The incredible shrinking everything

If you have any vintage cookbooks in your library, and by vintage I mean maybe 20 years old, you may find recipes that include such items as:

  1. 7-ounce can of tuna
  2. 16-ounce can of salmon
  3. Quart jar of marinara sauce
  4. 19-ounce can cannelini beans
  5. Half gallon of ice cream
  6. 8-ounce container of yogurt

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Good luck finding any of those relics, since the incredible shrinking of everything has rendered them obsolete.  You could once upon a time get two decent sandwiches out of a can of tuna.  Try doing that with the new standard 5-ounce cans, which have gradually shrunk over my cooking life from 7 to 6-1/2, to 6, and now 5.  Occasionally I see a 6-ounce can of Roland tuna at the Asian market, which has been largely untouched by inflation of prices and deflation of sizes.  (More about that in another post).  But speaking of tuna – nothing but Italian tonno in olive oil will do for me.  Everything else is sawdust floating in water.  White albacore?  Dry and tasteless without a heap of mayonnaise (which now comes in 30-ounce jars instead of quarts).

The cans of salmon are now 14 ounces, the quarts of sauce are 24-26, cans of beans 15.5, and ice cream in 1.5 quart containers.  The standard for yogurt cups went rapidly from 8 to 6 ounces years ago, and is now downsized to 5.3.  Not feeling as satisfied as you used to? That’s why.

The items still available in our accustomed sizes are quarts, half gallons and gallons of milk, pounds of butter, containers of cottage cheese, and those ubiquitous liters and 2-liter bottles of soda which never find their way into my shopping cart.

If you think you’re running out of staples faster than you used to, this is why.  They don’t want to raise the price so they lower the quantity, as if we wouldn’t notice.  Shame on them…the Industrial Food Complex.


3 thoughts on “The incredible shrinking everything

  1. Yep R., this is a pain. Noticed just recently what used to be a full one pound- then 14 oz… is now a miserly 12 oz. pkg. of Hillshire Farms smoked sausage. I was so miffed I emailed the company. Told then I was switching brands as all my recipes- from gumbo to smoked sausage strata called for a full pound and their pkging. now made their product obsolete to my kitchen. My young nephew likes it when uncle allows him to splurge at a fast food drive-thru on occasion. Was noticing the other day his chicken nuggets are easily 1/2 degree of plump thickness they used to be. While some might applaud fast food joints reducing portion size- I look at it from a cost perspective- and diminished value. Nephew now needs to order double… or a small cheeseburger or fish sammi added to that meal to fill up. Def a growing trend.


  2. Yes, a 5 lb bag of sugar is now 4lbs, who do think they are kidding, did they think we would not notice? I feel sorry for people who have not noticed and whose recipes are based on previous sizes.

    Liked by 1 person

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