07 August 2012

Domino sugar package gets smaller, price stays the same

When manufacturers reduce the volume or weight of their product but keep the price the same, often disguising the reduction by keeping the package the same size, the Consumerist blog calls it the "grocery shrink ray." I found a disappointing example at the supermarket the other day.

My local non-premium supermarket carries Domino cane sugar in 5- and 10-lb. sacks and 1-lb. boxes. But those 5-lb. sacks are being restocked with 4-lb. sacks (a size I don't think I've ever seen before), and the price isn't changing. The packages are almost identical, and I almost picked the smaller size. Grr!

Note: I'm not a brand purist for sugar. The reason I get Domino isn't that I'm a loyal longtime customer for abstract reasons, or because of the sign in Baltimore, or because I like that package design. It's because Domino offers 100% cane sugar. A package of sugar that doesn't specify its composition could be cane sugar or beet sugar or a blend of both, depending on whatever was cheapest for the manufacturer. I think I can tell the difference between cane and beet sugar, and I think I prefer cane sugar, particularly in baking and canning. There's a little caramel je ne sais quoi in there that you don't get from beet sugar. And the lion's share of the sugar I use goes into home canning recipes. So I spend a little more to get Domino, and try to save the difference by getting larger packages.

Now that the 5-lb. sack is gone, I think I'll be switching to the 10-lb. sack. I preferred the smaller one, because finding room in my pantry for the larger size is tricky, though a better economic choice (it's cheaper per ounce than the smaller size). Too bad for Domino. I wouldn't have switched for my benefit if they'd left the 5-lb. sacks alone.

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