Photo: cafemama, Flickr
Yes, you've gotten bigger since your first carton of Häagen-Dazs but the carton's actually getting smaller. Or at least its bottom is caving in and air is being whipped in, dropping the contents by 2 oz. (a 12.5% reduction from 16 oz. to 14 oz.) with no change in price.
In the latest issue of Consumer Reports, senior editor Tod Marks found a list of products that are shrinking to raise company revenues in tough times, including Hebrew National hot dogs, Kirkland Signature (Costco) paper towels, Tropicana orange juice and Kraft American cheese packs, which now contain two fewer slices. And are none cheaper. It all started with a roll of toilet paper that claimed to be the "thickest ever," when in fact it was short 52 sheets.
"They've got a point," writes Marks. "Higher commodity and fuel costs are expected to spike in food prices by as much as 3 percent in 2011. But if manufacturers are skimping when costs go up, why aren't they more generous when costs hold steady or fall?" Companies claim they wanted to prevent sticker shock, so they decided to keep prices the same and instead charge us more for less product and hope we wouldn't notice.
Consumers are advised to check a product's unit price, which appears next to the list price on a shelf and will tell you the cost in size (per ounce, per pound, etc). Then, buy in bulk when prices are low. The magazine also advices contacting these downsizing companies themselves, who have been known to offer coupons as an apology.
Call us hard-up investigative cranks, but we kinda just want what we paid for.