Size matters

Jan. 12, 2009

When I shop at my local Jewel food store, I am usually irritated that I cannot find small sizes of my favorite packaged foods. Sure small may cost more per package, but I am fussy about freshness and variety. After you open that gigantic box of cereal, crackers or spice jar, the food begins to lose flavor, and I get tired of eating the same cereal every day. Variety packs are an option, but they tend to include children’s favorites only.

When I shop at my local Jewel food store, I am usually irritated that I cannot find small sizes of my favorite packaged foods. Sure small may cost more per package, but I am fussy about freshness and variety. After you open that gigantic box of cereal, crackers or spice jar, the food begins to lose flavor, and I get tired of eating the same cereal every day. Variety packs are an option, but they tend to include children’s favorites only.

As an aging baby boomer, I am not trying to feed a large family, and although part of the largest cohort of consumers, apparently I am in the minority on package size. In today's struggling economy, more than half (58 percent) of U.S. consumers are "very concerned" about rising food prices, reports Gourmet Retailer. In order to manage their food budgets, nearly half (47 percent) of consumers surveyed by Nielsen said they prefer large, economy sizes with lower price points per serving from CPG manufacturers. In contrast, only 17 percent prefer CPG manufacturers introduce new, smaller pack sizes at lower prices; 9 percent suggest CPG manufacturers downsize or modestly reduce the packaging size of products, keeping the price of the product the same. Other options include raising the prices of existing items proportionally (8 percent); offer fewer sales (8 percent); offer the same number of sales, but at less of a savings (7 percent); and produce slightly lower quality products, but keep the price the same (4 percent).

I’m willing to pay more for smaller sizes, but size is a challenge for food companies. Greenies want less packaging waste, mom wants lower prices, and everyone wants more product for their hard-earned cash.

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