I have a bone to pick with manufacturers and marketers and other food industry folk who seem to be driven by greed in this era of economic crappiness. It concerns downsizing. Not downsizing of the companies themselves (which I think may be in order), but the downsizing of containers, without a commensurate downsizing in price.
“Why I Oughta…”
The other day I bought a quart of mayonnaise for $4.59. Hellmann’s is the only mayonnaise I will buy – ever – and I had run out so I bought a new jar. I got it home and noticed something disturbing – it’s no longer a quart! It’s only 30 ounces! For more money! WHAT!? You can mess with a lot and I’ll be tolerant, but mess with my mayonnaise and I get steamed.
That got me thinking about what else has been downsized. A can of tuna is now 5 ounces, not 6. That’s not enough for 2 sandwiches, but rather one and a half. It is a travesty to have more bread than tuna in a sandwich, so now I must make 2 cans at once and get 3 sandwiches from them. However, that means that the price of tuna has gone up about 20%. (gulp!)
Tofu is a staple in our house. Back in the day a typical container held a pound. A nice, round number, easy to calculate recipes from. Now a container of tofu contains 14 ounces, an increase of 12.5%. AND the price has increased for the tofu, because guess what? It’s a healthy food! … Must… Charge… More…
How about yogurt? Anyone notice the container has shrunk by 25%, from 8 oz. to 6 oz.? Of course you have, but have you noticed that the price has also gone up on regular, boring yogurt? Now if I need a cup of yogurt for a recipe, I have to buy 2 containers (which is no doubt what the manufacturers want), and the remaining 4 oz. goes unused until it turns into a technicolor science experiment in the fridge. The Greek yogurt enthusiasts may be willing to pay $1.25 for a puny container of their yogurt, so it follows that we must be willing to pay more for plain old lowfat yogurt… not!… I haven’t bought yogurt since they raised the price. It’s not worth it to me. I am considering investing in a yogurt maker, however, but I hear it’s a stinky process.
Let’s talk about ice cream. 56 ounces? Used to be ice cream came in gallons and half gallons. Now it’s 56 ounces. There’s that 12.5% decrease again. And what happened to the price? When the price of gas went up last year, the cost of a “half gallon” of ice cream shot through the roof. Can you say “fleecing”?
At what point are we as consumers going to stand up and say “ENOUGH!”? Stop ripping us off; stop thinking that we are too stupid to notice that you are putting less in the box and charging us the same price? Stop thinking that we need your product so we will pay any price to have it. Stop thinking nobody notices that you are raking in the profit while we are paying more for less. We, the American people, are NOT stupid! We know we’re getting ripped off. We’re just voiceless, because we need to eat and most of us are slaves to our tastebuds, which you know.
What’s next? 10 eggs in a carton? A 4.5 pound bag of flour? A 10 ounce bag of chocolate chips? How about 7 Tablespoons of butter in a stick? Fewer Girl Scout cookies in every box for more money? (oh wait, that already happened.) There’s no end to the potential downsizing of food products. We need to speak out and tell the manufacturers and advertisers that we notice and are mighty miffed by their tactics.
Next time you notice that the giant box of Cheerios is only half full, take the box and draw a line on the outside with a Sharpie marker. Label this line “Total contents after shaking to counteract settling.” Then draw a line up near the top of the box and label it “Total contents if you were honest about your product.” Collapse the box and mail it to the CEO. Tell them that you would buy more of their product if they were honest about the labeling and presentation of their product.
Then go make some French toast.
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