The Shrinking of, Well, Everything

I’ve noticed something curious over the past few years. Have you? Products in stores (particularly grocery stores) are getting smaller.  Two years ago I started this post after noticing the change in size for my favorite dish washing liquid:


Left: 9 oz. Right: 10.3 oz.

Since then I’ve noticed more and more items throughout the store are shrinking:

  • Cereal: There is less in the boxes; and the boxes are becoming so thin that they tip over. (<– First-World problem, but still…)
  • Orange juice:  Remember when a half-gallon of OJ was a half-gallon?  It’s now 59 fl. oz.
  • Cake mixes: They say they’ve reformulated the mix to ensure normal yields, but what happens to recipes that call for a “box” of cake mix? (Wegman’s has addressed this.)

The list goes on; and frankly, there are so many examples now that I’ve lost track. Can’t supply pictures, can’t offer proof.

I was moved to finally finish this post when I replenished my “lemon juice” this shopping trip. I buy those yellow plastic “lemons” when I need a quick shot of lemon juice in a recipe.  Well this time I noticed that the size offered by my grocer has been reduced by nearly half!  Same brand. Now in a smaller size.

Left: 4 1/2 oz.  Right: 8 oz.

Left: 4 1/2 oz. Right: 8 oz.

I don’t have the register tape for my 8 oz. purchase, so I don’t know if I paid a fair amount for almost half the product this time.  I don’t know if this manufacturer still offers the 8 oz. size.  All I know is that the smaller size is now the only size offered by my grocery store chain.

I believe food manufacturers are trying to shield consumers from the true cost of the food we eat.  Production costs are rising; so, in order to keep their product prices more or less steady, they shrink the size.  What? Do they think we won’t notice?

Now, about those cake mixes…  A chocolate cookie favorite that we bake at Christmastime calls for a box of Devils Food cake mix.  Another ingredient is a block of cream cheese.  The cream cheese hasn’t (yet) experienced a size reduction, but the cake mix has.  The cookies now have a distinct taste of cream cheese which was absent prior to the cake-mix size reduction.  We may have to tweak the recipe to get it back to what it was like “before.”

How many other adjustments will be necessary in some favorite recipes.

And a least a gallon of milk is still a gallon.

Have you noticed any size reductions?  Please add them to the comments.

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