by: Richard | Jan 13, 2022 6:18:05 PM
J. Webb made a good point re: packaging. It's ALL about eye appeal and shelf space. How can a manufacturer explain for instance... ASPIRIN... comes in a SEALED container, which they also "need" to put in a box. Open the container, take out the fluffy stuff and the silicate pouch and your 50 tabkets take up about 1/3 the space in the container. Go figure !! How much are we paying for the oversized container, the needless box, the cotton stuff and the silicate ? Oh... and the bilingualism on the packaging AND container. ONLY in Canada !!
Posted by: ChickenEater | Jan 13, 2022 6:30:34 PM
Wendy's chicken burgers have shrunk.... they are much smaller now. Not a good value anymore. First time I got the tiny chicken breast I thought it was a fluke and I just was unlucky enough to get the runt of the litter. Second time, I figured it couldn't happen to me twice - they're shrinking their portions and charging the same. I won't buy there anymore!!