CCM just sent us a photo she snapped of these Mission Soft Flour Tortillas. It’s kind of cool to see that in this age of the shrink ray, a company is actually giving you more bang for your buck. Except that in this case, the two added tortillas used to be there until a year or so ago.
The Grocery Shrink Ray continues its miniature spree across the supermarket aisles of America. Here’s 14 more victims that have surfaced in the past week, as spotted by our watchful bands of deputized Consumerist reader-investigators…
The Grocery Shrink Ray has expanded its range and is no longer just hitting the US. Pint-sized woe has befallen the the UK snack section. For one, the Dairylea triangle is shrinking from 180 to 160g per cheese wheel. Other shrunken products include Rolo, Palmolive, Olvatine, Dairy Milk, Mars bars, Yorkie chocolate bars, and Pringles.Check out the company double-talk as they tried to explain away the changes, sometimes with verbal softshoe, others with oddly pugilistic rebuttals:
The Chicago Tribune quoted me in a piece on the Grocery Shrink Ray. Paraphrasing a food science. expert, it says, “Broadly defined, packaging costs often outweigh ingredient costs, Hotchkiss said. And a penny shaved off packaging can translate into millions of dollars in savings for a high-volume consumer product.” This is interesting because it means the greatest cost savings come from reducing package costs, rather than ingredient amount. Which means if they’re reducing ingredient amounts, they’ve got to be really hurting. Maybe if I really wanted to do my part to help the economy I should have spent that stimulus check on juice, cereal, paper towels, mayonnaise and ice cream.
Joe spotted this box of Bausch & Lomb Boston contact solution at his Target, another victim of the Grocery Shrink Ray. “Someone at Target wasn’t smart enough to change the original price label…4oz down to 3.5oz is significant when you are dealing with an everyday item like this at $7-7.99 per bottle,” he writes. Full pic inside.
Mark says he’s found fault with Faultless spray starch. The bottle shrunk by two ounces and is being sold for the same price, another victim of the Grocery Shrink Ray. Compare the products here and here. What’s interesting is that when he called his mom, she said she had a different brand of starch spray. It too had shrunk by two ounces. Could manufacturers be colluding together to all decrease their products by the same amount at the same time? I’ve heard of price-fixing, but what about the legality of size-fixing? In any event, Mark emailed customer service about the new package. Their cheery reply, inside…
Is your supermarket the victim of The Grocery Shrink Ray, the force that is shrinking how much product you get while keeping the price the same? Here are three antidotes:
For those of you who wanted a transcript of the NPR interview I did yesterday about the Grocery Shrink Ray, we added one here.
Bruce sends in what he thinks is another victim of the Grocery Shrink Ray’s fell and indiscriminate wrath:
NPR’s Michele Norris on “All Things Considered” did a nice interview with me about that deadly Grocery Shrink Ray sweeping supermarkets across America. It looks like it just aired, you can listen to it online here. If you want to look at previous stories in the Grocery Shrink Ray series, check ‘em out here. And if you have a example of a product that is shrinking in terms of volume or net weight and you want to submit it to us for a possible post, just send it on in to email@example.com.
Michael sends in this latest Grocery Shrink Ray victim, found at the Petsmart where he works. He writes, “The price is the same, and the 20lb bag is apparently being “upgraded” to an 18lb bag. This was the only 20lb bag left, but consumers who pay attention may be able to still be able to find some of the larger bags in stores.”
Media interest in The Grocery Shrink Ray sweeping across America continues, I was interviewed recently by CNNMoney.com, The Brian Lehrer Show, and Agence France-Press. Everyone knows prices are higher and manufacturers need to pass them on somehow. I don’t like the method of shrinking sizes while keeping the prices the same. Or when they combine it with a package redesign, hoping we’ll be so distracted by a new spigot that we won’t notice we’re getting less. My local pizza parlor went about it differently. They raised prices and taped up two articles explaining how rising wheat costs are driving up the cost of making pizza. They didn’t, however, cut their pies into 12 slices instead of 8.
Starting this week, a few portions are smaller and prices higher at Arby’s in the OK-KS-MO-AR region. Here’s the aftermath:
It looks like the fell Grocery Shrink Ray may have hit cans of Arizona Ice Tea, reducing the size of their 12 oz cans to 11.5 oz cans. We couldn’t find any definite pictures of 12oz Arizona Ice Tea cans, but we did find them being sold on this website in 12 oz cans. What happens to a product when the shrink ray hits it? I imagine it goes eek! eek! eek! and the last eek is an octave higher than the first.
Consumerist Editor Ben Popken (hey, that’s me!) talks about the grocery shrink ray today at 5:30 PM Eastern on WTVT-TV FOX 13 in Florida.