When you buy a box of dry soda crackers, what do you expect? Is it that each cracker has stayed fresh and whole, to be enjoyed with a variety of spreads and condiments? No, it's that they give you enough crackers to crumble up for your hungry toddler for the next year. Yet Nabisco, and many other food companies, are starting to charge the same for less food, and changing the packaging around so the customers don't notice. For instance, a box of Premium "Fresh Stacks" saltine crackers now contains 15 percent fewer crackers than Nabisco's original 16 oz. box, but more packaging. Girl Scouts are running the same scam, too.
John T. Gourville, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, told the Times, “Consumers are generally more sensitive to changes in prices than to changes in quantity, and companies try to do it in such a way that you don’t notice, maybe keeping the height and width the same, but changing the depth so the silhouette of the package on the shelf looks the same." But cost-conscious shoppers are starting to notice the changes. One woman said, “The first time I’ve ever seen an 11-ounce can of corn at the store was about three weeks ago, and I was just floored. It’s sneaky, because they figure people won’t know."
This type of change is nothing new, but how can they get away with this in a country growing more concerned with wasteful packaging? Or wait, it's noisy packaging we're concerned about. Never mind, back to giving nature the finger!