This Week’s Cartoon: “Incredible Shrinking Groceries”

I noticed while buying orange juice that the Fred Meyer store brand had a big notice on the carton saying “STILL 64 OUNCES!” I was like, Whoa! Are half-gallons of OJ no longer half-gallons? Sure enough, other brands had gone down to 59 oz. Apparently last winter’s freeze damaged Florida orange crops, making juice more expensive. It will be interesting to see if OJ goes back to true half-gallons in the future, if we have a milder winter.

Yet it’s not just juice — I’ve seen all sorts of products shrink slightly over the past few years. This is a separate issue from super-sizing, which tends to occur with cheap, crappy non-food. Seems like a dollar buys you ever more junk food and ever less real nourishment. It’s a market force in the wrong direction, and I don’t see it going the other way anytime soon.


  • Kevin Moore

    This confirms my suspicion that my own bad shopping habits are pretty widespread: I look at price and shape more often that cost-per-unit. Not that I totally ignore CPU, but something like juice or milk I would assume remains constant in size; the price would go up. But retailers know that customers balk at raising the price point, so they fudge the numbers the other way, offer less at the same price. On that note, who says government isn’t run like a business?

  • Jen Sorensen

    I try to check the CPU, but sometimes the units of measurements vary. I probably waste more time doing math at the grocery store than I should.

  • Elmore

    The expanding doughnut hole strategy is already being implemented in some products. A year or so ago a large void appeared in the interior of the bars of soap we’d been buying for years. In the packaging, the bars appeared to be the same size they’d always been.

  • Matt

    In the Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman nivel “Good Omens” the character of famine is a fast food executive who comes up with more and more ingenious ways to produce and market “food” with less and less nutritional value. This book was written over twenty years ago and it appears that not much has changed.

  • Matt

    Oops, it’s a novel not a nivel, or a navel for that matter.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.