Friday, April 1, 2011

Myth: Food packages continue to shrink.


With the cost of ingredients such as corn, soybeans, wheat and sugar rising, food companies have two choices – increase the price of their products or make their food packages smaller. Some companies are continuing to shrink their food packages, yet the price of their foods stays the same or increases. Pasta used to come in 16-ounce boxes, now some brands only offer 13¼ ounces. Canned vegetables used to be 16 ounces, now they are 15 ounces or less. You might find canned tuna in 6-ounce cans but you will also find them in 5-ounce cans. And the good old days of 64-ounce containers of orange juice are gone as it has now been downsized to 59 ounces.

What’s a consumer to do?
  • Choose a lower priced store brand. Quality, taste and appearance may be just as good. And if you are using the product in a recipe like a casserole where appearance is not a concern, then you will definitely benefit by saving money and no one will know the difference.
  • Read the unit price labels on store shelves. They tell you the price per unit such as the price per ounce, pound, etc. You can use these labels to compare packages. Check to make sure these labels are up-to-date.
  • Check out the article Squeezed by rising food prices? for other cost saving ideas.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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