Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Egad!  I just saw an ad for tuna – Chicken of the Sea.  I must admit that I haven’t yet seen the actual item on the shelf, but it is 4, count ’em: FOUR! ounces, probably  - I could almost guarantee it! - packed in the same size can. Remember way back in the not too distant past when tuna was 7 ounces? (I do know there were once 8 oz. cans too. But the slip from 8 to 7 eluded me.) I still have in my pantry one special 6 ounce can, and several 5’s – but a 7 ounce can of tuna is a thing of the past.  Just think of any of the recipes you and I might have that have that call for a 7, even 8 ounce can of tuna – now we’ll have to double the 4.

It’s like this with a lot of grocery items. Remember when a pound can of coffee weighed 16 ounces? The same size can now holds 11.5 ounces.  They say (you know who ‘they’ are) it makes the same amount of coffee. Oh, really?  And now a half gallon of ice cream weighs 1.5 quarts (unless you get Trader Joe’s Vanilla – which, as my unsolicited testimonial, is absolutely creamy delicious – and that is the whole half gallon.) And a lot of ice cream these days – usually the crazy mixed variety – is called frozen dessert, not ice cream, but that’s food for another rant.

So, on to my perennial question: why not just leave the same amount – tuna, coffee, crackers, ricotta, ice cream, whatever – and raise the price to cover the costs. Gasp! Raise the price? That’s not good for business.

We know, for example, that meat prices have risen, but a pound of ground round is a pound of ground round: the scales usually don’t lie. A dozen eggs are still a dozen. It appears that they can’t mess much with items that aren’t in packages: fresh meat, eggs, vegetables, fruit and flowers. so the prices have to go up. But we are lulled into thinking that many grocery shelf item prices have stayed the same because they can get away with the fine print on a box or can – or cheese package: Kraft Cracker Barrel was originally 10 ounces – now its 8. We just reach out and grab the familiar item from its usual place on the shelf.

And, just as an aside, think of the resource savings if the tuna or coffee or crackers came in a smaller package.  Ah well, c’est la vie these days.
Here's the ad from Harris Teeter:
Solid Light Tuna - No Drain
Chicken of the Sea
Solid Light Tuna - No Drain         
4.00 oz
($1.50 VIC Card Members)
Sale price valid through Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Reg. $1.99
$0.50 oz

1 comment:

  1. Same with ice cream. Remember when a carton was a half gallon? Trader Joe's is the only place I've seen that still has 1/2 gallon cartons of ice cream. The 1/2 gallon cartons seem so heavy after buying the smaller cartons at Harris Teeter for so long.