Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I was not surprised when I read that Technomic Inc. reported their findings of a new survey that indicated consumers are wary of higher food prices and smaller portions. Specifically, 50 percent noticed smaller supermarket portions. Consequently, I decided to draft my own shrinkage list.

Read On:
I will begin with items I bought recently at the supermarket:

• Milano cookies from Pepperidge Farm on sale for $2.49. No wonder, there were only two sleeves instead of the normal three.
• A can of coffee to pair with the cookies. Opened it to find out it was only three quarters- full.
• Loaves of bread.
• The size of English muffins.
• Salad bags.
• Soap bars.

All others:

• The length of a college school year.
• Vacation time.
• Travel agents.
• The size of airplane seats.
• Smart Cars.
• Gasoline station attendants (the only place I have encountered them this past year were NJ and Oregon).
• Independents – book stores, restaurants, pharmacies, shoe repair stores, etc.
• Daily newspapers.
• Paper towels in restrooms.
• Christmas cards.
• Birthday cards.
• Civility.

Do you have any shrinkage items you would like to add to the above list?


  1. That's what I'm talkin' about, Jimmy! Brilliant post today. Short & sweet, hooked to foodservice, with an easily identifiable theme. It was like a mini Seinfeld episode...

    Unfortunately, the only thing not shrinking are our collective asses as we spend too much time on sedentary activities like blog postings...

  2. Thomas stole my comment. Especialy Seinfeld a classic.

  3. Jimmy,

    Agree but wonder if this isn't part of a broader pendulum swing.

    Remember when Coke was available only in 8 oz glass bottles. Then Pepsi differentiated themselves by offering 12 oz, then others followed with 20 ozs. When is the last time you saw a true cup of coffee?

    Or when McDonald's tried to "supersize" your meal. And, have you tried to buy a quart of milk to day? Quarts don't seem to exist.

    Historically, the American public feels that "bigger is better" and as a result has moved to larger sizes and portions. Any "shrinkage" from these larger sizes will be noticed, and when the seller tries to sell it for the same price, will result in customer revolt.

    When (if) the economy picks up, look for vendors to both decrease the prices and to increase the the pendulum swings back again.


  4. I appreciate everyones comment. Gretchen - tootsie rolls is classic. I have to add one after eating out tonight. Wine by the glass. Man the pours are getting small.

  5. Hi Jimmy,

    I think the product shrinkage is relative to the type of product. For example, a lot of cereals are now in smaller boxes and yet at the same time, beverage makers like Coke and Pepsi seem to be moving toward larger size offerings. Of course, given the concerns over depleting fresh water sources, that might change soon.

    I think Robert might be right that we could see a slight shift in the pendulum for some items. However, I think given escalating gas prices, shortages in food production outputs, it's unlikely that we're going to see a drop in food prices anytime soon.

  6. It is all about making margins. That is why we supersized in the first place. That is why we downsize in other areas. I too agree we are not going to see a decline in prices in the near future when it comes to food. The real travesty is we have an abundance and have the money to pay for it, where globally there are too many Food Deserts: