Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

"For Your Convenience" Packaging Shrinks, But Not Price

Just for fun!, Living well on less $, THE ECONOMY, Truth

Before we breezed out of town last weekend, I purchased some Edy's Slow Churned Ice Cream in what formerly was the half gallon size and tossed it in the basement freezer. (I know ice cream has not been 1/2 gallon for years. It is actually 7 cups.)

While away, my husband spotted a USA Today article he thought was blog worthy: Shoppers beware: Products shrink but prices stay the same It was all about how manufacturers are making the packages smaller but charging the same price as the former full size:

"Downsizing is nothing but a sneaky price increase," says Edgar Dworsky, former Massachusetts assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division, now editor of, a consumer website. "I'm waiting to open a carton of eggs and see only 11."

The article showed Edgar Dworsky with a magnifying glass and some Breyers ice cream cartons in the new 1.5 quart size. If you aren't paying attention, it would be easy to mistake the 1 cup smaller packages for the former 1.75 quart sized cartons.

 "We did not in any way try to hide this," insists Tim Kahn, CEO of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, which also makes — and has shrunk — Edy's. "The package-size change couldn't be any more visible."

I didn't catch the Edy's reference at the time--hey, I was on vacation! But tonight when my men wanted some ice cream, I noticed the Edy's carton on the counter and said, "This is smaller than before, we got gypped like the article!"

I still paid the same price as the larger size but lost 1 cup of ice cream.

Sometimes manufacturers have the nerve to try to sell the idea of smaller sizes, spinning that it is for your convenience that the package is smaller because it is easier to carry!

Sure enough, my ice cream was the newer, smaller size. When I put it back in the kitchen freezer, I noticed that it fit in a place that wasn't tall enough before. Guess the smaller size was for my convenience. :)

Other products have shrunk too. Sugar is a good example. Sugar always came in 5 and 10 pound bags. Now you have to be careful. The name brand sugar often comes in 4 pound bags. Generic or store brand sugar usually comes in 5 pounders. (Aldi's sugar is 5 pounds for $1.79 if you were interested.)

Consumers just can't catch a break. We pay the same, if not more, for gas laced with ethanol for a 10% reduction in m.p.g., and now we pay the same price for a container that is 10% to 20% smaller than before!

Hmm, if only we could reduce the density at Percheron Square by 20%, but that is a subject for another day.


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