As an avid Consumerist reader, Drew knows to watch out when the boxes on the supermarket shelves get a makeover. Oftentimes these are tell-tale signs that the grocery shrink ray has been at it, reducing the amount of content you get and charging you more. His favorite cereal, Kashi Honey Sunshine, was a recent victim, dropping from 12 oz to 10.5 oz and getting a “New Look!” in the process.
“I was very disheartened to learn that my favorite cereal went up in price (about $.30 locally), but thanks to you guys, I have become skeptical of “New Look” package redesigns, and my suspicion was well-deserved,” writes Drew. “Even though the box is the same size, somehow it holds 1.5 fewer ounces!”
What’s interesting about this instance of the grocery shrink ray is that it came with a price increase. Mostly we’ve seen manufacturers changing the volume of the packages and keeping the price the same. Consumers read the price tags, but not the tiny print that says how much is inside. They’re more likely to switch brands if they see the price change. As production and commodities costs continue to rise, it looks like that strategy no longer offers enough margin.