SHRINKING PRODUCTS

Reporter: Helen Wellings

Raising the price of grocery and takeaway foods is bound to lose customers. The solution is called downsizing. Supermarkets and manufacturers subtly decrease the size of the contents, but keep the price the same.Every year the list keeps growing, the products keep shrinking ... biscuits, coffee, Twisties, chocolates, pizzas, beer, detergents, ice-creams, teabags, toilet paper, baby foods, lollies, even a dozen eggs have become 10.

Kate Snow's been price-watching yoghurt and say "For Yoplait 6 packs it was $4.50 for a 200g 6-pack, then the price increased to $5.15 and the product size shrunk to 175g, then the price increased again to $5.95 and then again to $6.17." Said Kate. Cadbury's chocolate block WAS 250gm at $3.62, NOW 200 gram at $4.59, 20% smaller 97 cents more. Also different flavours are a variety of weights, 175, 190, 200, same price as 220 gram ... confusing? Mars bars were 60 gram, now 53gm and 11% smaller. Jarrah Coffee - 3 different flavours look the same size and weight, but they're 3 DIFFERENT weights, same price.

Ross Lucas has watched his favorites - Tim Tams - disappearing."11 biscuits, 9 biscuits 8 biscuits how confusing is that! They all look similar size but when you start to look closely, you got a kilo a kilo, a kilo, 900 gm and 800 gm." Said Ross Activa Yoghurt also looks to be 1 kg, like the popular brands, but the label says otherwise. Smoke and mirrors, that looks kinda similar to that but you are getting 800gm look 800gm 1 kilo, exactly the same price you think you are getting the same, you are losing that 20% faster than that." Said Ross Lucas

Twisties 50 gm bag shrunk to 45gms ... the price the same. Paddle pops 15% skinnier. Baby food was 120gm for 80 cents, now dropped to 110 gm, but the price soared to $1.27, 47 cents more for 10 gms less. Allen's lollies were 200gm, now 190gm, but the price went up. Peter's Light and Creamy Icecream went from 2 litres down to 1.8.

Professor of marketing at the University of Sydney's Business School, Charles Areni says some manufacturers argue they are just trying to help us! "Where you've got a package that has 600g suddenly now going down to 585g or 575g, those are the types of changes that consumers are not going to notice. So fast food companies for example will make a portion size smaller so you get a smaller hamburger, or a smaller pizza, and they'll say well, "our food's unhealthy, so we're only trying to help by coming up with a smaller, healthier portion." Said Charlies. Watch out when a manufacturer changes the packaging - it can be a ruse to hide a decrease in content size. A new environmentally friendly package - may be smaller but you also get less product. The best advice is always look at the unit price and compare the value of different products.

If you've noticed something similar, let us know: tt@7perth.com.au