The Curry Coastal Pilot

One of my favorite pastimes is eating ice cream, but the rising cost of food (and the sneaky practices by ice cream manufacturers) has forced me to boycott such chilly delights.

What really has frosted my cookies is how manufacturers keep raising the price of ice cream and shrinking the package. Global warming? I doubt it.

Remember when buying a half a gallon of ice cream meant you really brought home a half a gallon of ice cream? That size is now extinct (a victim of an ice age?) It was reduced to a 1.75 quart package and most recently to 1.5 quarts, the new standard throughout the ice cream industry.

I understand how the increasing cost of ingredients and packaging may trigger higher prices, but it will be a cold day in hell when I'll spend more for less!

I did some quick online research and found the following explanation by Quentin Frey, president of ice cream company Turkey Hill Dairy.

"Contrary to what some may think, this is not a case of ice cream companies trying to deceive customers or yield huge profits. In the end, we had to do it. In our industry, and in many others, manufacturing costs continue to escalate. The costs of ingredients such as milk, cream, cocoa and sweeteners are also rising. So is the cost of packaging, fuel and labor."

The three options, he said, were to use cheaper, lower quality ingredients, keep the same container size and raise prices, or keep the price the same and reduce the size.

"The overwhelming majority in our focus groups told us that keeping the price the same and decreasing the size of the package was the best answer," Frey said.

His explanation leaves me cold. I have two questions. First, why wasn't I included in the focus group (and did they get lots of free samples)? Second, what happened to keeping the prices the same?

Anybody who has cruised the ice cream aisle lately knows that, with most brands, the ice cream containers have shrunk and the prices have increased, not stayed the same.

Consumers are not going to be spoon-fed this deception, nor cone-don it, as some companies may think. I, for one, would rather scoop out a little more money for the same amount of ice cream than settle for lower quality ingredients and smaller packages.

Are ice cream companies going to keep decreasing the size until we're buying .5 quart containers for $5? At some point the container reduction will have to stop and prices will have to rise.

We still buy gas by the gallon. The prices fluctuate, we complain when it goes up, but a gallon is still a gallon.

And candy bars! Ninety-five cents?! You've got to be kidding me.

I used to think that candy bars seemed smaller now because I'm an adult and my hands are bigger. I was even thinking of building a time machine and heading back to when I was 10 years old to see the size of candy bars then. However, I can skip doing that because I've found sufficient evidence online that candy bars have indeed been shrinking. A 5-ounce Hershey bar recently shrank to 4.35 ounces!

There's an old saying: "Good things come in small packages." Yes, they do, but does it have to cost so much?

Oh, wait. I just checked the weather report for Hell. Looks like its getting awfully cold down there.

"Honey? Have you seen the ice cream scooper?"