Have you noticed that many grocery store items are shrinking in size? In many cases, manufacturers are hoping you DON’T notice and are often tricking you with the dimensions of the box, carton, or jug. Here are 9 such examples with some shopping hacks to fight back on each. Hope these tips help you save money on your next trip to the store.
1. Ice Cream
Do you remember the days of buying ice cream in half-gallon cartons (64 oz)?
Now when you buy your favorite Dreyer’s or Breyers ice cream they typically come in 48 oz (1.5 quarts) cartons.
Unfortunately when this sizing change started happening a couple years ago the price stayed the same or even went up in some cases.
Work-Around Hack: Try to buy ice cream produced by local creameries, many of which still package their yumminess in half-gallon cartons with a price point lower than the big brand names.
2. Orange Juice
Last year, Tropicana quietly rolled out 52 oz clear plastic jugs to replace their 59 oz containers. The price remained the same.
The tricky part of this dealio is the jugs look identical from the front view as they simply made them slimmer.
So when you view them all lined up at the grocery store you don’t notice a difference unless you look at the boiler plate on the bottom of the jug telling you the size.
Work-Around Hack: Always look at the price per ounce when buying OJ. If you’re not a brand-specific shopper, opt for the best deal available.
While cereal boxes look the same size from the front, MANY are getting really skinny.
The result is less cereal in the box for the same price.
According to a recent study “15 products suffered a reduction in packet size, and in the majority this resulted in an increase in the relative cost for each ounce of cereal.”
Work-Around Hack: Check the per ounce price when buying. Often times buying your favorite cereal in the “Family Size” box, or from Costco, makes for a better deal.
4. Toilet Paper
Many toilet paper manufacturers still claim the same number of sheets per roll, BUT they made the sheets smaller.
The average size use to be around 4.5 inches per sheet and they now come in closer to 4.
Work-Around Hack: Buy your TP from Costco as the sheets still measure 4.5″ x 4.0″. WAY bigger than brands like Scott and Charmin that come in at 4.1″ x 3.7″ per sheet.
Believe it or not, a 1 pound can of coffee use to actually hold 1 pound of coffee. Crazy concept, huh?
Nowadays the same size can or bag only contains 11-13 ounces of coffee.
The next time you’re at the grocery store check out this phenomena.
Work-Around Hack: Buy coffee in bulk from Costco or when it goes on sale at your grocery store. You’ll pay a unit price MUCH less than if you bought the 11 oz Starbucks bags.
I love my Greek yogurt but I recently noticed how much smaller the containers are getting.
A container that use to last me an entire week now only lasts 4-5 days.
Brands like Chobani have been shrinking containers for years now.
Instead of raising their prices, they’ve found the strategy of simply having smaller containers to be much more profitable.
Work-Around Hack: Buy larger volume multi-serving yogurt containers as you’ll pay much less per ounce than if you buy the individual-sized yogurt cups.
Toothpaste manufacturers are getting really tricky as well.
Colgate, for example, took their largest size (8.2 oz.) and lowered the tube to 8 ounces. Then they had the audacity to print “33% more” on the front of the 8 oz. box.
It’s not until you look at the small print on the back of the box where it compares the 8 oz. box to the 6 oz. box.
Work-Around Hack: Aside from making your own toothpaste, pay attention to unit size and look for deals on specific brands. Also, you can save by buying multiple tube “packs” from Costco.
Many shampoo makers have been slowly shrinking bottle sizes for years.
By doing it slowly, they’re hoping you won’t notice. Start noticing y’all!
Work-Around Hack: Snatch as many shampoo bottles as you can on your next hotel stay, shave your head (like me), or buy in bulk and save.
9. Canned Tuna
Tuna cans have a shrinkage problem.
20 years ago, a can of tuna weighed in at 7 ounces. Nowadays you’d be hard-pressed to find one over 5.
Unfortunately, the price of a can of tuna has NOT been shrinking making the cost per ounce significantly higher than in the past.
Work-Around Hack: Look for sales and grocery store coupons which can bring the price down. If you have the pantry space, you’ll want to stock-up when the price is right and beat the canned tuna manufacturers at their own game.
Ask the Reader: What other items have you discovered that are consistently getting smaller while the price remains the same or even goes up? Let me know in the comments below.
By Kyle James