Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Amazing Shrinking Twinkie

There is sometimes little difference between the perception and the reality. It is my perception that many of the products I used to buy in a certain size or quantity are shrinking precipitously. Take for example ice cream. It is very disturbing to me that a half gallon (64 oz) ice cream container is now only 1.75 quarts. Not only is the price going up, the size is going down. Candy bars and other items have begun their collapse into singularity.

Now, what does this have to do with survival in the modern age? It really does have a lot to do with survival. If you are one of those people that buy things based on price, you may forget that the ice cream you bought last week was so much a half gallon and the apparent good price of the new container is based on the fact that it is 25% smaller.

I don't think that Twinkies have actually shrunk, but they do seem a lot smaller than they used to be when I was young. There doesn't seem to be a lot written about the historic size of Twinkies but I don't remember them being quite so dinky.

The moral of this story is to watch carefully the cost/weight or quantity rather than the total price. The differences in price may actually reflect size differences. Also, larger isn't always cheaper. I am always looking at some huge container at Costco and saying maybe we should buy that, when the comment from my wife is always that the price is cheaper at some other store, even though the package is smaller. This knowledge ends up with us having a variety of container sizes. This week milk is cheaper in quarts and next in gallons etc. Look to the real cost, not the package cost.

1 comment:

Cactus Gal said...

I recently bought some Skippy peanut butter, something I do fairly frequently. I have a cookie recipe that uses an 18 oz jar of peanut butter, the standard size for jars of peanut butter for years. Guess what? My recipe did not work because the normal 18 oz size jar now has a big dome on the bottom that makes the container hold 16.3 ounces of peanut butter instead of 18!

I checked my pantry to see if I was just remembering wrong, but I had a couple older jars of Skippy peanut butter that were flat on the bottom and held 18 ounces. Other than that, the jars were identical. I thought I was buying an 18 oz jar of peanut butter, but only got 16.3 ounces. That is 1/4 cup less peanut butter… almost 10 percent less in the jar.

If peanut butter costs more to make, then the companies should just charge more. But instead they make smaller jars which look EXACTLY the same as the 18 oz size. That is just plain deceptive. Of course the Skippy Peanut butter is cheaper... there is less in the jar.