My wife and I stopped at a local Carvel ice cream shoppe (that is the official spelling) the other night to get some ice cream. We are both trying to be healthyish, so we asked for the smallest size cup they have, which is now called the kid size. After getting our ice cream, we both remarked that the the kid size still seemed like a pretty good amount of ice cream, in fact, it seemed pretty close to what I remembered a small cup seeming like. So I wondered, can I find out what the sizes used to be?
Googling for the information proved difficult, aside from coming across the odd blog post of people wondering the same thing. So I had an idea. I could use the Wayback Machine to browse the Carvel website for older versions of their nutrition facts. I was able to get the nutrition facts for years starting in 2006. This is not that long ago, but it was long enough. The sizes have changed drastically since then.
First, let’s recap what the sizes are now, in ounces.
In 2006, the small sized cup was 4 ounces. The size increased 88%!
Here is a plot of the size in ounces of the small cup from 2006 to now (yes I made this in Python with matplotlib).
This seems like a crazy rate of increase, especially given the obesity issue that this country has.
For reference, the other cup sizes changed too, but they went through name changes and are slightly harder to track. In 2012, the sizes were the same as they are today but without the kid sized cup. Sometime around 2011, they renamed and resized their sizes to be just about what they are today.
I am guessing that they are probably charging less money per ounce than they did in 2006, but that the overhead of the ice cream is cheap enough to make up for it. But if you were not paying attention, and you kept getting the size you always got, then you are nearly doubling the amount of ice cream you are getting. Needless to say, this also doubles the fat, calories, sugar and everything else in the ice cream.
So the bottom line, if you though the sizes were getting bigger, it’s not your imagination. They are. And pay attention to how much you are getting so you don’t go overboard. Ice cream is fine as an occasional treat in moderation.
I obviously could not get data earlier than 2006, so who knows how much they have changed since I was a kid.
It would also be interesting to look at how the prices changed, but I will leave that to someone else.