Products shrinking but not prices - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Products shrinking but not prices

Burlington, Vermont - March 30, 2011

Manufacturers are making subtle changes to packages of items you buy at the grocery store, which means you are really paying more for less.

"I didn't notice. Not until you mentioned it," said Ellen Spring, a grocery shopper. "I consider myself a label reader, I brag about it even. So now I'm going to start paying more attention."

While this is happening all over the grocery store, here are three examples illustrating some of the most drastic changes:

Ivory Dish Detergent has gone from 30 ounces to 24 ounces-- a difference of 20 percent.

Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream will also cost you more for less; the old container was a pint and the new container is only 14 ounces, downsized by 12.5 percent.

Tropicana says last winter's freeze in Florida is to blame for their orange juice package shrinking. The old carton was 64 ounces. The new one is 59. This is almost an 8 percent decrease in size.

"It's driven mainly by the cost of manufacturing, but it's raw material cost, labor, other business costs associated with the product," said Brian Busier of Lantman's Best Yet Market in Hinesburg.

Consumers may think this shrinking contest is just a sneaky way to increase profits, but experts say it might be necessary for you to keep buying their goods.

Busier explained, "So, it's either raise the retail or do you try to keep it to a comparable price for customers to use so they don't see the big gouge, price difference?"

So what are some doing to avoid the shock of shrinking packages?

"Check your volume, check your weight," grocery shopper James Adams advised. "That's the only way you're going to know what you are getting."

But consumers should know that not all manufacturers downsize. Ben and Jerry's still packs its ice cream in pints and Minute Maid still sells its orange juice in half gallons.

Melinda Davenport - WCAX News

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