Supermarket Savings: Price of a Half Gallon of Ice Cream?

Ice cream
How much does your ice cream really cost?

About 24 months ago, the first manufacturers began to reduce the size of a half gallon of ice cream from its historical 64 oz. package to just 56 oz., without reducing the price, and barely anyone even noticed it! With retail pricing being kept at the same level, it didn’t seem like much of a hardship for anyone to have to pay for less ice cream, and manufacturers saw this opportunity to fight cost overruns and maintain or even increase their profit margin. This minor change in size can actually produce an additional 12.5% profit (and expense for you and your family). The prices of some brands and packages have continued to climb, and many are now selling their “half gallons” as 48 or even 45 oz. packages. Another loss for consumers of 11-14% from even the 56 oz. shrinkage.

To put it simply, major ice cream brands which formerly cost just 6.2 cents per ounce now sells for as much as 13.5 cents per ounce, a whopping increase of 119%! And that’s not even for the “gourmet” brands.

When you stop to look at branded ice cream, make sure you compare it to the store’s own brand (also known as private label). They still may have shrunken package sizes or even increased the retail prices, but they still represent a much better value than national brands. Most supermarkets now feature premium flavors of ice cream which are on par with any national brand! Please be aware of any dairy products you buy as packaging on many are undergoing similar distressing changes.

Bonus tip: While no one is suggesting ice cream is a health food, most national brands, and even some store brands, of ice cream are now offering healthier choices including low fat (slow churned or frozen yogurt) and no sugar added (usually with artificial sweeteners). As always, check the labels, and decide what type is right for you and your family.

Now tell me, what other “shrinking” products have you noticed at the supermarket?

Image courtesy of Elaine Tan at

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