Sunday, May 31, 2009

11.5 Fluid Oz

Anyone who knows me will tell you that food is very important to me that that grocery shopping is something I love to do. They will also tell you that I can get the you know what out of a buffalo nickel...

I went to the liquor store yesterday to pick up a 12 pack of my favorite beer. Warsteiner is a wonderful brew and is Germany's sole contribution to my everyday diet. As I stood in front of the beer cooler I noticed something odd about the 12 pack. As I read the words "Twelve 11.5 fluid oz bottles" I could feel my blood pressure increase. Everyone knows that the standard bottle or can of beer or soda is 12 fluid oz....right? I checked the other beer brands, Miller, Budweiser (why anyone would drink that is beyond me), however many imports now come in the 11.5 oz bottles.

The reduction of my favorite bottle of beer by half of a fluid oz is, it would seem, a minor irritation and one not worth writing about. However, this is one more example of a growing trend in our economy where we are offered less for the same price. For an example, ice cream used to come in half gallon containers. Then a few years ago, the size of the container shrunk to 1.75 quarts. And now...the so-called "half gallon" of ice cream has shrunk to 1.5 quarts with no corresponding reduction in price.

That this trend has struck two of my favorite things, ice cream and beer, irritates me to no end. The irritation is not just because we are paying the same (or more) for less. I understand that food producers have their costs and that these costs are inevitably passed on to the consumer. The irritation, no...make that that the worldwide increase in the cost of food...and here we are not just talking about beer and ice cream but flour, rice, cooking oil, meat, is in part, due to a shift in our agriculture away from food production and towards fuel production. Ethanol refineries are popping up across the American Midwest and farmers are reacting accordingly. A telling statistic is that the amount of corn it takes to produce to fill a 25 gallon fuel tank could feed someone for a year.

The law of supply and demand tells us that with an increasing amount of our agricultural output shifting toward fuel production will mean an inevitable increase in the cost of food. This appears too high a price to pay to keep our SUVs on the road.

And I miss that half a fluid ounce of Warsteiner.


  1. Yep and my grocery bill has gone from $150 to $250 a week.... ughhh

  2. If you think about it, eating healthier is getting cheaper. You know that can of Red Bull? That's the exact size of a can of Coke in Europe! Our standard Coke cans are huge compared to those in Europe. We Americans don't know how to follow the serving size and self-regulate, so the government and companies feel they have to do the decision-making for us. If we take our food consumption and preparation seriously and with responsibility, then reduction of products or the rising prices to make the products would not be the issue at all! Even the government nor the companies would have any control over us as well.