marketing gimmicks

Is This the End of Jumbo Junk Food?

A thing of the past?

A thing of the past?Photo: Frito-Lay

Even giant food producers like Kraft and Proctor & Gamble aren't immune to rising food prices. But you'd probably have a tough time actually noticing that if you were to scan, say, the food aisles at Target. That's because these nefarious companies aren't raising prices — they're just figuring out ways to hide the fact that they're giving you less food for your money!

Granted, shrinking packages aren't exactly a new phenomenon. (Just ask Barry Bonds!) But according to a story in the New York Times, this latest wave of product downsizing is particularly sneaky: The smaller packages are being touted as being better than the older (larger) packages, with no mention of the teeny-tiny sizes. Take saltines and graham crackers for instance! "Kraft is introducing 'Fresh Stacks' packages for its Nabisco Premium saltines and Honey Maid graham crackers," according to the Times. "Each has about 15 percent fewer crackers than the standard boxes, but the price has not changed." But Kraft is just saying that they're more portable than those unwieldy boxes of yore. (Maybe they're more portable because they're, um, smaller?)

And it's not just crackers! Packages of Reese's Minis are being shrunk. And products like Heinz condiments, Edy's ice cream, Tropicana, Frito-Lay chips, and Chicken of the Sea tuna are all going through similar makeunders.

(Maybe this is why those baby carrots have been making such a big marketing push lately?)

But it's not all bad news out there, junk-food lovers. Burger King announced yesterday that they're just giving away more than 250 million chicken tenders (via mailed coupons) just for the hell of it.

Food Inflation Kept Hidden in Tinier Bags [NYT]

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