Monday, September 28, 2009

Cutting to prosperity hits the marketplace

If the economy is shrinking, there's no better evidence of it than at the local grocery store.

The bag of Dole cole slaw has been a 16 ouncer just about forever. Now it's weighing in at 14 ounces at, of course, the same retail price.

My apple cherry pecan breakfast muffins will continue to raise their little selves in the oven but I will have to shop for their wrappings almost twice as often. The paper muffin pan liners used to come in a 52-count container. Now the package count is 36, without a concurrent reduction in price.

It's part of a trend I've noticed over the past several years that I have dubbed The New Counting Standard. In other words, 10 donuts is the new dozen. A 14-1/2 ounce can of chicken broth is the new pint. I've read that our food purveyors are loath to reduce the price of an item, but have no problem cutting quantity.

We've had a whole generation of business students tuned to the concept of value-added. It's too bad economic conditions and cost slashing has led us to value-subtracted. I always thought it was easier to climb off a mountain instead of digging yourself out of a hole.

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