Thursday, May 12, 2011

Inflation diet: same price, less product

BOSTON (MarketWatch) — Economists are worried not only about inflation, but also deflation, and now it appears U.S. consumers need to worry too. The problem is that the new look is a few ounces smaller than the old packaging. Or there has been some other creative way to have shoppers pay the same money as always without recognizing that they are bringing less home. Barring a change in the way packaging is regulated, consumers need to change habits — or at least be more attentive — in order to make their dollars go farther and minimize the effects of this cost-inflation/product-deflation cycle. Retail prices in the two stores are roughly the same, but we were buying less. For instance, a “half-gallon” container of orange juice from Tropicana is actually 59 ounces; a roll of toilet paper is shorter, the “new-look” salad dressing is four ounces smaller, and so on. Mind you, the manufacturers aren’t discussing the pricing/packaging change.


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