Wegmans Grocery Store Admits That The Dreaded Grocery Shrink Ray Exists

Wegman’s a grocery store chain in the northeast has addressed the issue of the grocery shrink ray, and shed some light on why even store brands are affected by its malevolent beam. Wegmans says that their store brand merchandise is manufactured by companies that also make products for other stores — so they have little say about the size of their products.

Customers have asked why at least on Wegmans brand, we couldn’t keep size the same and just increase price (or better yet, keep size and price the same!). Wegmans brand suppliers often make products for other retailers (different recipes but same package size). It’s more costly for them to produce varying product sizes for different customers. So they often limit production to only one size; when costs rise sharply, it’s a new “smaller” container.

Well, that was refreshingly honest.

Up or Down? [Wegmans](Thanks, Aaron!)
(Photo: Tom Simpson )

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  1. am84 says:

    I heart Wegmans. I wish we had them in Pittsburgh.

  2. I hate to sound condescending, but do people really believe Wegmans, Shoprite, Foodtown etc… actually make the products that are branded with their names? I hardly trust the cashiers and clerks at some stores, I’d trust them even less making food.

  3. yungjerry703 says:

    they just built one in my area and its everything you want a grocery store to be, mean while two giants bit the dust and bottom dollar is the devil.

  4. ibored says:

    theres a reason wegmans is always near the top (if not on top) of the best companies to work for. Compare them and like the next nearest retail company and its freaking shocking.

    Wegmans is more important than god in Rochester NY. If you want a grocery store experience you ahve to check out there flagship store in Pittsford NY. Its the only grocery store I would actually consider going on a date to.

  5. mrdot says:

    Wegmans is indeed the best. I just wish they were out here on the west coast…

  6. acknight says:

    Part of why I <3 Wegmans.

  7. wattznext says:

    Wegman’s is the best! i dated a girl in Rochester NY, and loved going to Wegs when i traveled up there from NYC. Never thought to go on a date there ibored, but maybe it’s something for future consideration. I was beyond happy when they started opening stores in NJ.

  8. BelBivDevolkswagen says:

    God I miss Wegmans. And WPOP. And Dr. W. And Mountain W. And all the other Wegman’s brand products…whether they’ve been shrunk or not!

  9. womynist says:

    Wegman’s is what I miss the most since moving from Syracuse, NY to the middle of nowhere, NH. Wegman’s offered great variety & price and their store brand items were just as good as name brand. Also most of them were open 24/7 so it was fun for us bored teenagers when there was nothing to do at 3am. Wegman’s RULES!!!

  10. savvy999 says:

    Wegmans rules all. Their own brands are in a lot of cases a LOT better and tastier than major brands. Wegman’s Organic line of salad dressings, tortilla chips & salsas are better than anything else in the aisle.

    Just on Saturday, my spouse brought home a watermelon from Weggie’s, opened it up– it was rotten inside. Called the store, not only did they refund our money for the bad one, they gave us a free watermelon just for the hassle of having to go back to the store.

    What a refreshing way to do business.

  11. Raziya says:

    @womynist: At ;east we have Market Basket here in NH! (I live in VT, but so close to the NH border I might as well be in NH). I’ve never been to Wegman’s, but everything at MB is so cheap I can’t really complain.

  12. gqcarrick says:

    @ibored: I agree, Wegmans is always a great company to work for, and shop at. They have the best selection around for the price.

  13. Shmonkmonk says:

    Ever since I started shopping at Wegmans, I have a hard time shopping at other grocery stores. The only down side to the place is that every time I go in there, I get the urge to play make believe and pretend I’m a lot better at cooking than I actually am. It’s hard for me to walk out of there without buying $10 blocks of cheese and $13 bottle of truffle oil.

  14. ExtraCelestial says:

    I love Wegmans!!! They just opened a huge one up the street from my sister’s house and I stock up whenever I visit.

  15. Angryrider says:

    God forbid Wegmans shouldn’t acknowledge its existence. It’s becoming all too clear.

  16. quail says:

    The shrink ray is all about price points. The manufacturers believe that they will lose sales if their price per unit goes beyond a certain point. If it wasn’t for the shrink ray, consumers would be more aware of inflation at work.

