Orange Juice Downsized - ©

Supermarket Dirty Tricks: Product Downsizing

W’ve touched on this issue before, but it’s time to take a closer look, as more and more kinds of packaged foods are being quietly, sneakily downsized. This basically means, the package stays the same and the price stays the same… But they put significantly less product in the package!

Ritz Crackers - Downsized - © has a running tally of popular products that have been sneakily downsized.
Like the comparison, above. featuring Ritz Crackers. Same box, same price,
— less product! (Down from: 1 lb. / 16 oz. / 453 g to 13.7 oz. / 388 g)

Okay… So you’re at the supermarket, going down your list. You get to the Meat Department and you bee-line it for the Hot Dogs and Cold Cuts and Bacon. It’s confusing enough that Hot Dogs come in so many different diameters and package weights, these days. But it’s even more confusing – and deceptive – to ‘downsize’ products…

Many food product manufacturers have kept their packages the same and their prices the same for years. But, for instance, they now give you only 375 g of product in the package where, not long ago, they gave you 450 or 500 g, depending on the Brand.

This is just the tip of an iceberg

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Bread has risen modestly in price over the past two or three years, amid reports of increased grain prices. But did you notice that the Loaves themselves have gotten shorter by three to four slices each? And the package weight, always in small print, has shrunken? The result is, you’re paying substantially more per slice!

They’re doing it with other foods, too

Cereal makers have always been suspect. Years ago, they were caught selling big boxes which were only half full – a deceptive marketing practice if ever I saw one. Ah! they said: But if you read the fine print you’ll see that the product is sold by weight, not by volume! They disclaim their tactics ever further by printing something like ‘Product may settle in shipping’ on the box. Cereal makers are more cautious about their packaging practices, now, lest they cause another flare-up of consumer ire. I hasten to note: The Cereal makers were never in breach of the letter of the law. They just mucked around with the spirit of it.

So… Before you put packaged food product in your cart, check and see how much you’re getting for the price. better yet, check the price-per-unit on the shelf sticker if you’re lucky enough to have this regulation in place in your jurisdiction.

And it’s not just food. tells all!

Hint: If you’re used to putting a 450 ml tub of Cream Cheese into your Cheesecake recipe and you unwittingly use a new, downsized 375 ml tub, your recipe will not come out the same!

Buyer beware!

~ Maggie J.