Shrink Therapy: Have You Noticed the Downsizing?
Friends, I'm inviting you to a food and whine session.
A few years ago, manufacturers began putting less in and charging the same. Seemed okay at the time; we as a nation don't really need to be chomping on 32-ounce candy bars. (Okay; hyperbolic example inserted to get your attention.) Consumer Reports focused on this phenomenon about a year ago. Its survey found that half of the 1,743 shoppers contacted said they'd rather pay more for the package weights they were used to, and that 71 percent of them thought the main reason for less in the box was to hide price hikes from consumers.
The trend has spread across grocery aisles. And recipe-wise, such maneuvers can be a real bother. The 16-ounce packages of noodles one might use to make kugel, for example, have mostly trimmed down to 12 ounces -- with the exception you see pictured here, and duly noted by the makers of Pennsylvania Dutch noodles. If you've become accustomed to cooking by memory -- 1 package of noodles, 1 container of cottage cheese, etc. -- the pasta part will affect the end result. In some cases, I've had to buy a second container of whatever just to make up the difference for recipe ingredients, which costs more and creates leftovers.
Yogurt cartons have shrunk from 8 ounces to 6; ground coffee, ice cream sandwiches and cartons, cereals, canned tuna, peanut butter, orange juice, boxes of macaroni and yep, candy bars, have all undergone the quiet transformation.
So, here's your chance to vent. Would you rather be buying the same amounts and get charged a bit more, or are you comfortable with less product for about the same price? Is this a boon for households with small numbers?
And most important, which downsized food items have tripped you up in recipes? Talk back, America. Name brand names. I'll make some calls and see what manufacturers have to say.
-- Bonnie Benwick
The Food Section
June 9, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Shopping | Tags: Bonnie Benwick, Consumer Reports, shopping
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