In 2007 prices were soaring and we warned readers to stock up as things went on sale. I received several comments from our friends on Facebook and our blog that they were not seeing price increases. It happened then and it is happening now. Containers shrank making us believe prices weren’t really rising then and they are again. If you look at the bottom of a mayonnaise or peanut butter jar you will notice an indentation. Those jars used to be flat on the bottom. By increasing the indentation manufacturers could reduce the amount of product while keeping the price the same.
Do you remember when ice cream was really a half gallon? There are 64 oz. on a half gallon but ice cream now comes in containers weighing 48-56 oz. Most are now about 48oz. A serving size is 3-4 oz. meaning the containers we purchase now have have 4-5 less servings. That is significant. Tillamook said that it didn't make the decision lightly, but that if it didn't make cartons smaller it would have to hike prices because of rising ingredients costs. Wait…that is a price hike. If you are getting less for the same price it’s a price hike.
So what is happening right now?
Walmart Great Value Paper Towels dropped from 168 sheets per roll to only 120, while the price stayed the same.
Frito-Lay just shrunk regular bags of Dorito's from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces. Both are currently for sale at Target for the same price.
Hershey cut down its 18 ounce pack of dark chocolate Kisses by almost two ounces.
Hefty's mega pack went from 90 bags to 80 bags, at the same price.
A two-pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups used to weigh 1.6 ounces. Now it's just 1.5 ounces.
Tubs of Pringles are different weights depending on the flavor but they all cost the same.
General Mills shrunk its "family size" boxes from 19.3 ounces to 18.1 ounces – a drop of nearly 10%.
Tillamook decreased the size of its ice-cream cartons from 56 ounces to 48 ounces.
Some of Royal Canin's cans of cat food now weigh 5.1 ounces, down from 5.9 ounces – but they still cost the same.
Charmin toilet paper originally had 650 sheets per roll. It now only contains around half of that – and even its "Mega Rolls" and "Super Mega Rolls" don't have as many sheets as the original. The sheets have gotten smaller as well.
Cadbury, owned by Mondelez, has shrunk candy size over the years. Chocolate bars it sells in multipacks weigh less than ones it sells individually – and it announced plans to shrink down the size of multipack bars even further.
Gatorade is now 4 oz. less pre bottle but the same price, the equivalent of a 14% price increase.
Ziplock baggies now contain 4 fewer bags per box.
Bounty paper towels have 18 fewer sheets per roll
Quaker Oats instant oatmeal packets now have 8 packets down from 10.
As consumers we tend to look at the price of items but it’s time to be more aware and check the price per ounce and number of items in a container as well. Don’t be fooled.