Food Companies Duping Consumers

Grocery bills have gotten a lot bigger, but have you noticed that the size of many products has gotten smaller? It's called downsizing. Experts say in this tough economy, more and more companies are going to start shrinking their products.
What does this mean for consumers?
You're paying more and getting less.

It's happening to all kinds of products-- including ice cream!

Yalanda Medina, a consumer, said "It makes me feel like I have been duped. It makes me feel as if they don't think we are smart enough to notice that we are getting less and less for our money."

From ice cream, to mayonaise, to peanut butter, some of our favorite products are getting smaller, while their prices stay the same.

Consumer advocate Ed Dworsky said " it's a sneaky way to pass on a price increase."

Dworsky has been tracking downsizing for yeras. He said, " Most people can't see the difference between the old and the new except when they're side by side and even sometimes when they are side by side you can't tell the difference."

The average consumer may not have noticed the slight change to Apple Jacks; it went from 17 ounces to 15 ounces.

Same with Fruit Loops; the cereal was 19.7 ounces, now it's down to 17.

Todd Marks with Consumer Reports says shoppers can expect more products to be downsized as the cost of raw materials increase and as our economy continues to go south.

Marks said " I go to the supermarket all the time paying attention to these things and there is virtually no product that is off limits to downsizing."

Some tips to keep from being duped? Marks says "When they decide to shrink it they put the word giant on the package to make you think the giant is really giant, but it's smaller than the giant that used to exist."

Marks says consumers rarely notice things like the tapering of ice cream containers, cereal boxes that get thinner or jars that now have concave bottoms.

Marks said, "Another tactic is to make plastic bags thinner. The mills of plastic will be a little bit thinner, so your garbage bag may not be as strong as it used to be. To make the sheets of your roll of paper towels a little bit smaller in dimension or to make them a little thinner in plies."

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