Grocery Shrink Ray Hits Ready Pac Produce?

Andrew writes:

I work at a grocery store and am just appalled at how the grocery shrink ray is in full effect. I notice it the most is in the produce department. The company that is shrinking their products most effectively while maintaining the same price is Ready Pac.

About six months ago, Ready Pac introduced a new size for their dinner pack salad. It went from 16oz. to 12oz. The price stayed the same while the packaging shrunk. Their excuse was that it was best for the consumer because they wouldn’t have to buy so much. Whatever! Another item that Ready Pac has targeted is their cut fruit bowls. They’ve gone from 1 pound and a couple oz to 15.5oz packages. They’re still charging the same price too.

Companies to consumers: We’re doing you a favor by decreasing your purchasing power.

(Photo: Ryan Grove)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Manok says:

    very sneaky and very sad. I weep for this country.

  2. bohemian says:

    Any company that actually makes that statement that putting less in the package and not lowering the price is in some way good for me is getting banned from our grocery list.

    Raising prices I can understand and deal with. Making irrational statements and claiming they know better than I do what benefits me is offensive.

  3. blue_duck says:

    This is actually in response to the Purina dog food shrinkage~ For anyone in the StL area~ Shop ‘N Save’s bags are still 20lbs as opposed to 18lbs~ for now at least.

  4. timmus says:

    Making irrational statements and claiming they know better than I do what benefits me is offensive.

    Bravo, bravo. Actually do you have such a list? I’d be curious to know who exactly is saying that stuff.

  5. timmus says:

    (starting with Ready Pac, of course)

  6. bohemian says:

    Kraft and their “sensible serving” nonsense. Add Ready Pack to the list for their comment.
    Not totally related but I have quit buying most brand of ice cream not really due to the shrink ray effect but because a couple of them like Edys has started adding so much air to the ice cream your actually getting about 1/4 product.
    If this starts becoming the new “taking it seriously”, to try to convince you selling you less is good for you it is going to get old.

  7. Randy says:

    Shrinkage in ready-to-eat stuff like Ice Cream and the “Ready Pac” is a good argument for learning to make your own ice cream and salads. It might turn out to be a little more expensive, but at least you know you’re getting good quality stuff rather than air and fake chemicals and lettuce that’s God knows how many days old.

    There’s more than one way to combat the shrink ray. Learn to make your own stuff. It’ll help your waistline and give you better control over what goes into your stomach.

    “I don’t have the time!” Sure. If it’s important to you, you’ll make the time, or learn to use your time more efficiently.

  8. Angryrider says:

    Meh… I thought we weren’t supposed to eat salad in a bag because of salmonella.

    Deal with it. Everything’s getting expensive. Used to be $3.50 was all I need for a healthy and hearty lunch. Now, that can only get me a few buns at the bakery.

  9. Amanduh says:

    I’m completely and utterly NOT one of those DIY people (nothing against them, just lazy), but I don’t bother with the salad ready packs anymore. They always go bad in about two days and get that unappetizing red tinge at the ends of the leaves. It’s so much cheaper and not much more effort to just buy the components and make it yourself. The only ingredient that would go bad in any appreciable amount of time is the lettuce, and that is really cheap even if you don’t use all of the head. I used to do the ready packs years back, but after making salads on my own a few times, I realized there was really no point.

  10. ClayS says:

    You talk about packaging shrinking…what about the actual vegetables? Baby carrots, baby corn, baby eggplant, cherry tomatoes, its getting out of control.

  11. muffinpan says:

    You also should know that the growers take all the lettuce that does not form a proper head are chopped up and put in those salad bags. So you are not only paying more for less you are also getting inferior product. Product that was unsalable prior to pre-packaged salads being available. So you are now paying the grower for what was previously trash.

  12. witeowl says:

    @ClayS: That was actually pretty funny. Out loud chuckling ensued.

    Anyway, aside from the fact that I think this “grocery shrink ray” is a bit overhyped (prices going up = fact of life), this is one instance where I’m not only OK with the smaller packaging, but I prefer it over raised prices for the original size. I almost never can get through a whole bag before what’s left goes bad.

    @The “make your own salad” crowd: It’s not that it’s difficult to make a salad – duh – but I’d rather have a fourth of a bag of mixed greens go bad than half of the three heads of lettuce I’d need for a nice mixed salad.

  13. witeowl says:

    @muffinpan: That’s only consumer ignorance. They have to throw away stuff that doesn’t “look right” because we won’t buy it. It doesn’t mean it’s inferior; it means we’re snobs. It’s same reason they used to paint our oranges (now they color them using ethylene).

  14. muffinpan says:

    @witeowl: It doesn’t change the fact that previous waste is now a salable item. And yes the product is inferior. lettuce should look like lettuce. If it doesn’t then it is inferior,
    It has nothing to do with ignorance on the consumers part. They will buy what they want. They want a round tight head of lettuce with two wrapper leaves. We are not a starvation nation. We have the luxory of buying food that looks to “type”. Standards will decrease when there is a food supply shortage. We are, thankfully, not at that point here in the U.S.

    And they don’t color the oranges they enhance the ripening for better color as they do with tomatoes and bananas. Carnuba, wax yes the same as you use on a car, is put on apples to increase sheen.

