We are constantly being screwed. No, not by sketchy men. By grocery stores and food companies. I get it. The economy is in the toilet, but that doesn’t mean consumers should get screwed.
Toilet paper sheets are an inch shorter, or worse, thinner. Cereal boxes are getting thinner while remaining the same height and width (giving the illusion of containing the same amount). A candy bars has gotten an ounce and a half lighter yet sports the word “Giant”. Because surely only kids eat candy, and kids are stupid.
Let’s examine how we get so screwed…..
Its common knowledge that Americans are obsessed with potato chips. Here’s a frightening statistic: in 2009 the US spent $2 billion more on chips than the federal government’s entire budget for researching and developing new sources of energy. Which is probably OK, since any new sources of energy would have probably just been spent driving our ourselves back to the store for more chips.
I can safely assume almost everyone reading this has opened a bag of chips and discovered that the bag of salty goodness was just as full of nondelicious nothing as it was with actual chips. And if there’s anything we hate more than paying for water, it’s paying for chipified air.
In the food industry likes to get into the habit of “half-filling” their packages with the actual product. On some random episode of “unwrapped” I saw that chip-makers said they want a cushion of air around their products as protection. Sure, a bag of smushed chips sucks, but a bag full of paid air sucks more.
The Other “Light” Meat
For the sake of this post, lets day you want to shrink your waistline and decide to buy “light” meat. As in, “Light” Farmer John Breakfast Links. Well…even thinner, the companies still think your dumber.
Sure, they’ve cut 25% of the calories out. But look closely. Nope, they just decided that a pound should weigh 12 ounces. Its real hard to justify price points on meat since most of us are used to paying by the pound. Hmmm….makes me wonder if the Deli should take just start bulking up the paper that they wrap the meat in. Because nothing says, “screwed” like paying for paper.
Water Water Everywhere
Let’s say you’re giving up carbs or whatever for lent and you decide to replace them with some produce. For the sake of this post, let’s say you’re running low on cash and opt for canned produce. Maybe you’re stocking up for an apocalypse or Y2K-esque shelter, or maybe you just like hoarding in general — who am I to judge?
You come home only to discover that you only got about 4oz of green beans and a shit ton of green bean flavored water. Now, I’m infamous for actually liking “pickle juice” or “olive juice”, but I draw the line somewhere.
Oh, and same goes for meat, only slightly more disturbing.
Food manufacturers often put a little something else in their canned foods. Sometimes it’s broth/brine and sometimes it’s syrup, but most of the time it’s just plain old water. The tricky part is that when they label the can, they’re only required to include the “net quantity” which is the combined weight of the food and the water.
Most consumers have no idea how much of their food is actually food until they get home. And PS, if your think you’ve outsmarted the manufactures by buying say, “fresh meat” you should also know that lots of meats are “plumped” with salt water to weigh more and appear bigger. Makes that whole “say no to plumping” commercials a little more meaningful.
Ever turn over you peanut butter jar? I know, probably not. Its not like the nutrition label is there or some prize.
This sneaky little dome was put there for one reason: to mess you and make you think there is more peanut butter in that jar. But manufacturers are keeping the prices the same, and sometimes even raising them. Sigh….
It doesnt stop at peanut butter. Remember the now discontinued “Boca Vegan Chili”? It was delicious but not cheap. And at the bottom of that microwavable bowl was…..a giant dome! No wonder it was so skimpy on calories (the whole thing was 150 calories)!
Wow, I’ve rambled enough….So how have you been screwed? What can we do? Boycott? Pitchforks?