Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Less is less
When I picked up milk and orange juice at HEB the other day, I noticed that there was a difference in the labeling. Although both were house branded, and were in the same sized containers, the OJ was labeled in quarts, and the milk was in liters. Of course, unless my metric to American unit converter is wrong, 59 ounces do not half a gallon make. In fact, I do believe it is a full 5 ounces short - more than half a glassful.
This is part of a phenomenon dubbed the "Grocery Shrink Ray" over at the blog The Consumerist, where manufacturers subtly alter the packaging to sell you less product without perceptibly increasing the unit price - even though in the long run, the price has gone up. In fact, the reduction from 64 to 59 ounces was predicted after bad weather resulted in a less than stellar orange crop this year in Florida. The big worry for some is that once cheaper oranges are available, do you think manufacturers will return to 64 ounces in the carton?
Shaving off small amounts of product have affected a large number of grocery items, from peanut butter, to ice cream, to baby formula and soap. Next time you have a beer (say a Red Stripe or Tsingtao), check to see if the bottle lists a full 12 ounces.
But the cleverest one I've seen yet is from Hershey, introducing the whole line of "Air Delight Kisses" aerated chocolate. A quick calculation reveals that they are able to shave off 25% of the chocolate, replacing it with air - and touting it as a feature. Brilliant.