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May 12, 2008

Ice Cream Scoop: Major Brands Downsize Again

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:39 am

A few years ago, the major ice cream makers downsized their half gallon containers to 56 ounces. It took a while for many consumers to catch on to the change, and once they did, shoppers were not happy.

Now we are right in the middle of another downsizing by the ice cream industry. Check your grocer’s freezer case, and you are likely to find both the current 56 ounce container of ice cream along side the new size.

*MOUSE PRINT: Some manufacturers like Breyer’s are introducing containers that are 48 ounces, down a full eight ounces, and the price has remained the same.


You will notice the change in package is very subtle. The new one is tapered more along the sides, but is the same height. When asked why the company downsized their product again, Breyer’s said:

“Breyers has always taken great pride in offering the highest quality products at reasonable and fair prices. Recently, the price of all of our ingredients, most of all the fresh cream we use in our products, has gone up dramatically. Manufacturing and transportation costs also have increased significantly with the surge in fuel oil prices. Because of these economic conditions and in order to remain competitive, Breyers® made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our basic pack to 48 ounces.”

Edy’s ice cream is also in the middle of downsizing their products as well.

*MOUSE PRINT: The original half gallon became 56 ounces, and now it is down again to 48 ounces — a full two cups less than the original size.


The new container is shorter, but that is only obvious when you see them side by side. Only during the time of transition are you likely to see both in the freezer case together.

Like Breyer’s, Edy’s said they continue to experience increases in costs for energy, dairy, etc., and wanted to continue to offer their product at a “familiar price”. When I asked why they don’t call attention to the fact that the package now contains a cup less of ice cream, the company representative said the quantity is clearly marked on the product and there was no intent to deceive.

Both manufacturers kept the price the same, it appears, and the UPCs on the products did not change either.

As we have said many times, downsizing is sneaky way to pass on a price increase because the change is often not obvious, but you are getting less for your money.


• • •


  1. trader joes now has a 1/2 gallon of their brand ice cream ( $ 5.99 in Los Angeles) – as opposed to double rainbow. I was a true breyers vanilla bean fan – didn’t really like double rainbows vanilla – but have now swithched…..the ice cream is really good, AND the container seemed soooooo heavy when I picked it up.

    it does however have a few extra “gum” type ingredients, whereas breyers does not.

    Comment by Laurie — August 9, 2008 @ 4:56 pm
  2. The reality is that despite everyone’s assurance that they’d rather see a price increase than product shrinkage, it’s just not true and the manufacturers know it. What people SAY they will do and what they actually do is usually very different. Breyers and Edy’s probably tested both models in various markets to see which performed better.

    If the price of those brands suddenly increased significantly relative to the other brands consumers would purchase the others–guaranteed. Even if they realized that one still offered 1.75 qts and the other only had 1.5, they’d take the 1.5 and tell themselves that they didn’t need the extra anyway. So, sorry folks. I too am frustrated but at least I understand that, in this case, a price increase would have been far worse for Breyers than this alternative–even with all of the comments here stating otherwise.

    Comment by Tracy — August 24, 2008 @ 11:29 pm
  3. I actually contacted Edy’s on this issue and offered to help them nap the crooks stealing 8 ounces of ice cream. Probably the same ones who stole those 8 ounnces from the 1/2 gallon packs. Actually recieved an email from the head ice cream guy – the company president explaning the usually pary line – cots of nuts, fruits, transportation and so on. Wonder why the basic falovors without nuts and fruits are the same price? Oh well, I wrote back and suggested that instead of the usually stealth approach which is downsizing and a short term promotion, to make it a contest. let the consumer decide. Never heard back but I did get two fifty-cent off coupons.

    Comment by rick mcnair — September 1, 2008 @ 10:26 am
  4. Not only do they not put as much in the carton. They are whipping it so much that it is getting close to 50% air. I used to not be able to scoop the ice cream that came out of the freezer in the basement. Now it is no problem as it is not near as dense as it used to be. So now there is less of less in the carton and they cost less to ship cause they are lighter. Sounds like someone is trying to make a lot of money at our expense. NO THANK YOU. CHANGED MY BRAND TO ANOTHER.

    Comment by Jim Montgomery — September 2, 2008 @ 7:25 pm
  5. less is the new MORE

    Ivlan: Yes, it is us Republicans’ fault for ALL the evils in the world. We will DOMINATE in 2008!! First America, THEN THE WORLD!!!!
    Buha ha ha HAAH ha ha ha HAAH ha ha ha HAAH ha ha ha HAAH!!!!
    (but first, a small bowl of ice cream. mmmmm)

    One other thing, Ivlan. If we drive less the gov will jack up taxes ‘cuz they’re in serious love with the fuel tax $$$ we’re sending them. What a dilemma! Use less, pay more per gallon of gas AND ice cream. $chweet

    Comment by Hugh Morris — September 7, 2008 @ 3:55 pm
  6. Breyers ingredients include GUM. It also contain palm oil. Breyers is not what is used to be and i no longer buy it 😉

    Comment by jason — November 2, 2008 @ 9:45 am
  7. When Turkey Hill was 1.75 quarts per carton their web site said “We make sure that each and every HALF-GALLON of premium ice cream lives up to the Turkey Hill name.” Now that it’s only 1.5 quarts, they changed “half-gallon” to “container”.

    Comment by Dennis — December 9, 2008 @ 11:26 am
  8. I’m wondering if we will slowly loose weight, or will we compensate and purchase more ice cream?

    Comment by Sue Taylor — December 10, 2008 @ 1:04 am
  9. The excuse for more expensive and downsizing products was supposingly due to high gas prices. Since the prices have come down on gas, why hasnt’t the price and sizing reversed? Bottom line is they are making more money and think the consumer hasn’t noticed. Wrong!

    Comment by Paula — January 22, 2009 @ 3:14 pm
  10. I have not much to add to the thread, except another voice to join the army of angry villagers with pitchfork (or ice cream scoop) held high. I also wrote Breyer’s about a year ago to complain about (1) the radical downsizing, and (2) the addition of various gums to the product. They told me the gum was added to help stabilize the product during shipping and temperature variations. Well, like others here have written, I told them I no longer willing to pay a premium price for something that is no longer a premium brand. am I just really old, or does anyone else remember those TV commercials with the cute little kids trying to read the ingredients on competitors’ cartons, then one little kid read the Breyer’s label: “Cream, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla.” Period. Those adds are what turned me on to the awesome flavor of Breyers, and opened my eyes to the fact that all ice creams are NOT created equal. Aside from the rip-off of downsizing, what’s really sad is that I don’t know of a “pure” ice cream brand any more. Also as mentioned above, the “whipping” in of air is a further insult. Breyer’s used to be rock-hard out of the freezer. Now it’s got so much air and “Tara Gum” in it that it’s barely frozen. It is NOT the creamy, delicous product it used to be. They have also skimped dramatically on the Vanilla bean specks, once featured prominently on the front of the carton, now not even mentioned in the ingredients, except as “Other natural flavors.” I will reiterate what others here have said. This IS insulting to my intelligence. Boycott Breyer’s. It is no better than other generic low-cost “Ice Creams.”

    Comment by Barry — July 22, 2009 @ 11:12 am

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