Stealth Food Inflation Hits Home

I went to the grocery store this morning to pick up a few items. One of the things I grabbed was a 16 oz. tub of Old Home plain yogurt. I use this for soaking oatmeal per the instructions in Nourishing Traditions.

I opened the tub this evening while preparing tomorrow’s breakfast and noticed the tub wasn’t filled up all the way. There was about an inch of headspace from the looks of it. I suspected something was up and grabbed the food scale. Sure enough, my 16 ounce tub of yogurt weighed 13.15 ounces, including the tub. So, I got 82 % of the product I paid for. Welcome to stealth inflation, folks.

I’ve noticed more and more weird sizes at the grocery store lately… I got a 29 oz. can of tomatoes that probably used to be 32 oz. sometime in the near past. Food producers are getting squeezed by rising costs, so instead of raising prices and causing a general outcry, more and more of them are quietly cutting the amount of product being sold and leaving the price the same. The idea must be that most people won’t notice, and that’s probably true.

The next time you had out to purchase groceries, make a quick note of the sizes of the cans, jugs or tubs of food you’re buying. You might find some interesting discrepancies or oddities like I did today.

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5 Responses to Stealth Food Inflation Hits Home

  1. phaedrus says:

    This is only marginally related but I think it might appeal to your “grow your own” interests – making your own yogurt.

    I don’t have a ton of money but I try and eat as well as I can – making the yogurt myself doesn’t save a ton of money but it saves a bit and has let me tune my yogurt making to make yogurt I like better than most other brands.

    I use a EuroCuisine yogurt maker which does 7 roughly seven six ounce jars. My theory was that this would allow me to make flavoured and regular yogurt in the same batches. They also make yogurt makers which allow you to make large batches at once.

    Given that a yogurt maker basically just keeps a clean jar at a warm temperature, one could probably make their own fairly easy – I’d bet there are instructions on the net for the truly motivated.

    Anyway, it should avoid stealth inflation – at least until they start selling milk in metric volumes so they can more easily reduce the quantities.

  2. Bart says:

    I’ve actually got a ‘Yogotherm’ yogurt maker that I picked up on impulse a year or so ago when ordering some cheesemaking stuff. It seems like I’ve either been busy around the house or just plain lazy and haven’t gotten around to using it yet. (My wife would probably vouch for option #2).

    I pick up the plain yogurt because it’s easy and it’s got a pretty decent shelf life, but I’d like to get more control over things like you’re talking about. I’ll have to get cracking on that…

  3. Beo says:

    Maybe this is just the answer to the whole obesity problem that we have been looking for. Since Americans won’t eat veggies without deep frying them first, maybe we can just make the Twinkies 18% smaller…
    Americans get smaller and the corporations get richer: Brilliant I tell you!

  4. chile says:

    I’ve noticed size creep in the past couple of years, and in more items than just food. I was looking at TP the other day and noticed that for the second time in the past several years, the total number of square feet per roll has decreased. The price has remained the same (after a pretty sizeable jump several years ago).

  5. […] Pay More, Get Less I wrote about this a year ago, but the local fishwrap factory has a story today discussing the sneaky ways food companies are […]

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