Shrinking products at same prices

June 28, 2008

It has been widely reported that certain American food manufacturers have turned to downsizing package sizes on the quiet in a bid to cut costs, fuelled by rising production costs due to soaring oil and food prices (what’s new).

Of course, the hush-hush game is being played so as not to repulse consumers who may not be observant enough to notice the downsizing at all. After all, in a world where prices of everything else is going up, it will be a promotion of the items of some sorts should their prices remain stagnant. Such coy marketing ploys at work, albeit underhand. Who cares about honesty being the best policy if profiteering is affected at the end of the day?

Though, with the latest reports, these ploys are likely to have been foiled and the companies have some answering to do to their customers.

Then again, are consumers that blind not to notice the surreptitious marginalising privately at play?

As Ms Deirdre Cummings, legislative director at consumer advocacy group MASSPIRG aptly puts, “So many times, they put ‘new improved package’ on the label but they would never put ‘new, improved and smaller’.”

Shouldn’t it be made clear for consumers that they are paying less for the same amount? As buyers, we definitely have the right to know about such changes. Well, at least the Singapore market is not that badly affected yet, although even if it is, we can probably trust our Consumers Association (CASE) to set things straight.

In the meantime, however, has any other fellow local readers noticed a possible covert shift taking place in the fast food restaurants here, in terms of the food portions? I was having supper with a friend recently when he commented, rather aptly it seems, that “unlike 10 years ago when the Big Mac was so huge that we have to split the hamburger into two layers to eat it, the Big Mac is more like a Small Mac now”. Apart from which, the sizes of the burgers at McDonald’s, the fried chicken at KFC, as well as the meat at Long John Silver’s certainly seem to be shrinking by the year, while the prices of their meals are still going up.

As consumers become savvier while the business world gets tougher, it remains to be seen who will have the last laugh.

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3 Responses to “Shrinking products at same prices”

  1. Vaasu Says:

    In the end, the people always win. Deaf marketers and business at some point have to pay the price. What we have been seeing is the power of information in the hands of people. Look at what happened in China over Tibet, look what happened to the Soviet Union.

    The most powerful force now is information democracy. If you hide information, people will turn away. As there is enough available information to consume.

    Thats the premise for http://www.udrool.com.sg to put the power of shopping information in the hands of the people

  2. bedespeesia Says:

    Phat post, great looking website, added it to my favs!

  3. SEO Joe Says:

    It’s happening in the grocery store as well. They are doing in really small increments over a long period of time so that no one notices. There should be consumer laws in place so that companies have to label that their product has shrunk.


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