The Latest Grocery Store Scam: Legal But So Wrong

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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

desserts, grocery shopping

23 Comments

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miche... micheledo

Um, yeah.  It was pretty obvious to me!  Everything started getting smaller and weighing less - though I noticed it in the ice cream first.  Not sure if they were the first to do it, or if that just tells you ice cream is important to me!


I guess I would rather have smaller containers then hight prices.  The smaller container has motivated me to eat less so it still lasts just as long. 

nonmember avatar Jen

I noticed it about three years ago, the first time being at Braum's. It's rare that I go to Braum's and when I do it's for a gallon of milk. Actually around here the product sizes are shrinking but the price is going up. If it was that the price stayed the same with small portions, it would be easier to understand.

momto... momtothemax2910

This has been going on for a long while now. DH and I saw this info elsewhere and surprised that a lot of people we knew hadn't noticed.

bibdy... bibdybobdyboob

I have definitely noticed!  I think my packages of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Bread have also shrunk.  I used to get two loaves and now I get a loaf and a half out of each bag.


Lots of things that used to be a pound are now twelve ounces.  Ice cream has shrunk twice.  Cans of tuna are smaller.  Tofu is 12 ounce blocks instead of 16. Sugar is in four pound bags instead of five.


And prices are going up!


Can you tell I'm pissed?  Because I certainly am.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I remember there was a MASSIVE revolt when Tampax did this... oh gosh, it had to be ten years ago, now.  They went from (I don't even remember the counts now) maybe a 50 box to a 40 box, but didn't change the price, and didn't say anything.  Reports after the fact said that they didn't think women would notice.  But boy, oh boy! Did women notice!!  There was a huge letter-writing campaign, and Tampax was forced to go back to the old size, and I don't thik they changed the price, either... at least not right off.


But I believe that was exclusively a for-profit move.  This time, I suspect it's because producers know that inflation is coming, and they're trying to stave off as long as they can, the raising of the prices.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I've noticed prices skyrocketing everywhere, whether or not the packaging has changed.

081109 081109

It's that way at restaurants too!  Both fast food and higher quality restaurants are serving smaller portions.  When I worked at Wendy's I watched the buns get smaller, them shave weight off the meat patties, smaller chicken, etc...

Fallaya Fallaya

I've been noticing this for years.  But since I shop sales and use coupons, I rarely pay full price for food anyway.  

rosei... roseisrose

yup, we noticed a while back too- hubby brought it to my attention. we as well shop mainly sale items and use coupons as much as possible.

Aura Leigh Oosterveld

I think they've done this for a while in Canada. I used to live in the States so when I visit relatives I really notice a difference. A large coffee in Canada is comparable to a medium in the States.

nonmember avatar Carol

Tuna Fish! I used to make 2 or more sandwiches from a can. Now I buy it at Costco, which has the original 7 oz cans. The ones at the grocery store are 5 ounces. And Costco is cheaper per can.

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