When It Comes To Store Bought Ice Cream, A Pint Isn't Always A Pint

As savvy shoppers we want to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck, which means being wary of mislabeled products. It would be nice if every item in the grocery store was exactly as advertised, and aisle alignments and displays weren't deliberately designed to entice us into impulse buys, but the truth is that we have to be vigilant consumers or we might get burned. Purchasing pints of ice cream seems like a no-brainer. According to standard U.S. measurements, a pint is 16 ounces. So, every ice cream that labels itself as a pint has to be 16 ounces, right? Well, not exactly.

Grocery shoppers are advised to check those ice cream labels closely for the net weight, since not all ice cream pints are a full 16 ounces, according to "Good Morning America." Even though some brands still market their products as "pints," and may trick your eyes by using the same size containers, many are actually only 14 ounces rather than 16.

A pint discrepancy

Much like a big bag of chips that's filled mostly with air, ice cream packaging may be confusing, leading us to believe that we're getting a true pint when we're actually missing out on two ounces. While with chips you can kind of squeeze the bag to feel the contents, ice cream requires checking the serving size to ensure that those extra spoonfuls of ice cream are included. Those purveyors of funky-sounding flavors, Ben and Jerry's, were even in the news in 2009 announcing their commitment to sticking with 16-ounce pints, while simultaneously reveling in a sardonic jab at one of their competitors, Häagen Dazs, which had shrunk its offerings to 14 ounces (via The Consumerist). And ice cream isn't the only product out there where a pint isn't always what it seems.

In 2008, a writer for The Source Weekly in Bend, Oregon, sought to investigate what he suspected was a discrepancy in beer pints served at local bars and breweries. He found that some establishments were using glasses that could only hold 12 or 14-ounces of liquid, but were still promoting them as pints. While he didn't uncover any deliberate intent to deceive, the point, as with ice cream or any food or beverage product, is that consumers should be made aware of what they're getting for the price.