When it comes to food, package size matters
Sep 12th 2008 at 10:00AM
Choosy mothers should probably choose Jif if they want to scrape more peanut butter out of a standard-size jar. According to CNN, competing sandwich spread Skippy is among numerous brand names that have quietly shrunk the size of their packaging as a means of passing on food inflation to consumers.
While the Skippy jar remains the same height and diameter as it did when it contained a full 18 ounces of peanut butter, a deeper indentation on the bottom accounts for the loss of 1.7 ounces. Meanwhile, the most significant change Jif has made to its packaging is on the label, where large type alerts consumers to the fact that this jar is still 18 ounces strong
Other slimmed-down packages include:
A box of Kellogg's Apple Jacks, down from 11 to 8.7 oz.; A can of Starkist tuna, shrunk from 6 to 5 oz.;
A bottle of Tropicana orange juice, which sports a new snap cap that's supposed to make up for the fact that you're getting 7 oz. less liquid; and
A "half-gallon" container of Breyers Ice Cream, which now holds 48 oz. instead of 64.
Consumers are catching on. In a nationwide Consumer Reports survey in July, 75% of respondents said they noticed packages are shrinking, and 71% believed the main reason for downsizing was to hide price hikes from consumers. Still, half of those surveyed said they'd prefer that manufacturers keep the old package and raise the price.
Edgar Dworsky, editor of mouseprint.org, a consumer education Web site that examines advertising's fine print, suggests checking and comparing the unit prices in the grocery store and opting for the brand that offers the most value. In other words, even those of us without children should be choosy mothers when it comes to buying food.