Shrinking Products Mean Inaccurate Unit Prices

Email  Print Print  

With the recent spate of incredible shrinking product sizes, it’s important to double check your grocery store rack labels and their math. I know a lot of people use those white and yellow labels to help decide whether they’re getting a good deal, I use them all the time, but with producers shrinking products, there can often be a mismatch between the label and the product.

For example, Breyer’s recently lowered the size of their ice cream from 1.75 quarts to 1.50 quarts and didn’t change their UPC bar codes. This meant that a 1.75 quart Cookies & Cream had the same bar code as the 1.50 quarter Cookies & Cream. When you combine that with a supermarket staff not advised to change the labeling, you get bad math. Here’s an example:

Breyers Ice Cream

I apologize for the poor image, I took it with my cell phone, but you can make out that the package size is 1.50 quarts (the new, smaller size). The label shows that the retail price is $4.99 and the unit price is $2.85 per quart.

The unit price is actually $3.33 per quart ($4.99 / 1.5) and the $2.85 per quart unit price applies to the older larger version ($4.99 / 1.75).

Grocery stores aren’t trying to trick you into thinking you’re getting a better deal than you are, they simply aren’t paying close attention – but you have to. Stay sharp!

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

12 Responses to “Shrinking Products Mean Inaccurate Unit Prices”

  1. Traciatim says:

    If you find these, ask the manager to give you the item for the unit price, since it’s advertised. They will fix them quickly.

  2. Lau says:

    I actually have heard that manufacturers, nowadays, make the same products but – as you mentioned – in a smaller package and didn’t change the price, which is exactly what you’re pointing out. Except: they are fully aware of what they are doing and the not-so-changed price gets carried over to our grocery stores and to us… How nice!

    They call it “short-sizing” apparently.

  3. Frugal Dad says:

    Interesting find…This whole shrinking products thing is an interesting phenomenon because I suspect the majority of consumers still haven’t noticed. A friend of mine said the other day he eats the same 1cup of cereal for breakfast every single day. The other morning he sat down to pour a bowl and the box went empty – a full two days before it normally did! Only then did he notice the drop in net weight listed on the box (the box sizes were even the same, just less product).

  4. You know… products ARE shrinking! The Fig Newtons we opened yesterday appear to be much smaller in size. So small that you can hardly hold them in your hand to take a bite AND not bit your finger too!!!

    Package is gone, but will have to check out size when we go to the store again.

  5. Amy says:

    I noticed this is happening a lot with our cereal too. They are subtle changes, but a definite decrease in sizes.

  6. Jake says:

    Well maybe as we eat less our waistlines will shrink as well 🙂

  7. Greg says:

    I’ve noticed this trend at least 10 years ago. The first time I noticed was with Hersey’s candy bars. A single one had a net weight of 2.1 ounces. Now it is 1.6 ounces. It’s not just Hersey’s but Mars and almost all candy bars, along with a decrease in the net weight in packaged bags of candy.
    I remember when they used to sell 32 ounce packages of Lucky Charms in supermarkets. Now the only place you find these are at places like Sam’s Club and other big outlets where grocers go to resell the products for at least 2 times the price that they purchased them at. I used to go there when I purchased candy, canned fruit and vegetables, snacks, sugar, etc…. I’m sure more people are going to these outlets and stocking up on products that almost all manufacturers are decreasing product sizes. Also, generic is almost outselling name brands. “Brand Name” has a terrible reputation. I hope it shows up in their botton line.
    What about shrinking yogurt packages? At one time Dannon and Yoplait used to sell yogurt in 8 ounce cartons and the quality was three times better. They’re 6 ounces (4 ounces for Danactive) and I can’t find any “fruit on the bottom” yogurt any more.

  8. Alisa says:

    I noticed the disappearing product size act a couple of years ago also, and, if I am not mistaken, there were also a few spots on our local areas news channels about this. Caveat emptor!

  9. Stephen says:

    Tonight I went to get a candybar and noticed that Cadbury’s Caramello Candy bar has reduced in size enough where it felt like something you’d handout on halloween. Sure.. the fat content reduced from 14 grams to 9 grams But the King Size is now 16 grams.. So I know the “KING” size is just slightly larger than the regular size used to be. I’d rather get charged abit more and know that I won’t feel like king Kong and a tiny morsel of food.
    Hey.. we might as well just switch to food pellets now LOL.. Its abit demeaning.

  10. Andy says:

    This phenomenon goes back at least ten years. I work in a grocery store when they started shrinking the size of jars of Pasta Sauce.
    Once upon a time Prego was 32oz, then it shrank to 30oz then a couple of years ago to 28oz then last year it went down again to 26oz and in the past few weeks I’ve started to notice 24oz jars of Sauce. What I find hilarious is that the old 16oz jars are now 13oz jars and we are flying through them like there’s no tomorrow. People are buying one of the 24-26oz jars and one 13oz jar to make up the difference. Of course the 13oz jar has a higher unit price(price per ounce) than the 24-26oz jar.

    We also sell 46oz jars of sauce(used to be 48oz btw) at a much faster clip than we’ve ever done in the past(lower unit price)

  11. rid0617 says:

    I too noticed the new 23.5 ounce Prego jar. I have had it and the only way to resolve this is show these companies we will not buy their product till it changes. Just fired one off to the Prego folks like they will really care. I also quit buying ice cream when it went to 1.75. Now they are 1.5

  12. James says:

    I despise this practice! I can fully understand the need to increase prices, the cost of ingredients goes up, of course the product price has to go up. What ticks me off is this bait & switch trickery, the blatant attempt to deceive the consumer, which too often works. I’m FAR more bothered by the feeling of being cheated than I am by having to pay more for the same amount of product.

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.