... how could you not notice?
Many of you will remember how, if not when, it all began. I believe it was when a pound of coffee in the grocery store suddenly became eleven ounces. At that time all of us should have complained. I don't know which company started it, but the others followed that action in a short period of time.
I don't recall which business was next, but eventually many followed that action. Candy bars and cookies... all that good stuff, were able to suddenly shrink their product and increase their profit.
One of the best deterrences in this creep was instituted by the U.S. Government. I was a commercial artist doing a lot of package designing at the time. Although most of these tasks were for plastic packaging for bakery goods and fresh produce, the inception of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act was timely and needed.
Massachusetts came out with its own version, which, in some cases, was more strict. I had to learn and comply with the regulations of each governing body. Basically it involved strict regulations on the size and position of the type. The type size was determined by the overall size of the front of the package. The Food and Drug Commission was responsible in seeing that all packages of any kind complied with the rules.
The most helpful part of these new regulations is the small colored shelf tag which every shopper should read. By law, it must appear just above the shelf price. This gives the price per unit, whether it is a pound, quart, gallon, or in some cases, fluid ounces. You'll be amazed when referring to that unit price, how much a supposed bargain is. For example, a local store had a sale marked "Penny Candy". However, the small package had a shelf price of over $8.00 per pound ... and that's a pretty penny.
Now go to the ice cream area. You think you are buying a half gallon of ice cream ... as of yore. Look in the lower left portion of the front (by law, it must be shown) and you'll find, in many cases that you are getting 1.5 quarts, a 25% reduction from a half gallon.
The most recent reduction which I have noticed is for tuna fish. Note that the usual six ounce can has shrunk to five. The price is the same, around 69 cents, although I noticed a local supermarket was selling the five ounce can 'ON SALE'. It was a trip-over aisle display, not to be missed, but marked 'SPECIAL' $1.00.
They are in business to make a profit and the margin in groceries is a low percentage. With the cost of living increasing, we must match wits with them, so be sure to check the price per unit. It pays.
November 6, 2009