haagen dazs new look
This isn't the only thing that's new about Haagen-Dazs
Incredible but true -- over the past couple of years, some of your favorite grocery store items have been shrinking right before your eyes. But you've been paying the same price for them. Isn't that fantastic? Thank you, food manufacturers, for this fun magic trick! Now give us back our money.

According to Consumer Reports, food and household goods manufacturers faced with hard economic times have chosen not to raise prices to keep themselves well in the black. Instead, they're cutting back ever so subtly on volume and ingredients.

See why I'm sticking with Ben & Jerry's for now.

A carton of Tropicana orange juice has gone from 64 ounces to 59 ounces.

A package of Kraft American cheese has gone from 24 slices to 22 slices.

Chicken of the Sea pink salmon pouches have gone from 3 ounces to 2.6 ounces.

And cups of Häagen-Dazs have shrunk from 16 ounces to 14 ounces.

Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry's continues to sell its ice cream by the pint. (Ahem, one pint = 16 fluid ounces in case you're rusty on your measurements.) I've always gone back and forth on the two ice cream brands. Ben & Jerry's has wackier flavors and uses rBST-free milk from small family dairies, but they add artificial thickeners like guar gum and carrageenan. Häagen-Dazs loads its ice cream with dairy and egg-yolk richness alone, no seaweed-derived additives.

When you think about it, I suppose it makes sense now that we're now paying more for higher-quality ingredients (looking at the price-per-unit) in Häagen-Dazs. I would almost be convinced ... if only Häagen-Dazs could assure me that their milk is also rBST-free. Until then I'll keep eating the Vermont hippie seaweed stuff -- or better yet, make my own ice cream.

See Consumer Reports for more examples of downsized products -- including before and after pictures!

Have you noticed these changes? Do you compare just prices or price-per-unit?


Image via Häagen-Dazs