While packaging shrinks, prices don’t

4/1/2011

Customers are getting less bang for their buck at supermarkets as commodity prices increase, they’re still paying more as food companies shrink containers to pass their costs on to consumers.

It’s a well-known fact that shoppers hate price increases. So food makers have been downsizing and redesigning packages, usually no more than five to six per cent at a time so shoppers don’t notice, studies have showed.

Some examples of downsizing include yogurt that used to come in 750-gram containers, is now available in 650-gram tubs; Tropicana’s1.89-litre carton of orange juice is now 1.75 litres.

In Quebec, shoppers are better informed, as provincial law requires grocery stores to post the unit prices, the only reliable way to evaluate an item’s true price.

The practice is expected to continue as analysts expect a five to seven per cent jump in consumer food prices this year.

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