ghariton wrote:Not exactly new. When I was a child, chocolate bars cost five cents. Then the bars started shrinking. Eventually we got the new, improved large-sized bar for ten cents, that was approximately the size of the original five-cent bar. Then the process started all over again.
I think there's a significant difference. Chocolate bars and bags of chips, etc. tend to be discretionary purchases. You might have bought one if you had (back in the day) a nickel or dime, but not if you had to fish around your pocket/purse looking for an extra penny or two. Moreover in those days vending machines weren't very sophisticated. Often they accepted only a few coin denominations and didn't make change. So there was a valid reason for the products they vended to be sold for a single coin. It's no wonder then that it made sense to shrink the size slightly to keep the price at a nickel rather than doubling the price to a dime. Vendors could validly argue that they were doing this for everyone's convenience in the face of rising costs.
The situation today is quite different. There's no problem with increasing the price of a chocolate bar slightly from, say, 80¢ to 85¢ or even $1.00 to $1.10, rather than to shrink the amount in the package. A consumer isn't likely to forgo the purchase due to that sort of increase. Likewise the products mentioned in the article. Consumers are used to seeing the price of a container of orange juice or spaghetti sauce go up from time to time. There's no need for this subterfuge.
Indeed, such size reductions may actually increase manufacturing costs -- which compound the increase in unit prices consumers end up paying -- because it's necessary to make new molds for the smaller glass or plastic jars and make new dies for the smaller tin cans and/or modify the filling machines to accommodate the different container sizes. Moreover, a consumer who's accustomed to use a jar of sauce to make a batch of spaghetti will now have to adjust the recipe to deal with this shrinkage -- usually only after noticing that the first batch using the new container size is "off."
How is any of this any an improvement or more convenient for consumers, let alone of any real benefit to them? It's clearly an attempt to hoodwink the public. It's deceptive and possibly fraudulent.
Sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyperverbosity and prolixity.