I was in the mood for ice cream tonight so went out to the local market to quench my craving. While browsing the isle I thought that the packages looked smaller than normal, much smaller even though the price remained the same. I picked through the refer and sure enough I found a couple of the full size 1.75 liter packages mixed in among the new shrunk product, which is now coming in at 1.5 liters.
The Consumerist, I learned, has been detailing the trend among packaged food producers to shrink the size of their packaging while leaving the price unchanged, in effect raising the prices while attempting to avoid the detection of consumers. In the case of ice cream, that’s a 15% price increase.
This is bad business for a couple of reasons, but mostly because it’s an attempt to trick consumers into paying more at the point of sale, but also bad because it presumes consumers are, well, stupid and don’t know this is going on. Prices are going up, that is no surprise to the average consumer who is paying $4.50’ish a gallon at the pump, so why would the average consumer not expect inflation at the market? It’s absolutely shameful that marketing people at food producers think that they have to slip in a price increase in this manner.
Personally, I would rather that the grocery store just raise the price honestly. We don’t buy much packaged food at our house and because I do most of the grocery shopping I see what is going on apples to apples (no pun intended). Food prices are going up dramatically, not just the basics like milk and eggs but also produce and of course meats (I paid $26 a lb for steaks the other day, frickin good steaks but still… $26 a lb!).
No wonder Starbucks is closing 600 retail stores… who the hell can afford $4 lattes when their wallet is getting squeezed at the gas pump and now the grocery store.