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August 28, 2006

Hellmann’s Mayo: Introduces the 30 oz. Quart*

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:40 am

hellmans smallSome things always come in quarts: milk, motor oil, and mayonnaise, for example. You don’t have to look at the net weight statement, because a quart is 32 ounces, and that is what you always get.

Next time you go to the supermarket and pick up a quart-size jar of Hellmann’s (in the east) and probably Best Foods (in the west), you are going to be in for a little surprise.

*MOUSE PRINT:  The net weight statement now reads “30 oz.” instead of 32.

While the size change is apparent looking at the old and new jars side by side, you don’t have that comparison in the store. You see a dozen identical jars that look like the regular quart jar, and priced like the regular quart jar. You grab one, and you get snookered because they all have two ounces less in them.

All mayonnaise has come in quart jars for decades. Unlike tuna fish that has been downsized multiple times, this is the first time it has happened to mayonnaise. That’s what makes it so surprising, and why it has gone virtually unnoticed.

Why did Unilever Bestfoods do this?  Here’s what customer service said:

“At Unilever Bestfoods we have always taken great pride in offering the highest quality products at reasonable and fair prices.

Recently, inflationary pressures have brought about by the increased costs of raw materials. Rather than raise our prices, we chose to slightly reduce the size of the 32 oz quart and 16 oz pint. This is the first time in over three years that we have had to increase costs to our consumers.”

As with other categories of items that have been downsized, it is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase. Expect competing brands to trim their jars sometime soon.  




  ADV


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65 Comments

  1. I find it disturbing when the quantity of an item changes because I like getting a half gallon of ice cream or a quart of spaghetti sauce. The deceptiion is in the statement that the company did this to avoid raising prices. That is a blatant lie. If you charge $3 for a quart of mayo (measured at 32 oz) and then charge the same $3 for the new smaller size jar (measured at 30 oz.)- you are indeed raising prices. May all of us find the most inexpensive, quality product that meets our requirements even if that means making it ourselves.

    Comment by Julia — April 24, 2007 @ 4:10 pm
  2. I agree that shrinking product sizes along with cheaper quality ingredients make a recipe for more corporate profits. Companies count on lazy consumers to keep the ball rolling.

    And speaking of lazy consumers… I saw a television news byte regarding the coupon industry. BILLIONS of dollars of coupon savings go unused each year. Each. Daggone. Year. Coupons offer the opportunity to level the playing field and keep the overall grocery bill where it was one year+ ago. Some professional coupon-ers are getting $200 worth of groceries (and other products) for $100 or less.

    Boycotting a product won’t shut it down. So I say to do what you can… and coupons are certainly doable. With very little effort (just a store “super card,”) I purchased a $6.50 bottle of detergent for $3.50 and another $6.00 food product for $3.59.

    Comment by Hawa Bond — June 25, 2007 @ 4:01 pm
  3. I just noticed this change. I don’t know when it went into effect but it sure pisses me off. I have a number of recipes for different items that call for a QUART, not 30 oz. of mayonnaise. So now I have to buy two jars and guess at how much to take out of the 2nd jar.

    I won’t be buying Best Foods any longer. After using it for the last 40 years, I will either make my own or buy Kraft or some other brand. I refuse to let these corporate bastards take extra money out of my wallet. I will spend my money on a Bamix and make my own.

    Comment by Steve S — December 18, 2007 @ 12:40 am
  4. I agree with Steve S. This story made me check my pantry. I just recently purchased a new jar of Hellmann’s from Walmart and will be returning it after the holidays. I will purchase a different brand from here on out.

    It was bad enough when the manufacturers of toilet paper shortened their rolls. Where does it stop?

    Comment by Kathy V — December 25, 2007 @ 2:28 am
  5. Technically, a quart jar will not hold 32 fluid ounces. The container itself has mass and that mass reduces the amount the container can hold. Who has actually done the misleading her is the Bureau of Standards or whoever originally coined the terms ounce and fluid ounce. I have no idea if the previous product actually contain 32 ounces (by net weight or not), but that it only contains 30 ounces by weight now does not necessairly mean it contains less product. Food manufacturers frequently changed their product formulations and that can result in changing the net weight of the same volume of product if lighter ingredients are substituted for heavier ones. Even without changing the ingredients, if it is now being whipped more to add more air, the volume might still be the same but the weight would be lighter (not to mention the calories and fat would be lighter). This one just isn’t worth any indignation.

