Even if it is just a few cents, when that is multiplied by thousands of customers, the money adds up to a significant amount. How are companies getting away with it? They use the ruse of “it’s better for the environment,” or “less is more.” Consumers are falling for these fallacies, which in turn are draining their bank accounts, little by little.
Have you taken a close look at cereal boxes lately? From a distance, cereals from the same brand all look the same, including their size. When you take a closer look; however, you will notice that the size of the box is the same, but the amount of cereal inside varies quite a bit, with some ranging between 13 and 17 ounces. The prices for each box are identical, but for the consumers that are not paying attention, they are paying much more money for a lot less cereal.
Many companies are offering smaller packages of crackers for the same price as their larger predecessor. How are they getting away with it? They claim that the “new and improved” packaging keeps the crackers fresher longer or that they are more convenient to take with you, which is giving you a better return on your investment.
Some companies are getting away with using fewer calories as their marketing technique. Most consumers get excited when they see that a product now contains 15 percent fewer calories. They don’t realize that this is due to the package size becoming 15 percent smaller. The size of the package is not always readily visible to the consumer; companies have tricks that they use to make the package appear the same size, just with a little tweak in it, such a dimple in a bottle or a box with less depth.
One of the first food products to make the bold change of decreasing the package size is ice cream. The traditional half-gallon ice cream container swiftly became between 1.5 and 1.75 quarts. Consumers were quick to notice, but not quick to stop purchasing ice cream. The spokespeople for the various ice cream brands claim this downsize was due to the increase in the price of the ingredients they need to use to make their quality ice cream.
Miniature Sized Meals
Many restaurant chains are also jumping on the bandwagon of pulling tricks on consumers. The latest offering is various “mini treats.” They claim that these items are new, when in fact; they are simply downsized items that already existed on the menu. They decreased the size by a few ounces yet barely decrease the price. The restaurant chains are preying on the fact that consumers want products with fewer calories so much that they will not pay attention to the very small price difference between the mini treat and the regular size.
Not all companies are pulling these kinds of tricks, but they are happening all over. There are companies that are advertising prices that do not have all of the extra fees added in, so their prices look lower than their competitors, but the consumers are still getting the same product or service at the same price in the long run. Consumers need to be aware of what they are paying for and the benefits that come from each of these purchases. As long as you are a proactive consumer, you can end up getting the items you need for a discounted price, without losing anything in the mean time.
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