Morning Show Cans Food Companies for 'Shrinking' Products
When Tony the Tiger gets fired, we‚Äôll know biofuel mandates have taken their toll.
Correspondent Susan Koeppen said on ‚ÄúThe Early Show‚ÄĚ Oct. 23 consumers would be ‚Äúpaying more and getting less‚ÄĚ for some food products they buy because companies are downsizing their products.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs called downsizing,‚ÄĚ Koeppen on the CBS broadcast. ‚ÄúMore and more companies are going to start shrinking their products.‚ÄĚ
Ice cream consumer Yalanda Medina said she felt companies didn‚Äôt think she was ‚Äúsmart enough to notice‚ÄĚ she was getting less. In short,
Koeppen went to ‚Äúconsumer advocate‚ÄĚ Edgar Dworsky, who told her that downsizing is ‚Äúa sneaky way to pass on a price increase.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúMost people can‚Äôt see the difference between the old and the new, except when they‚Äôre side by side and even sometimes when they‚Äôre side by side you can‚Äôt tell the difference,‚ÄĚ Dworsky said.
Todd Marks of Consumer Reports told Koeppen that the cost of raw materials has gone up, which is what the companies contacted by CBS News said as well.
‚ÄúWe contacted several of the companies that make the products mentioned in this story: Hershey‚Äôs, Hellman‚Äôs, Breyers and Kellogg‚Äôs, and they all said that the rising cost of commodities has led to a change in the way they make and package some of their products. But they do point out that many of their products have not changed, but tough economic times have led to some changes,‚ÄĚ said Koeppen.
But Koeppen downplayed one of the big reasons why companies are downsizing.
Agricultural economist Stewart Ramsey at Global Insight, Inc., told the Oct. 16 National Journal that food prices have gone through a transition because of the mandates for biofuels. Biofuels are often made by the same commodities used in common foods ‚Äď most notably corn.
‚ÄúIt is interesting when you look at cereal prices, if you were just to net out the change in the grain price you wouldn't come up with that big of a change in the whole box of cereal. But the reality is that the marketing costs, the transportation costs and so many of the other pieces of the puzzle have changed pretty dramatically as well. We do see some pretty good bump-up in the whole spectrum of food prices,‚ÄĚ Ramsey said.
He also mentioned another reason why food prices have been changing.
‚ÄúThe top one is a lot of the growth in income and diets and the demand for food in, particularly, Asia ‚Äď