    Oh, and Wegmans is a good store. It’s just not the cheapest. But you get what you pay for, a good shopping experience.

  17. snowburnt says:

    @am84: ah but you have giant iggle which IMHO is much nicer…Wegmans is fun the first time but it’s full of self-entitled pricks who think that they’re better than you and have more of a right to walk down an eisle than you because they’re eating organic…or just because they’re at Wegmans…at least the one in Fairfax is like that. also way over priced.

  18. BigPapaCherry says:

    (FD: I work at Wegmans when not at school)

    Wow, I can’t believe all the Consumerist commenters agreed to like one company. Makes me want to get back home and start working as a Wegmans cashier again. I hate shopping at Acme, I miss Wegmans too.

    Bravo for confronting the shrink ray.

  19. mac-phisto says:

    wow. look at all the wegmans shills here.

    glad i’m in good company. =) worked for them in high school – best job i ever had (to date). i had an h.r. manager there that actually knew what h.r. meant. she’d walk around & ask people how they were doing, if they had any problems or suggestions, what she could do to make my work experience better & actually took the time to get to know me & all the workers.

    unfortunately, i was spoiled by that early on in my time in the workforce & every h.r. department since has been grossly incompetent in comparison. =(

    cheers, wegmans! glad to see you’re still keeping it real.

  20. This week I noticed that Price Chopper’s Central Market brand ice cream was specifically marked as being “still a half gallon”. And it’s good – I’ve liked every Central Market brand item I’ve ever tried.
    I think now that the jig is up & the cat is out of the bag, more companies will just give up on that tac, and just use the fact that they’re not doing it as an advertising hook.

  21. shavethatsoulpatch says:

    Wegman’s is, indeed, awesome. If the barcode on a product doesn’t scan, they will give you the product for free rather than make you wait while they go check the price. This happened to me with some expensive cheese (not, like, a $0.99 roll of toilet paper).

  22. Rajio says:

    Wait, there’s an actual RAY? that is what this headline leads me to believe.

  23. nataku8_e30 says:

    Best grocery store ever!

  24. joellevand says:

    I do love Wegmans so!!!

  25. BigPapaCherry says:

    @grood: really? Where is your Wegmans? Mine has never done anything like that. We’re happy enough to run back and do the price check ourselves, but I don’t think we’ve ever given away food just because it didn’t have a barcode. Wonder if you just have a lazy cashier or manager.

  26. ElizabethD says:

    Popped my Wegman’s cherry in NJ last month while visiting a friend, and I am a convert. DO WANT in Rhode Island! *sigh*

  27. ElizabethD says:

    Um, wow, my comment echoed the previous commenter’s screen name in a sort of creepy way. 8-O

  28. nataku8_e30 says:

    @ibored: Also felt I should mention I grew up within walking distance of this Wegmans, and for everyone who thinks it’d be weird to take a date there, they do have a restaurant attached called “Tastings.” If I recall correctly, they provide information on how to make everything in the restaurant from ingredients available in the store. The grocery store itself also has an area with tables where you can sit down and eat, and a lot of freshly prepared food available.

    I’m also a little surprised no one has mentioned the premium Wegmans chocolates. They’re incredibly good and have some unique flavors, like PB&J. I’d take them over Godiva any day.

  29. MrMold says:

    Wegman’s does really well. The one adjacent to Chautauqua NY caters to the snobbery of the summer people while selling to the local hillcretins. Decent prices, good selection, great staff and support from the management.

    Many local hillbillies also shop here as many of the stores only carry hunter’s foods-jerky, beer, toilet paper-at elevated prices.

  30. allnitecp says:

    @snowburnt:

    I think that is mostly because of the location. Other areas that have a large number of different Wegman’s stores to shop at, don’t have this issue.

    People in Fairfax act the same way at any other area grocery store (Safeway, Whole Foods, Giant, Trader Joe’s, etc.)

  31. digitalgimpus says:

    I’m starting to wonder if the extra packaging required to buy more units for the same amount of actual product means that the packaging and shipping become a larger percentage of total product cost.

