It’s the case of the shrinking package! It sounds as though it could be a Scooby Doo caper, but the bottom line is, you’re getting less bang for your buck. Many companies are still using the same size package but are actually putting less product within it, which may leave you wondering why the the food just doesn't seem to stretch like it used to. It isn't your imagination!
In some instances, the switch is a bit more obvious, like this one:
- Lays Potato chips bags used to contain 16 oz, yet the same size bag now contains 12 oz
While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, the same bag that may have elicited 6 servings, now only offers 4 servings, which causes you to purchase even more to try to make up for it.
Sometimes the packaging change is so clever that consumers have no idea they are getting less product than before.
|Looking at a product directly, it may appear as though it's exactly the same as it's always been, many are not, for example, if you look at a jar of skippy peanut butter, the jar height and circumference have not changed, However, if you flip the jar up and peer at the bottom of it, you'll note a rather deep new crater that is the equivalent of 2 ounces. It certainly looks the same sitting on the shelf, but that's 2 less sandwiches for the same price. In the photo to the left, we held up a store brand versus Skippy brand, see the indentation!|
|Clorox Bleach is now 3 quarts, rather than 1 gallon.|
|Scott Toilet Tissue advertises 1,000 sheets per roll & while it's true that there are still 1,000 sheets, the sheets shrunk! They used to be 4 inches and have now been reduced to 3.7 inches.|
|Ivory Dish Detergent reduced it's 30oz bottle to a bitty 24 oz bottle, "due to the rising costs of ingredients and facility expenses". Six ounces is a full 20% difference! (Image Credit to Consumer Reports)|
|Paying For Water- This one is particularly bemusing, as it plays on our desires to provide the best product possible for our families.!) Are you aware that when you purchase meats you may be paying for up to 15% of “Solution”. The label may state that it’s meant to improve flavor, or increase tenderness, but in actuality the boost is only to benefit their bottom line. To bring this into perspective, if you’re paying $1.99 for boneless, skinless chicken that contains 15% Solution, you’re really paying $2.29 per pound of actual meat; or .29˘ per pound for water “solution” that you didn’t ask for!|
|Additional Downsized products can be seen at Consumer Reports|
|Middle Ground- Bulk packages of meats or vegetables can be great deals, but be aware of another clever tactic that is frequently used by grocery stores, packaging the best looking items on top. Generally speaking, the leaner cuts of meat are placed on top and the fattier, more wasteful cuts are placed in the middle. While you may be thinking that you’re going to get a great deal, you might find you’re paying for pounds of fat. This tip doesn’t only apply to meats, be aware that fruits are often bagged this way, with heavily bruised fruit in the middle. These fruits are less likely to be eaten by member of your family and may end up in the trash.|
The companies marketing these products have come up with some rather ingenious excuses for the clever packaging maneuvers, it started with the companies marketing dish detergents; They made claims that the product packaging was reduced to protect the environment. They claim that they're injecting our food with broth or solutions to make it more tender or flavorful, when in truth, it's done to enhance their bottom line, to increase profits.
How does this issue directly affect you?
A recent study from Neilsen Co. confirms that 30% of ALL Packaged foods in America have downsized package contents in the past year. It effects you on several levels:
- Recipes calling for a can of this or a package of that no longer come out correctly. If the original size package was 16 oz and now is only 12oz, you're missing 1/4 of the package to add to your recipe! To add insult to injury, oftentimes people will open additional cans or packages to add the "missing" ounces to the recipe.
- You're paying the Same price (or higher) for less product.
- The food doesn't last as long (because there is less of it) and you spend even more money trying to keep up.