Shrinking Foods

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here that Hershey’s price increases might be accompanied by another strategy to pass higher prices on to consumers–decreasing the weight of the product. And, lo and behold, here’s the confirmation. Yesterday, the International Herald Tribune published an article highlighting the shrinking food weights for a number of manufacturers. Skippy Peanut butter jars will contain 16.3oz rather than 18oz and forget the half gallon cartons of orange juice, they’ll contain only 89 rather than 96 fl. oz. As for chocolate, Mars will decrease the volume in some of its candies and others will probably follow.

But then we have already seen the incredibly shrinking package in the chocolate market for some time. When I grew up in Germany, a chocolate bar contained 100 grams of chocolate. For me, that’s a normal size. With the emergence of all the fancy gourmet chocolates over the past decade, however, bar sizes have decreased even before the recent price increases. I guess one way to state the exclusivity of a chocolate bar is to make it small. I wonder what it is in our subconscious that associates small with exclusive rather than rip-off.

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