Photo by ninjapoodles
Consumer Alert: Many of your favorite brands are drastically reducing product sizes without a corresponding drop in price. In some cases, the price has even gone up while the quantities have gone down. This has been going on for some time, but the latest reductions in product size has been more drastic, and come at a time when consumers are already feeling the pinch of rising food and gas prices.
Last week I received an email from someone who works in the food industry (they asked to remain anonymous). In the email they cited several examples of brands that are reducing their quantity per package:
- Starkist Tuna
- El Paso Seasoning Mixes
- Folgers Coffee
Obviously, this is not a exhaustive list, but I wanted to share the specific examples provided so you would be more aware during your next grocery shopping trip.
What Can We Do About Rising Prices and Falling Quantities?
Not much. But, it is a good time to remind consumers to check out unit prices when comparing various product sizes. Often times bulk packaging is more expensive per unit than smaller counterparts. Marketing departments are banking on the popular misconception that bulk packaging is always cheaper. Take along a calculator during your shopping trip, or use the calculator utility on your cell phone to compute the unit costs of the product your are interested in. Here’s a real-life example from one of my past shopping trips for laundry supplies:
- $10.99 for 120 loads – $.0916 per load
- $6.84 for 90 loads – $0.076 per load
The 1.5 cent difference doesn’t sound like much, but if the larger container was offered in a 90-load size at the same unit price it would cost about $8.24 - a $1.40 premium over the smaller package. If you go through a bottle a month that adds up to nearly $17 over the course of a year. Multiply those savings by four or five similar products and you can easily see how checking unit prices can save you a couple hundred dollars a year.
Have you noticed any of your favorite brands reducing product sizes to reduce costs?