These days, saving money in the aisles of the grocery store will have little to do with added sugars or package weight. It is now more important than ever that consumers pay attention to size.
More companies are shrinking packaging sizes as a means to cut costs due to rising global prices on food and resources, however the items are still priced higher than they would be at a smaller size. A customer service representative at Ivory told Consumer Reports that dish detergent bottle sizes have been downsized from 30 ounces to 24 ouunces because of the increasing cost of raw materials.
“You are paying the same for less,” Consumer Reports senior editor Tod Marks said to New York Daily News.
Haagen Dazs ince cream container shrunk from 16 oz to 14 oz due to the rising cost of ingredients and facility production.
“Over the past few years, the cost of dairy, fresh eggs and all-natural ingredients – like fresh raspberries and Madagascar vanilla – have increased an average of 25%,” Häagen-Dazs spokeswoman Dori Bailey told New York Daily News.
When it came down to it, representatives from the company said, they had to choose between changing the size of the product or raising the price.
One food company saw the pain of downsizing packages when complaints were made after Pepperidge Farms cut down the size of its wheat bread. They returned the bread to its original package size, but later had to discontinue sale of it.
The biggest issue around product downsizing is whether or not companies offer a fair game when the demand and supply index is reversed.
“It’s a shell game,” Marks said.”If manufacturers are skimping when costs go up, why aren’t they more generous when costs hold steady or fall?” he asked.
How come some consumers haven’t noticed? Some companies have hidden package size reduction by playing with the wrappers and labels on the products. The bottom of the container will be indented, more air will be pumped into ice cream and yogurt containers, and plastic wraps are made thinner. A recommendation while grocery shopping is to look at the unit prices that measure cost related to ounces and inches and buy in bulk when prices are good. Also, as a consumer, consider using store brands instead of name brands; they are often 25 percent less expensive and may contain similar ingredients. Use of coupons will also help save the consumer cash as companies scramble to keep up with increasing global food prices.