  32. Jigen says:

    I just recently quit Wegmans after working there over six years.
    I worked in produce and from time to time would get product with another stores name on it. Boxes were always labelled with the real companies logo, so mix-up would happen.
    I always thought it was common knowledge that store brands aren’t actually made by the store, but are a wide-spread product that get different labels slapped on them for different stores.

    Wegmans will lie right to your face about their irradiated beef though, at least mine did.

  33. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    I’m committed to Wegmans! There is one 20mins away, yet 2 mins away are Genardis, Giant and Acme. None can compare (nor open 24hrs) like Wegmans.
    I’ve been buying their (wegmans) store brand and been pretty happy. I can get 2x the amount of groceries for same price (which is odd as Wegmans near Princeton is far higher in price, not 24hr, smaller aisles, and..gasp…much ruder consumers).

  34. pal003 says:

    Wegman’s shrunk my favorite muffins!! Now they are much smaller and seriously not worth the original price. Did they think I wouldn’t notice shrunken muffins????

  35. ibored says:

    @nataku

    I have been to tastings twice and was very impressed but compared to other fine dining its a little steep pricewise.

    I go to RIT in Rochester and took the wonderful woman who is now my fiance to the Pittsford Wegmans as our first date. She (a Rochester newb) was thoroughly confused until we got there.

    @jigen, what about the meat? I am curious about this because I tend to not buy meat there instead I use a local butcher

  36. soccerMaul says:

    I have lived in Rochester my whole life and I’m not surprised at their honesty. There are simply THE best shopping experience anywhere. PERIOD!

  37. DAK says:

    @snowburnt:

    Surely you’re confusing Wegmans with Whole Foods?

    I’ve never been unhappy with a single thing I’ve bought at Wegmans, ever. No one else comes even close.

  38. VA_White says:

    @Git Em SteveDave is a poor substitute for LindsayJoy: I don’t think people believe Wegmans actually manufactures their own pickles and cheese but it’s not unreasonable to commonly believe Wegmans can dictate things like package size and quality levels.

    The fact that they have to share one single package size with other grocery stores is what they are addressing, not the misconception that the have their own Wegmans factories.

  39. HannerHearse says:

    It’s nice to see Wegmans getting its props here. It’s a company that treats workers well, stocks great products, labels their store brands helpfully (gluten/vegan/allergens/etc.), and has good customer service.

  40. JeffDrummer says:

    My former employer. Not as good as they sound, but they are very honest to the customers.

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @ElizabethD: i don’t know if you have big y in RI, but that’s the closest thing we have to wegmans in CT. it’s not quite wegmans, but pretty close.

  42. halftank says:

    @snowburnt:

    You’ve just described 99.9% of Northern Virginians. They’re arrogant and selfish everywhere they go – can’t blame Wegman’s for that. Great store, but I only go there (or any other grocery) very late on weeknights.

  43. pandroid says:

    I miss Wegmans an incredible amount. It’s as nice as a whole foods, except 1/3 as expensive. And their bakeries are the best!

  44. TechnoDestructo says:

    So…are there so few store brand manufacturers out there that supermarkets really DON’T have a choice? And are all of them doing it?

    If that’s the case, could the grocery shrink ray be a form of price fixing?

  45. biikman says:

    I live 5 minutes away from the Faimount one in Syracuse. I do enjoy going there, especially when they are giving samples to try. I wish I could cook at home as good as they seem to taste in the store. In an effort to find at least one criticism (its tough), I was disappointed when the in-store cafe decided to stop letting customers get free refills when purchasing food/drink. It was nice when doing weekly shopping to grab a pizza and soda for lunch, then have a re-fill for the ride home. Thats all I can think of.

  46. Erwos says:

    @snowburnt: I go to the one in Dulles all the time, and I don’t have problems like that.

  47. shavethatsoulpatch says:

    @BigPapaCherry: Maryland. Must have been a lazy cashier then, but I was very pleased :)

  48. Jigen says:

    @ibored: Nothing too bad. They will just deny the fact that there is radiation involved in the irradiation process, I assume because many people would question the safety of bathing food in radiation. If you’re like me, they will tell you how you are wrong and have no idea what you’re talking about in front of a large group of people. Lie to the customers to make a buck.

