The Incredible Shrinking Container

The ice cream industry hasn’t fooled me with the 1.5 quart container, and I hate it.  I think I’m distantly related to Don Quixote on both sides of the family though, so I wrote to the president of the manufacturer responsible for most of the ice cream I consume.  And much to my surprise, he answered me.  At least, his form letter answered me.  Which ice cream company I wrote to doesn’t matter.  The industry as a whole seems to be switching to smaller containers.

I said I understand price increases.  I don’t like them, but I understand them.  I am, after all, old enough that the price of everything is ridiculous and has been for a while.  However, I don’t like the smaller ice cream packages because they are environmentally unfriendly, and make extra work for me.  The containers are still the same diameter, but even though they aren’t as tall, they are still too tall to stack in my freezer, so if I want to keep the same amount of ice cream on hand, I have to buy more containers.  The containers waste resources.  Six quarts of ice cream now take an extra lid and an extra container bottom.  If I don’t have room for more containers, I have to go to the store more often or buy a larger freezer.

My existing freezer is already an Energy Star appliance, so a new and larger one will use more electricity.  Going to the store more often will use more gasoline.  I could walk to the store, but the ice cream would be melted by the time I walked home.  So, putting ice cream in smaller containers does constitute a price increase, and the president of the company acknowledged that.

Frankly the acknowledgement surprised me.  I thought he would say it was some kind of improvement to serve consumers better.  He also said the marketing people know people are reluctant to spend a lot of money for ice cream so they can buy a container (albeit smaller) at the same price.  I’m sad to admit the president of the ice cream manufacturer is probably correct.  This gives me a bad feeling that you probably can now fool all of the people all of the time.

You see, the smaller containers of ice cream contain hidden costs for the consumer, and they increase the carbon footprint of both the maker, and the eater of ice cream.  I do want a lot of ice cream (summer is coming, after all).  I haven’t got room for it, and I won’t buy a bigger freezer.  I haven’t got room for one of those either.  So, the ice cream manufacturer increases its carbon footprint by using more packaging material.   I will drive to the store more often.  Therefore, smaller containers of ice cream cost me, and all other consumers more than they make for the manufacturer.

I believe I already said I hate the 1.5-quart container of ice cream, so that concludes this blog item.

Author: Tom

I know my ABC's, I can write my name and I can count to a hundred.