    Consumers like nice looking produce. We give it to them. We are thrilled not throw our inferior product away. We now package it and sell it as we do with baby carrots. Any carrot that is crooked or to fat or to short for sale we put them in the turner and make baby carrots. Yep they are inferior carrots. We trim them up and you the consumer doesn’t know. What we used to throw away due to it being INFERIOR we now sell at a premium.

    But make no mistake we now sell inferior product, previous trash, at a profit.

  15. ChuckECheese says:

    @witeowl: In the case of the salad, the price went up 25%. Not a piddling thing at all. If it’s a fact of life that food has to increase 25% all at once, those are some rather heavy facts. I wonder how many 25% price increases people can cope with.

  16. Womblebug says:

    @muffinpan: So you’re saying that it would be preferable to throw away produce whose only defect is cosmetic, and those who purchase it anyway are somehow ignorant or wrong?

    Isn’t this the whole concept of “value added”?

    And if looks, or lack thereof, was the sole determination of “inferior”, we’d all be married to some bubbleheaded model. Thanks, I’ll take the inferior product. =P

  17. muffinpan says:

    @Womblebug: No. I am absolutly not saying that. If you like it or want it by all means buy it. I’m just stating fact. I don’t believe any food should be wasted. But it is what it is, inferior product. Before packaged salad we would throw it out, now we don’t. No judgements are being made at all.

  18. MBZ321 says:

    Ready Pac stuff is always a rip off to begin with. (Now I do buy bagged salad mixes sometimes to save time, but it is usually the store brand for under $2)

  19. Womblebug says:

    @muffinpan: Oh, ok, inferior as an industry term, I get that. It still amazes me that it would be thrown away. I would think that it could still be sold, at a reduced price, as animal feed or for vegetable broth or whatnot, but I’m not in the industry, so.

    This from a person who buys from that cart in the corner with the wilted stuff in it, so you get where my head is at. =)

  20. Nick_Bentley says:

    Wow, too afraid to raise prices, and then spins off a lie that it’s what’s best for us. No, it’s what’s best for them. I could understand a price increase, things aren’t getting any cheaper. But to shrink size and keep the price the same, then say “it’s the best thing for you, to have less”. Holy crap this is one brand I’ll remember to avoid.

  21. AlexDitto says:

    @Womblebug: That’s the thing. The cart in the corner with the wilted stuff is usually discounted, right?

    This is the reverse. They’re giving you the wilted stuff, packaging it as “more convenient” or “cuter” and selling it to you for more money.

    Doesn’t that seem strange to you? It would be different if this were discounted, but it’s not, and now they’re charging you even MORE for it.

    That said, I think this sort of thing will change this country for the better. The only thing that drives consumers to change their behavior is prices, and if the prices on these sort of stupid nonsense-products goes up, maybe it will be the kick in the pants that people need to go back to more traditional food practices, like chopping your own lettuce or making your own ice cream, as people above have suggested.

    Every cloud has a silver lining! And the ones that don’t can be chopped up, bagged, and sold as “Cloud: lining already removed! Just pour and eat!”

  22. MrFreshy says:

    You realize that shrinking the size and keeping the price the same is exactly the same thing as a price increase right? So why does this bother you so much?

  23. StoneKitten says:

    Probably good for this country’s health and size of our bottomlines.

  24. @MrFreshy:
    It is bothersome because it is a cruddy way to do business. Just because you can get away with something doesn’t mean that it is ok to do it.

    Why does it not bother you that these companies are trying to manipulate the very people who made them successful?

  25. MrFreshy says:

    They are not trying to manipulate me, they are raising prices. Everything is going up in cost, they have to charge more for the product or they go out of business.
    Reducing the size of a product and charging the same amount for it is the same as keeping the size the same and raising the price.

  26. silkyjumbo says:

    btw, you should store chopped lettuce in an airtight container – and include a couple of damp paper towels. the lettuce will keep fresh longer.

    *one of the only useful tips i picked up during my summer in food service 15 years ago.

  27. witeowl says:

    @muffinpan: When I was a child, and we had a garden, I woud get very excited to see carrots with funny looking points. You know, crooked or even cooler: forked carrots. I loved the variation of nature. It reminded me that nothing in this world is perfect.

    I never see those carrots in the grocery store. Well, not without being chopped up, at least. That makes me a little sad. Do I feel that those funny looking carrots are inferior? Certainly not. They taste the same, they cook the same, they look a little different. In fact, they make me happy because they’re special, like the rare double-yolk egg that I never get because of the misguided “quality control” that keeps them out of our cartons.

    The fact that most of us (note: not all of us) in the US have full bellies doesn’t exactly justify the waste of otherwise perfect food. It is unnecessary and a result of consumer ignorance and conceit. I don’t blame farmers; I blame consumers.

    I look forward to eating the “fruits” of the vegetable garden we’re currently building. I look forward to eating all that “inferior” product that would otherwise be wasted with people who don’t realize that our bellies and tongues don’t have eyes.

  28. witeowl says:

    @ChuckECheese: That’s an excellent point. I didn’t look at the math. So yes, in this case I’ll concede that it’s an overly signiicant jump in cost. That doesn’t mean I’m not nauseated from all the other shrink-ray boogie-monster stories, though.