Sunday, June 21, 2009

How About Downsizing The Price Too!!!

It's been going on for quite some time now. And yet I have seen no consumer groups complain, nary a peep from any politician, nor have I heard a reasonable explanation from any manufacturer. What am I talking about? This incredible new trend to downsize the items we buy, while at the same time maintaining the original price of the larger size.

Loaves of bread now have 6-8 fewer slices, yet bread costs the same, if not more than the larger size. Cheese used to come in 680 gram blocks, now it's 500 grams. Yet I'm lucky if I can get it on sale for the old price of 680 grams. Some soft drinks are smaller. Yogurt single servings are the same size single servings if you eat two. Laundry detergent is now coming in boxes with less loads, yet at the same or higher price of the previously larger size.

But now they have pushed me too far. Shopper's Drug Mart had Pringle's chips on sale Saturday for 99 cents a can. That's not a great deal but what they normally go on sale for at No Frill's and Wal-Mart. So I go to Shopper's Saturday and what do I see? Pringles cans are roughly half the size of the old ones, which also used to go on sale for 99 cents. So to put it in perspective, I now have to pay $1.98 to get 2 cans that will equal the size of the old one, that used to be on sale for 99 cents.

Oh the humanity....
p.s. Feel free to add any examples you have experienced in comments.


Brrr said...

I haven't seen any of this in the way you describe. Sure, Pringles has smaller cans, but that's a new size in addition to the $1.29 regular sized ones. The bread I buy is still the same size. If anything soft drinks come in much larger sizes, and the price is lower. Heck, MOST food comes in larger and larger sizes for less and less money, it's a big reason why so many people are so fat.

The only real downsizing I've seen is with those stupid 100 calorie packs. Of course, all that happens with those, is people eat four or five or them and fool themselves into thinking they ate less.

Just being honest said...

Cheese packages have been steadily shrinking from their original 454 grams (1 lb)size. There are now also 400 gram packages of bacon, also down from the traditional 454 grams. I guess we can just keep an eye open, do the math and buy the most cost effective brand.

syncrodox said...

At the risk of sounding like some conspiracy goof I will offer this explanation.

Thank air miles. The reward programs that many of us prescribe to are nothing more than data mining data bases that correlate spending habits with income ranges to price point the products we use.

As an example Lipton Sidekicks will range in price from $1.99 each to 4/$4.00 depending on the time of the month. That is to say they price point high on payday weeks and offer the deal on off payday weeks.

As far as making packaging smaller the marketing gurus will tell you the consumer wants a smaller portion.

Based on the data they have mined they understand the income, buying habits and demographic of their consumers.

That would be you.


paulsstuff said...

Very interesting Syncro. Thanks.

NorthWestTory said...

We usually buy more then one thing at the supermarket, convenient store and just figure it's something else we bought. Myself, I haven't had pringles in a while. I normally eat Ruffles. Thanks.

paulsstuff said...

Ruffles and Helluva Good Dip is my favorite.

Dave Hodson said...

There's nothing sinister about downweighting products; it's just another way to implement a price increase. Manufacturing costs change, and so must retail prices. However, sometimes downweighting the product is not as obvious to the consumer; especially if taking your price up a bit more will move you beyond the next psycological price barrier in the consumer mind.

You also often see a follow-the-leader pattern of downweighting. Consider the coffee category. Large cans were 1.1 KG. Then one manufacturer dropped to a 1 KG can, and the rest followed. Recently, some have moved to a 925 KG can, and it's only a matter of time before the rest follow. You don't want to have a can that looks the same size as the others, and sells for the same as the others, but costs you more to manufacture.

It's also done a lot on similar, but not identical, products that are line priced. Again with a coffee example... Recently, Columbian coffee prices have spiked. However, many manufacturers might want to price their entire line the same, but with one type costing them more, watch for some manufacturers to remove a bit of coffee from the Columbian SKU while keeping the other flavours and types at the old weight.

maryT said...

This has been going on for years, notice the size of canned goods. When I made lunches for 5 kids, one loaf of bread did it, 4 slices/kid with 4 slices left.
Then we went metric, and all of a sudden one loaf of bread was not enough. Re the soap, it tells you it is improved and you only need half as much. That is a lie. When someone called a talk show back then re milk going up the answer,
Due to metric conversion it now took more containers to pkg the same amount of milk, so we were paying for pkging.
But, you are right, size goes down, price goes up.

Anonymous said...

Its simply a way of raising the price. The manufacturers think the customers, or as they are called more often these days, the consumers, are too stupid to notice their purchases keep shrinking.

It's been going on for years.

A few weeks ago, I saw a store brand loaf of bread, encased in packaging meant to look like the high quality loaf placed next to it.

The store brand had a big 'sale price' ticket with a slightly smaller price than the regular (expensive)one of their competitor.

Perhaps someone in a hurry would grab the one that was 20 cents cheaper, as they both look alike and look 'healthy'. However, if one looked closely, one would discover the store brand was smaller ( less weight) so you this was, as far as I am concerned, deceptive merchandising/advertising. It was not cheaper. I took the non-store brand and would again never buy a store brand product without checking the label. It made me suspicious of every store brand item they sell.

Anonymous said...

Also, do not automatically reach for the item you want eg. spaghetti sauce, that is placed at eye level, or slightly lower, on grocery shelves. That's where they put the stuff they want to unload.

Often better value is found on higher shelves or bottom shelves. Take your time, read the labels.

RL said...

Nothing to add to what's been said, except that I'm happy politicians haven't uttered a word about this - the pricing of private goods is none of the government's buisiness.

Anonymous said...

Great post Paul!!

What bugs me is the push to Buy Ontario, but the price of buying Ontario is high.

I'd like to oblige and buy local but it's just not affordable.

The price of fresh fruit and vegetables is out of whack..especially homegrown.

Pisses me off because we grow the stuff in my region, yet still import.

Anonymous said...

Have you also noticed that Kraft Dinner is smaller?

oh no..not KD!!

One of the best posts Kinsella ever did was on the different ways one can cook KD.

I think he should get back to those posts and off of politics.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ice cream! Check it out. The sizes are all over the place.

The big deal with ice cream is to make sure it isn't labeled "frozen dessert", which is just a concoction of various offshore chemicals.

Alberta Girl said...

Popsicle brand popsicles - they might as well just stick a stick in an ice cube and call them a popsicle. They are half the size - shorter and thinner.

Frances said...

This has been going on for years. Consumer Reports regularly points out particularly egregious changes.

Anonymous said...

These Bite-size packs produce much more garbage and they still have about 15% empty space within the package .

Candy bars are now being sold as "Singles" or "Fingers" , but this makes sense because the price for just one is like getting The-Finger .
One company I saw uses over-sized
wrapping to print a Picture of the product to entice the buyer on impulse.

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