Everything shrinks in a recession: GDP, investment portfolios, even the products on store shelves. Consumer goods companies know that customers won’t go for price increases during a downturn. Instead they often use a different tactic to offset things such as new competition or the rising cost of raw materials: cutting quantity while maintaining price. Yet it may not be obvious that your ice cream or OJ containers have shrunk. Manufacturers must note new specs on packaging, but the changes don’t have to be advertised (ever seen a now smaller! label?). Here’s a look at one of the most recent examples:
This still comes as news to some people. Apparently, there are still folks out there that don’t actually read the labels on the containers of food they purchase. I’ve been noticing this for a while now. Most notably my 1/2 gal. of Breyers has been melting faster and faster as the packaging continues to shrink and the price remains the same. Same for the spaghetti sauce I buy. The price stays the same, the quantity shrinks and the net result is you pay more for what youre buy but you don’t really notice.
This is kind of a ‘soft inflation’…it’s happening, but it’s being quietly slipped in under cover of careful labelling and packaging. One of the reasons I notice is because a) I almost always evaluate prices by comparing price/oz. and b) I have items purchased last year that I can compare against. This has been going on for a while and if more folks were aware of it more folks might realize how their purchasing power is slipping away.
This is another reason we stock up on things when we can. That can of vegetables that cost $1 per 15 oz. this year may wind up buying an identical sized can next year that only holds 13 oz. at the same price. When you see those sales, stock up.
We’re planning on hitting the local grocery stores Friday and seeing what kinda discounts we can get on turkeys. ‘Cause, let’s face it, prices ain’t going down.