March 30, 2011

Food Packaging Gets Tricky: Smaller Packaging for the Same Price

Food packages
Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain
A couple of weeks ago, I roamed around my local grocery with a list of items that I had purchased in January 2008 and compared what the prices were today, in 2011.

You can read that comparison for yourself here.

At the time, I thought "tricky, tricky" when I discovered the can of diced tomatoes and the box of pasta were both packaged in smaller amounts.  Not a huge difference, but it would add up fast enough if you were the manufacturer/supplier. 

Today, while surfing the web, I discovered that I'm not the only one wondering about this little trick.  At the New York Times, Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell have written an article published today, "Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags," where they've investigated this national trend -- something that isn't new, they've been doing this for decades -- and its current guises:  companies are going green, offering more portability, etc.

No company wants to flat out admit that they're trying to keep that price on the can or box or bag from rising, and they'll just change that container before they'll up the price -- because maybe you'll choose not to buy their goods if you see that number rise.

Maybe you will, maybe you won't.  Truth is, food is food - and if you're needing two cups of tomato sauce for your recipe, you'll buy accordingly.  Some folk will be fooled by this trick.  Savvy shoppers won't.

Here's the reality.  The dollar is worth less, and things are costing more.  We're impacted by things like the rising cost of oil much more than in our gas tank.  (See my earlier post listing lots of products made by petroleum to get an idea.)

Times are tough, and getting tougher.  Which just makes living a life of voluntary simplicity that much smarter, IMHO. The fun, peace, quality of life -- that's just an added bonus or three ....

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