Has The Incredible Grocery Shrink Ray Zapped Your Shopping?


As food prices have been rising, I’ve heard a few stories recently about food producers keeping their product prices the same but quietly making their products smaller – which is known in the US as “The Grocery Shrink Ray“. This was recently mentioned by JLP at AllFinancialMatters.com, although in his case it was more to do with European beer bottle sizes finding their way into Texas, rather than the ray.

The Guardian gives a few examples of a real shrink ray attack here in the UK:

Cadbury has admitted to downsizing its Family Share bar from 250g to 230g but keeping the original £1.38 price. Strongbow packs that used to come with 18 cans now come with 15 – but cost the same. There are fewer Birds Eye garden peas to a bag, and economy packs of Pampers Baby Dry nappies are four nappies lighter than they were.

Obvously, it’s not a new phenomenon, companies have been doing this with their products for years, but it seems to be a growing issue.

So far, I’ve only heard anecdotal evidence, and haven’t actually noticed it happening with our own shopping, but that’s probably because I don’t keep a close enough eye on quantities when shopping.

And that’s exactly how the food companies get away with it. After a while, it just becomes the norm to buy packs of 15 beers when it used to be 18.

It reminds me of the age-old question “are Wagon Wheels smaller than they used to be?”. Although they would appear to be, the perceived size difference is apparently down to an adult’s childhood memory of eating a Wagon Wheel held in a much smaller hand. Fascinating.

Anyway, has anyone noticed this going on in their shopping? If so, which products have changed? Let us know in the comments below.

Creative Commons License photo credit: nicubunu

3 thoughts on “Has The Incredible Grocery Shrink Ray Zapped Your Shopping?

  1. To be honest, I’m still unsure about the Wagonwheel thing, I think it could be true though. I wouldn’t be surprised about Heinz removing beans though, it would only take a few calculations from the finance people to say “if we remove 5 beans from each can we can save X amount each year”.

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