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Rising food prices, smaller packages!

Yesterday’s New York Times had a front page article featuring the rising prices of food leading to smaller packages. As Stephanie Clifford and Catherine Rampell write, “chips are disappearing from bags, candy from boxes, and vegetables from cans.”

Here are several examples of shrinking portions:

Whole wheat pasta went from 16 oz to 13.25 oz.

Canned vegetables went from 6 oz to 13 oz.

Canned tuna went from 6 oz to 5 oz.

Orange juice went from a 64 oz to 59 oz carton.

Nabisco’s Fresh Stacks package of saltines, below, contains about 15 percent fewer crackers than the old package.

Clearly, instead of raising prices, manufacturers are shrinking its packages. Of course, hoping consumers won’t notice. Oops. This could be—and often is–considered a sneaky trick. But looking at it another way, perhaps it may lead us to eat less, which would be a good thing. Indeed research shows that we eat more, often lots more, if packages are bigger. So, perhaps there is an upside to rising food prices and we can use these shrinking food packages to our advantage: to help reduce calories and ultimately help in the fight to reduce obesity.  Only time will tell.

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