    Comment by Nancy — February 9, 2008 @ 12:03 pm
  6. I’ll bet the 30 oz. jar is call a QUARTLET.

    Comment by Richard W. — April 28, 2008 @ 7:20 pm
  7. Hellmann’s and Best can keep their mayonnaise. I wish I could find a nice way of saying, “Shove it”.

    Comment by Fistarus — July 4, 2008 @ 2:13 pm
  8. I will no longer be buying hellmans mayo. I went to there web site to leave a comment about there down sizing and it is out of order. Imagin that!!.. Shop rite mayo is just a good.. I wish there was a way we could tell them GOOD BY!!

    Comment by cheryl hall — July 6, 2008 @ 4:55 pm
  9. It’s all about GREED!
    Get Less and Pay More!
    If they need to rise the price then just do so,it will cost them more to change to the new bottle size and new printed labels.
    Just think how much those guys working in the “Think Tank” are making per year…lol..

    Comment by Sharon — July 28, 2008 @ 3:49 pm
  10. i have been buying hellmann’s mayo for years and will continue top
    do so. one of your writers stated that on the jar it states
    “30 ozs., one quart”. not true!!! just looked at my jar and it
    only states “30 ozs”. i know for a fact that the quantity
    decreases and the price increases. as a long time buyer,no one
    can fool me about this. size decreases , price increases. many
    companies have been using this shoddy tactic for a long time.
    don’t do both, either decrease the size or rise the price,don’t
    do both! this is “double dipping”. i will continue to buy
    hellman’s because i love it, but their tactic stinks.

    Comment by patricia scarbary — September 27, 2008 @ 2:38 pm
  11. I can’t help it. I love Hellman’s mayo. No other brand will do for me. I have been eating it all my life. I have tried other brands, but I just can’t like them. Some I won’t eat at all. Some are okay if that’s all there is, but Hellman’s is my preference no matter what the price. It is the preferred brand for my mother and my grandmother too. Always has been, as long as it has been sold in Alabama.

    Comment by Cheryl — December 5, 2008 @ 12:29 am
  12. Hellmans should be ashamed. This fiasco is clearly the fault of Bush and Cheney. Had they not started the iraq war thing, then we wouldnt have used the corn for alternative fuel and we wouldnt be raising the price of food oils. Damn you Bush.

    Comment by greezy — February 4, 2009 @ 8:28 pm
  13. WHAT IS IT WITH THE WEIGHT versus LIQUID CONTENT and all the stupid math? BOTH JARS ARE WEIGHED IN FLUID OUNCES!!! There is no need for your silly conversions…. 32 FLUID OZ – 946mL as opposed to 30 FLUID OZ – 887mL the second jar is 2 fluid ounces less that the first… w/e

    Comment by greezy — February 4, 2009 @ 8:42 pm
  14. The price is increasing,the quantity and quality is decreasing and this is happening across all product lines. Beef Jerky has to be the worst offender along with ice cream. I just love air whipped ice cream (not)!!!
    If they cut the products and kept prices the same it would be more tolerable but the crooks just keep cutting and raising. One major food manufacturer made a 60% profit when oil went thru the roof. They used the excuse that costs asscociated with high oil was killing the company so they “had” to pass the additional costs to consumers, yeah right!
    Why is oil 50% cheaper then last year yet prices are still going up way above inflation on many, many, products?

    Comment by Ray — June 12, 2009 @ 8:34 pm
  15. I have used Hellmans mayonnaise for over 50 years but will never use it again. I don’t condone thievery and don’t intend to subsidise it. What Hellmans did with the “30 oz quart” should be considered “theft by deception” because that is exactly what it is. No member of my family will but their mayo in the future. If necessary, we will do without.

    Comment by John E Alexander — July 26, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

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