  49. WraithSama says:

    To people wondering about the store product branding, it’s pretty common. There is a supermarket chain in Indiana called Marsh which, like most other decent-sized chains, has their own brand. The Marsh-branded milk actually comes from the same manufacturer that makes the ‘name brand’ Deans milk. The only difference is that they received different labels at the manufacturer. So, even though they are the same milk, by the same manufacturer, the Marsh milk is cheaper.

  50. ElizabethD says:

    @mac-phisto:
    No, no Big Y in RI that I’m aware of.

    We are, however, finally getting a Trader Joe’s… and in my own town. W00T!

  51. Elvisisdead says:

    @Jigen: Right. My cousin was an accountant at ConAgra. All store brands are made by the same company as brand names. Sometimes, they lower the input quality, but many times, it’s the SAME product.

    This is also true for *GASP* organic products. No difference between organic and non-organic but the box, can, or jar. That’s what happens when there’s no enforceable organic standard or anything other than voluntary attestation. Obvious caveats for Cali, Wa, etc.

  52. DAK says:

    @TechnoDestructo:

    I don’t think price fixing would apply here. It’s really more of a supply issue, specifically manufacturing supply. That likely affects the cost that the supermarket chain incurs, but it doesn’t specifically determine price. As long as the various manufacturers aren’t acting together, I think everything is technically above board.

  53. TechnoDestructo says:

    @DAK:

    Apparently they ARE acting simultaneously in a similar manner, else the supermarkets could opt to not go along with it. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re acting in concert, but it’s suspicious.

    And I was not suggesting that supermarkets are price fixing (though if the manufacturers are colluding, the supermarkets COULD be in on it), I was assuming they were also the victims here.

  54. unnes says:

    Wegmans is the greatest reason to live in Rochester.

  55. avantartist says:

    all this talk about wegmans is making me homesick.

  56. Human947 says:

    Intill this thread i had not heard of this supermarket chain.
    Sounds like a lovefest heeh get a grip fellow humans it is a store no better or worse than any other upscale supermarket in the country.

  57. Jigen says:

    @Human947: You have no idea. People around here have a hard-on for Wegmans. Kids seriously go there to hangout even. I’ve never understood the Wegmans love myself.

  58. Valhawk says:

    Wegmans is the greatest supermarket ever. They have such a ridiculously wide selection of just about everything.

  59. modenastradale says:

    Yep, I completely love and miss Wegmans. There’s really nothing quite like it here in SoCal.

  60. @Human947: NOBODY UNDERSTANDS MEEEEEE.

  61. Ohhh, Wegmans, you made my childhood in Syracuse so wonderful in every aspect. And you put Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s to shame. I miss you dearly; please move to NYC!

    And that is my love letter to a grocery store.

  62. Rachacha says:

    @snowburnt: I do agree that ther is something different between the Fairfax store and the Dulles store. I actually think that part of the problem is that the flow of the Fairfax store is a bit different than any other store I have been to (I am a Rochester Native, and Former Wegmans employee). Combine the different flow with people coming in to “sightsee” and not really paying attention to where they are going and you get the situation you describe.

    @Human947: I think that part of the problem stems from the fact that many people from Rochester/Buffalo/Syracuse area (either born & raised or went to college there) think that Wegmans is the way that a “typical” grocery store is, so we actually don’t think of Wegmans as an Upscale supermarket, it is “Just the way things are”. When they leave the area and move to other parts of the country, they realize that Wegmans is not your average grocery store, and even some of the upscale grocers pale to the quality and selection of products offered. Combine that with the fact that every Wegmans store carries Upstate New York oddities (Zweigle White Hots, Grandma Browns Baked Beans, & Real Buffalo Wings (or at least acceptable in the DC area) and you start to establish a cult like following.

    Afterall, what grocery store can honestly state that for their grand openings they have people camping out in the parkinglot and holding a tailgate party!!!

  63. papahoth says:

    @Raziya: ugh, we had one in Wilmington, MA. I would rate them below Stop and Slop, almost as bad as Dog Food Lion.

