Last night when getting groceries I bought Ice Cream on sale. I like Ice Cream. Always have. I don't deny that. It isn't my favorite vice of choice and I don't eat it often, but when the good stuff is on sale, I buy it.
Yesterday, the "good stuff" was on sale for $2.99. That is a very good price. Normally it is $5.99 or $6.99. I bought 2 litres. Or, did I?
Actually, no I didn't. I got 1.66 litres for $2.99. For many years (once we converted to the metric system in Canada) the standard size for a tub of Ice Cream was 2 litres. That changed about 2 or 3 years ago. I noticed right away. The price never went down, just the amount in the container. As well, the container got slightly smaller, but not as small as it could. They left the container just big enough that the difference was not that noticeable to most.
I noticed, most probably didn't.
About a year and a half ago, 1.66 litres became 1.5 litres. That was now a 25% decrease off the standard size, but the price had remained the same. All of a sudden though, it went "on sale" more often. Of course, that was relative to the 25% you were now not getting off the top. Sales must have went down sharply, because they quickly went back to 1.66 litres. That is now the standard size, except for a few mid range producers who have stuck to the 2 litre format. I try to buy the 2 litre size just to reward them for being honest and upfront and not trying to deceive.
Yesterday before we went for groceries my wife also pointed out to me how "all natural" Orange juice is loaded with high fructose corn syrup. They add this at the factory to make it sweeter. Because fructose syrup is considered natural and not an additive like food coloring or chemical preservatives, they can get away with this. Lately, many consumer groups have been calling them out on this, and in some cases they have been sued for misleading and false advertising.
Basically, all this boils down to out and out deception. It has become common place to try to deceive the public to sell more. Of course, this is nothing new. Any of us who have watched Mad Men know this has been going on for as long as their has been any advertising.
"Advertising is based on one thing. Happiness....it's a billboard on the side of the road that screams whatever you are doing, it's okay"
-Don Draper in the above clip
But in this day and age it is just plain very bad business to deceive your consumer. In the long run, deceiving those who want to eat healthy by telling them your product is all natural, or fat free, or no sugar added or whatever claim you make that is at best a half truth. Consumers are very savvy today. Once you lose their trust, they won't come back, even if you start to become on the level at some point.
The same goes with the size of ice cream, or any other food product. You might make more profit now, but you will lose customers long term. That is not good business. Not in my mind anyway.