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As food prices rise packages get smaller

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It's not just your wallet getting lighter at the grocery store, your food is getting smaller, too.

St. Norbert College professor Kevin Quinn says food companies apparently think they'll get less heat reducing their packages than raising prices.

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In case you haven't noticed, premium ice cream has shrunk twice in the last couple years. It's down to 1.5 quarts instead of two.

Soap is smaller, too, and the consumer Web site Mouseprint.org shows how lots of groceries have shrunk.

It's also getting harder to compare prices.

Judy Knudsen of the Brown County Extension Office says cereal is really hard because each product has a different size, ranging from 11 ounces to 24.

Quinn says it all reminds him of the 1970s, when inflation was 20 percent a year and unemployment was high.

Shoppers got smarter then, and Quinn says they probably will again.

Knudsen says most consumers understand why food prices are higher due mostly to higher energy costs of making and shipping the products.

Still, Knudsen says there are ways to save - like throwing away less food, buying fewer single-serving bags, and making your own portions from larger bags and drinking tap water instead of bottled.

Quinn says grocery prices won't go down anytime soon, but those who clip coupons and do their homework can still save money.

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