  64. papahoth says:

    @halftank: Hey, f you and your generalizations. anyone that generalizes like this shows ignorance in spades.

  65. papahoth says:

    @snowburnt: Well at least you have good reactions. I tried to run you over in the parking lot, but you dove out of the way so fast. I’ll keep trying though.

  66. papahoth says:

    @Jigen: There is radiation involved in the cooking process in most cases too. I have even been told that the sun generates radiation. Can you believe that?

  67. timsgm1418 says:

    I don’t have a Wegmans near me but when I visit my sister in VA we go to one of 2 Weggys (what we call it) and sometimes I don’t even buy anything, I just like walking around the store. It’s a great store, we’ve spent over an hour just walking around and looking, sure beats the hell out of Giant in MD. Almost everytime I go to Giant they’ve changed the layout of the store and put things in odd places. Took finding a worker to figure out why the kidney beans weren’t with veggies, oddly they had put them with coffee beans? Apparently the (I believe) Dutch owners don’t understand kidney beans are veggies, not the same as coffee

  68. provolone says:

    @papahoth: DON’T TALK SHIT ABOUT WEGMAN’S! >:-<

  69. adamcz says:

    Wegman’s is the best grocery store in the world. I dare somebody to say something bad about them.

  70. adamcz says:

    I want consumerist to start a best company in America competition so that we can have more posts about Wegmans.

  71. ScramDiggyBooBoo says:

    Its odd how everyone here pretty much loves Wegmans. I think a reason for this is that it is still a privately owned company by the Wegman family. There are no greedy “investors” to squeeze the company for profit, i.e, making prices go up…

  72. rysar says:

    I’m getting a kick out of these replies since I submitted the article :)

    Wegmans is great, and great for admitting that they can’t control what happens to their store brands.

  73. pezhore says:

    @ibored:

    I took my fiance to the Mega-Wegs in Pittsford on one of our first dates about 4 years ago. Gotta love the 24 hour grocery stores. And their Cheese selection is awesome.

  74. theblackdog says:

    @BigPapaCherry: You haven’t seen consumerist commenters when a Costco story is posted, have you?

  75. WillClark says:

    Wegmans is a damn grocery store. Stop gushing over it.

    The one near me has incompetent, slow, and often surly cashiers. I buy rolled oats that rarely scan correctly, and grood’s stories about getting stuff for free are BS. I’d go to the Whole Foods but it’s quite a bit more expensive.

  76. papahoth says:

    @provolone: learning to follow links is a good thing to do if you are to survive out here with your manhood intact

  77. papahoth says:

    @WillClark: given how responsive they are to customers, i find anything you are saying hard to believe, but then i also found it hard to believe that will clark was more than an average player once he moved to the superior junior circuit either.

  78. josephsherry says:

    I sometimes wonder if the people here actually read the articles before they write their comments.
    This story is not about Wegman’s quality, beauty or it’s ability to be a place to date.
    This story is all about the shrinking package sizes of their products which are made by someone else.
    Geeze they give you folks the ability to vote. I guess that is the disadvantages of a public school education? You do not learn to read.
    Now we know why China is taking over and our country is going down the drain.

  79. spyz88 says:

    Wegman’s is a nice place but their prices are a little ridiculous. Not to mention they don’t carry products such as Entenmann’s brand cakes, pies, etc because they don’t want it to compete with the Wegman’s store made brands.

    Also has anyone else noticed their truck drivers drive like maniacs? They almost ran me off the road once.

    ShopRite FTW!!!

  80. I moved to Portland OR and have to go shopping at numerous stores
    (Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, New Seasons) to get the same
    selection found in one Wegmans’.

    And no supermarkets here are open 24 hours!!! WEGMANS is the best!!!

  81. skijmpr says:

    @BelBivDevolkswagen: Don’t forget W’up! =P

  82. provolone says:

    @papahoth: You are right, I sincerely apologize. I guess my love and devotion for Wegman’s got the best of me and I reacted too quickly ;)

    I was only kidding anyway and trying to make a joke about people’s love for wegman’s. I think my manhood is as safe as ever.