Manufacturers are rushing to downsize their products as a sneaky way to raise the price without the customer realizing it many times. As this proliferates, we are going to see fewer and fewer standard size products on supermarket shelves.
The quart of mayonnaise has gone by the wayside, as has the three pound tub of margarine. Now it is orange juice’s turn. Typically sold by the quart, half gallon, three quart jug, and gallon, we are beginning to see oddball sizes replace the old standard ones.
Tropicana is the latest to downsize just in the past few weeks. Their three quart jug no longer holds 96 ounces.
Seven ounces are gone from the jug. Side by side, the difference in jug shape is obvious, but consumers rarely get to see the old and the new together on a supermarket shelf. While they may notice the shape is different, they may not realize they are getting almost a cup less of oj. According to one supermarket dairy manager, the price has stayed the same.
And as is often the case when a product is downsized, the manufacturer diverts your attention away from the net weight statement by pointing out something new. In this case, they discontinued the old screw cap and added a new flip top one. On second thought, maybe the company just found a new way to screw customers.
A Tropicana customer service representative explained the company’s position:
The downsizing from 96 to 89 ounces wasn’t a decision we took lightly. As you are aware, oil costs have skyrocketed. Oil is used to make plastic bottles, fuel our factories, and ship our juice across the country in refrigerated trains and trucks. We had the choice to either increase prices or to downsize the bottle. We chose to downsize the bottle but add value through the innovation of the SNAP cap and new bottle, which consumers were seeking.
Although you may not agree with our decision, we hope you can appreciate that they were made in the best interest of our consumers and shareholders.