Do you believe in magic? Like I believe in magic?
Sometimes, we the consumer are like an audience at a magician’s show seeing things disappear into thin air before our very eyes. Except it’s not fun or exciting in the least.
There are endless products that have shrunk dramatically, not even over many years, but sometimes just over a few months.
Not long ago – e.g. a year or so ago, you could get a big box of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran of 1.45 kg for varying prices (e.g. $8). At one store you could even get that big box for not much more than a box of the same cereal half its size at a different store. But then the shrinking to 1.24 kg happened. That didn’t even last long before it recently went down to 1.15 kg.
Of course as the boxes or the product inside shrinks, you aren’t paying less. You are simply getting less. Not very magical if you ask me.
The no name brands are usually not far behind, as in, once the back log of boxes at the original size dwindle, the boxes with less happily join in with the name brands and their boxes of less.
Many regular (not king sized) boxes of cereal used to have about 800 g and then worked down through the 700’s, the 600’s, the 500’s and now you are lucky to get 425 g of cereal. They call 700 g “Family Sized”. If you have two teenage boys, that box may last you three days, if you’re lucky.
Don’t get me started on what’s designated to be a “serving”- those amounts are far too tiny to satisfy even the most delicate eater.
So what can we the consumer do?
We can obviously look for the best prices and the sale prices to help diminish the pain of the product diminishing. We can compare product to product within one store or between stores. We can check out no names which also shrink but at least usually cost less for the same amount. We can try bags of cereals vs. boxes where you can often get 50% more product for the same price (e.g. $6 for 900 g vs. $6 for 600 g). And there are always the bulk bins where you can see what the cost is per 100 g (or kg or pound) to compare with a full box. If it’s $.50 or less per 100 g, that’s a good deal you can eat up.
Let’s not forget about home-made cereal if you ever have the time for that – baked granola can be super simple with oats and a few nuts or raisins and you can make it low fat, low sugar, and much healthier than the processed kinds, or just heat up some oats with milk. If you get oats for $.25 per 100 g and don’t add anything fancy, you can see how much more affordable that could be in comparison with cereals that cost $1 per 100 g.
Over the course of a year, if four family members each eat 50 g of cereal per day adding up to over 70 kg (or 154 pounds), they can spend $10 per 1 kg, costing $700 in a year. Or if options are found to cut that price dramatically, even in half, they can spend $350 instead and save $350. Enough to buy your growing boys some new running shoes.
Unlike the shrinking of the cereal boxes, you can actively help your savings not shrink while still having a full belly with all the raisins, processed fibre, and excess sugar your heart desires. How magically delicious!