I Want Some Downsizing

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I Want Some Downsizing

Over the years many brands have downsized their products to keep prices artificially low. That $4 can of coffee that once contained a full pound of coffee now may contain 11 ounces of java instead. The price of that coffee went from 25¢ an ounce to 36¢ an ounce, an increase of 44% yet the package price remained the same. And that pretty much sucks. Consumers pay more, they know they are paying more, and yet companies continue to pull this on consumer goods. What I find most distressing is that most of these changes seem to take place in items that aren’t perishable, or don’t have any benefit to smaller American families.

For instance: I purchase a 1 pound loaf of bread at the store. I am one person (Hubby doesn’t eat bread). Even eating two slices of bread each day I can’t consume a 1 pound loaf of bread in a week. The bread either molds and I toss it, or it makes it to the freezer – where it eventually gets freezer burned, and then I toss it. I don’t like frozen bread.

Now, if someone made a half pound loaf of bread…. wellllllllll that I’d be willing to pay a bit more per ounce to buy! Not wasting food is something Hubby really strives for (usually by shoving whatever it is he doesn’t want to eat, but doesn’t want to waste, at me), and I must admit wasting food isn’t something I am fond of doing either as a matter of principle, not to mention it is a waste of money.

Refrigerate-after-opening goods are something else I wouldn’t mind buying smaller sizes of either. Hubby and I made the switch to organic milk long ago. It might be more expensive, but because the “use by” date on organic milk is at least three weeks out, we can use it up completely. As we are only a two person household we couldn’t do this with a regular gallon of milk that comes with a 1 week – 10 day expiration date, but is a lot less expensive per ounce in up front cost. We dumped a lot of regular milk before making the switch to organic milk.

The other day I opened up the jar of Mango Butter I’d had in the fridge for a, ummm, er, well, a while. Ok, I don’t recall when I last used the Mango Butter. Last week? Last month? Possibly last year. And it was moldy. Unless I wanted to eat Mango Butter every day for 2 weeks straight, odds were good that that 10oz, 16 serving jar was going to mold at some point. Now if it had been a 5oz, 8 serving jar, it stood a decent change of getting used up before the white mold descended to have its share of that tasty Mango Butter.

American households are now a lot smaller. We are down over one person per household the last 65 years – from 3.67 people in 1948 to 2.55 people per household in 2002. Much of that is attributed to the growth in 1 person households which now accounts for 27% of all American households. I think companies are missing a real opportunity here. Downsizing rolls of toilet paper is silly. The companies are fooling no one with their higher prices per ounce, and they are only ticking people off when we have to change out the roll every other day. Making smaller containers of perishable goods probably has a decent sized market – both from a waste and a smaller up front cost perspective. As a representative of smaller, and aging, American households, I for one would welcome smaller sizes in perishable goods, even if I paid a few more cents per ounce for the privilege.

So, how about it? Am I barking up the wrong tree here? Should all products remain the same size they currently are, especially if it keeps the prices down? Or is there a market for smaller perishable goods, even if it means paying a bit more per ounce to do so?

Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life


  1. Stephanie K. says

    I think you are brilliant! I never thought of package sizes like this. My grandma won’t buy certain things because, like you said, she would have to eat it everyday to not waste it. But the “shrink ray” seems to strike randomly (when did Hellman’s mayonnaise go from 32 to 30oz.?!?) and it’s so annoying!

  2. Great minds think alike Ann! I have been thinking this exact thing lately. We are a two person household and nothing I hate more than throwing out food. Recently I did start buying Grands in 5 pc roll rather than 8. They don’t seem to be as good of value though. I noticed the small size of canned foods is very high too. It costs slightly more than a full size can. That seems to encourage throwing food out to me! If they would make smaller sizes, they have to not cost nearly as much or I will just keep trying to figure out how to use the stuff.
    For bread I got some plastic bags from the dollar store that are made to keep bread fresher. I put the bread in the bag and then in a lock and lock container. It is very surprising how long the bread stays fresh like that. With things like a box of hamburger helper I now just use 1/2 lb of hamburger and we eat most of like that. My sister said to divide the box into two mixes, but I find the 1/2lb burger is easier and works pretty well. I did switch to organic milk like you but lately even that has been getting thrown out because hubby hasn’t been eating cereal due to a tooth issue. So now I am wishing organic milk came in pints and quarts, not just half gallons. I live in a very rural area so maybe you can get milk like that other places but I can’t find it.

    • We do use the bread bags, Shell. And I look for the smallest package of bread on the market. Usually I end up with Monk’s, and then make sure I eat a sandwich or toast every day that week. I does get tiresome though.

      Great idea on the Hamburger Helper!

      Thinking about it, I think the Organic Milk only comes in half gallons here too. We do manage to use it in the 3 weeks until it expires, but I can see where a quart size would definitely have a market.


      • I have done Hamburger Helper that way in the past, but we love meat. As for bread, other than white bread, what isn’t in the freezer is in the fridge. 5-7 seconds in the microwave (depending on how thick, say hamburger buns) takes the chill off. This perfect since I am the only one who eats rye bread and the day old Italian and French bread on clearance molds in a couple days. I think smaller sizes are great yet we all know they’ll stick it to us in the end so they can make more profit. I would love to see Almond milk in a smaller size too.

      • The bags help (I think) but it is the sealed plastic container that really does it. Try putting it in a lock and lock or a Tupperware or whatever you have. Also if possible, keep the bread in the dark. I don’t like frozen bread either and bread kept in the fridge actually goes bad faster.

        • Really? I did not know that, but on the other hand I have never kept bread in the fridge. Thanks Shell.


          • Maybe my success with bread in the fridge vs. the counter is because I’m further south with higher humidity. I buy from the bakery outlet store or the day old stuff on sale at Kroger and Walmart. We eat a lot of bread here.

  3. All I can say is Im glad there are lots of things that last a long time in the frig.. M’honey thinks hes a baby cow so going thru milk has never been a problem here.. As long as hes in my life, I dont have to worry about needing smaller pkgs of anything.

  4. I live by myself and have stopped buying a lot of products I love because I throw them away. When I want bread I throw over a half loaf out. Mrs. Baird’s has a small loaf but charges $2.49 for it in Texas. I can get a big name brand loaf for less, which is what I usually do. I end up throwing eggs out because I can never seem to go through a dozen. Vegetables in the small cans are outrageously priced so I won’t buy them. I did find Hamburger Helper in small two serving size at the Dollar Tree and you can use your coupon with them. I just really don’t like Hamburger Helper. If I make spaghetti with meat sauce I will freeze two portions and eat one. I have tried frozen meals but am not a fan of them either, no taste or funny taste.

    • Candie, here’s a trick I have been known to do. Make meatloaf. Save a slice or 2 for a meatloaf sandwich which is nothing more than a spiced up hamburger. The rest of the meatloaf is perfect for spaghetti and it’s already got all the goodies in it so you can use tomato sauce instead of the more expensive pasta/spaghetti sauce.

      • Nice, Marie! We never have to worry about a meatloaf being too big here… Mr Max would eat it three meals a day!


        • Candy Winton says

          Hello everyone,
          I have a neighbor who lives by herself who makes a meatloaf mix, then divides the loaf up in a muffin tin. The portion size is just right, and she just pops them out of the freezer when she wants one. Sounds like a real time saver to me.

    • Eggs can be frozen as well. Just beat two or three together and put them in a ziploc bag and freeze them. They are fine for scrambled eggs and baking.

  5. Bigger is always better ~ right? We have McMansions, Monster trucks & warehouse stores where you buy either food in giant sized packaging or in large, bulky cases. Imo, most of this stuff just takes up valuable space, resources & time.

    I wonder if as the baby boomers keep getting up there in age if we won’t see smaller, more convenient stores, along with more sensible packaging? One can only hope.

    • And oversized easy chairs. Being 5 foot tall, there is no way I could easily reach both armrests at the same time. To get confortable, I imagine I would have to curl up in it like a cat to take a nap!

      • LOL Marie!! At a foot taller than you are, I do not have that problem! I do however have a heck of a time getting into & out of my future son-in-laws huge truck. I am thinking if I have a hard time with that, what do shorter people do?? There must be a way.

        • Rope ladder? Winch?

        • They install step bars. Right now Hubby’s truck doesn’t have them on (he needs them installed still), and so I have a milk craft in the backseat. I step on that to get in, and he puts it away after I close the door. Since this isn’t fun for him, you’d think he’d have gotten those installed asap, wouldn’t you?


    • Patti I think I read a while back that some store were “right sizing” which meant getting small precisely because the baby boomers don’t want to/cannot walk a giant store any longer.


      • O, I hope so. I do know that there is a move towards more small, community types of neighborhoods within cities. All necessities within walking distance. If you are walking to the store, you can’t pick up much. Too hard to carry. I want a bike with a basket. Yep, that is now on my list.

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