What’s Up with the Size of Food?

In a world plagued by ‘super-sized’ versions of everything, why are there some foods that seem to be getting smaller and smaller?  Among the things that seem to be shrinking:

  • Big Macs
  • “Halloween-sized” chocolate bars and bags of chips
  • Loaves of sliced bread (Wasn’t there a time when you could make 6 sandwiches without using the crusty ends?)
  • Ice Cream sandwiches
  • Eggs (I find myself buying “extra large” eggs.  They don’t look “extra large”.  They just look like regular old eggs unless I compare them to the earring-sized offerings in the crates not labelled “extra large”)
  • Pre-packaged cookies (Have you seen a Chip Ahoy lately?  I can put two in my mouth and still sip my tea.  Don’t judge me!)
  • Packages of bacon

The list goes on and on. (Please note that none of these items have gotten cheaper).

On the flip side, the size of produce is growing exponentially.  Strawberries can be eaten bite by bite, like apples.  Blueberries are so large that you can’t put them in muffins because they melt into giant purple puddles that make everything mushy.  A cauliflower now weighs as much as a carton of milk, and I don’t have a grocery bag long enough to properly contain the celery.

What is happening?  Can we blame it on ISIS?  Is this part of a secret terrorist plot to freak out middle-aged women and thereby shake the foundation of western family life?

Is it global warming?  Personally, I like to  blame everything on global warming.  I am currently blaming global warming for my crow’s feet, the clutter in my attic, and the lack of good romantic comedies.

Or is it the government?  Letting big companies fidget about with the food and secretly plotting to suck more taxes out of the common folk.  Bastards!  Let’s launch an inquiry.  I love a good government inquiry.  Keeps the newspaper interesting.

Or is it just me?  Getting old and cranky and set in my ways.  No.  That can’t be it.  Fifty is the new forty, which is the new thirty, so I’m actually at least twenty years younger than my birth certificate says I am. (Please note that my math skills were acquired through the public education system, so there may be a degree of inaccuracy in my calculations).

But I digress… the issue at hand is the size of the food.  Some of my nibblies are shrinking.  And it’s the good ones… the ones I feel a little guilty about eating but eat anyway.  If I’m going to feel guilty, it would be nice if I could simultaneously feel full and satisfied.  Sigh… I guess I could just follow up my inadequately sized burger with a giant strawberry or two, but that just doesn’t feel right…

Author: Kim Scaravelli

Kim Scaravelli is an entrepreneur, marketer, content consultant, and author of “Making Words Work”. The best way to keep in touch is to subscribe to Kim’s popular newsletter. Every second Wednesday, she shares practical writing tips, timely insights, and resources to make your work easier and your content better. To learn more about Kim, visit her website.

16 thoughts

  1. Right you are! Some genius decided that instead of raising prices (and raising the hackles of customers), they would simple reduce the size of the product. Eventually, the loaves of bread will be individual sandwich size. The good news? It won’t ever get stale — no time for that! A container of milk will be enough to enjoy a couple of bite-size (now full-size) cookies. Those marketing people are so terribly clever, don’t you think?


    1. On the plus side… there are no longer cookie crumbs on the sofa because they fit in your mouth in their entirety!


  2. (Unnatural??) Super sized fruit, might be worrisome, but I’ll leave that to another day; bring on the tiny chocolate bars! Love your writing style by the way, very fun!


  3. Trying to give a little comfort. I noticed on my recent trip to the states that Wheat Thins now creates a new variety that is two or thee times larger than the original and every year the cups in fast food joints get bigger. A kid’s Coke is twelve ounces at Burger King. A super small is called “value size” and is 16 oz. Small is 24 oz., Medium 32 oz and Large is actually too big to lift, let alone comprehend. When I think of the original size of Coke bottles, it occurs to me that everybody must be getting thirstier and you can perhaps blame this, too, on global warming! Lately, sizes seem to be arbitrary. Designers mark a size smaller than the actual size of the garment, hoping to woo clients who want to say truthfully that they wear a size ten. All in all, it’s a mixed-up world when it comes to sizing! Judy


  4. I recently heard John Tesh explain how toilet paper works. (Well, we know how it works; he explained why the rolls seem smaller.) If I remember correctly, the paper companies had to make up for lost revenue. (People maybe started using corn cobs again?) They made the sheets just a tad smaller, along with the cardboard thingy in the middle, too.

    My family likes to make end-runs around corporations and their manipulations, so we just use paper towels for EVERYTHING. That’ll show ’em!

    In the 70s I remember buying Tiger’s Milk bars the size of Buicks. Back then, Buicks were the size of Buicks. Now look at them. The Tiger’s Milk bars, that is. They are barely visible. The new Buick is barely visible, too.

    My dog and I sat down recently to discuss the future, and to further circumvent a consumer society that is not on the consumer’s side, she will be going to college soon, and then seeking employment in the career of her choice. http://chezgigi.com/how-to-talk-to-your-dog-about-the-future/

    Come visit- we have fun, and will have more after she starts supporting us in the manner to which we intend to become accustomed.


  5. I WOULD call it: Capitalism At It’s Worst or something like that. When one turns retirement age, they start to examine things like this phenomenon on a regular basis because it is all about stretching that “fixed income.” I do love being an American but, as I have aged, I started to wonder “Why” I love being an American. What I have come to realize over the years is that retail prices are set by the retailers determining just how much the wealthier consumers can afford and that factored into the costs of production and distribution help determine the Retail Price.
    Especially since 2008 and the theft of billions of consumers’ dollars by the manipulators at Wall Street, (and with the complicity of the Federal Government), the practice of downsizing everything from a can (what used to be a pound=16 oz) of coffee or (what used to be a 1/2 gallon) a 1.5 quart of ice cream is about greedy capitalists and how much they can squeeze out of the consumers’ wallets.
    The Main Stream Media is another complicit partner in this distasteful scheme. They’ll portray a disaster in, let’s say, a coffee producing nation or another oil rig fire in the Gulf or whatever the mind can conjure up and use this as an excuse to gouge the consumer some more. It happens, continually, and sporadically and, after the crisis, the media is silent and the consumer is forgetful and the increased price or reduced size stays in place, the producers laughing all of the way to the bank.
    I read that paper products were going to increase in price, Marilyn, months ago. I think it has something to do with America becoming the second-class nation that it truly is. All of the (&^X paper is going to the Far East where they have stopped using banana leaves and all of the money has gone and real wooden furniture is now being sold. We get all of the second class quality products, now. Obama once told the American people that they would have to find a new way of life in this world and I am beginning to understand exactly what he meant even though he didn’t elaborate at the time.


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