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July 8, 2013

Choosy Mothers May Stop Choosing Jif

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:21 am

Jif peanut butter, the favorite of “choosy mothers,” may have to change their slogan to “annoyed mothers” if those women read the product’s new label and catch the inconspicuous change.

Five years ago, we reported that Skippy peanut butter was the first major brand to downsize the traditional 18-ounce jar to just 16.3 ounces. Not long thereafter, Peter Pan followed suit. But not Jif. In fact, for a long time, Jif promoted the fact that they did not downsize their brand by proclaiming that Jif was still 18 ounces:

Jif still 18 oz.

That was then. The “still 18 oz.” claim disappeared from their jars over a year ago, but the product remained the full 18 ounces. That is, until now. Beginning to appear on store shelves across the country are Jif’s new jars:


Jif then and now

They shrunk the contents of the product by a full two ounces… but the jars look virtually the same. They didn’t pull the same trick that Skippy used of hollowing out the bottom of the jar. Somehow, though, there is over 10% less in what appears to be about the same size jar. How did they accomplish this seemingly impossible feat?


Jif measured

The new jar on the right actually had its waistline trimmed by one-half an inch. That’s the secret.

For its part, here is how the company explained its decision to downsize Jif:

“We previously announced the conversion of our packaging to 16 oz. jars effective June 1, 2013 based on consumer and retailer feedback. It is important to note that we also decreased the suggested retail price so the cost per ounce remained the same as it was prior to the packaging change. ” — Corporate Communications, J.M. Smucker

Of course, we are sure that shoppers must have just deluged the company with complaints, demanding that the company put less peanut butter in each jar.

Incidentally, we paid only $2.20 for the old, bigger jar, but were charged $3.29 for the new one at the same store on the same register receipt! Both sizes were marked $3.29 originally, but the old one appeared to be clearance priced.


• • •


  1. At grocery stores where I shop only store brand peanut butter has remained 18 oz. I can imagine that changing soon if Jif has decided to downsize its packaging.

    I wonder if Jif really did have customer complaints about their peanut butter packaging. It may have something to do with other peanut butter brands appearing to be cheaper than Jif, but consumers not paying attention to the amount in the jar. The typical consumer might just see 2 jars of peanut butter from 2 brands – one more expensive than the other – and assume that Jif is more expensive even if the cost per unit is the same.

    I really dislike packages being downsized. Prices tend to be the same per unit or more expensive. For me all it does is waste packaging and makes me have to buy the product more often. There should always be a bulk package for products that people tend to buy a lot of.

    Comment by Wayne R — July 8, 2013 @ 8:51 am
  2. Eh, I don’t have a problem with this. If people aren’t smart enough to shop based on price per ounce/unit then that is their own fault.

    I’d prefer if package sizing stayed the same but it’s no biggie. It does hurt with some canned foods though where you have a recipe that calls for 16oz of something.

    Comment by James — July 8, 2013 @ 9:14 am
  3. I have a problem with Jif’s explanation. If it’s the same price per ounce, then the 16-oz jar should cost $2.92, not the 18-oz $3.29 price.

    Comment by Shawn S — July 8, 2013 @ 11:04 am
  4. “With a name like Smuckers…”

    Comment by Marty — July 8, 2013 @ 11:13 am
  5. Sure wish the govt would take this in to account,when they issue their dishonest inflation statistics.Obviously,inflation isn’t anywhere near 1.7%.

    Comment by jrj90620 — July 8, 2013 @ 11:31 am
  6. Shawn is right…. Where is the price decrease.

    Edgar replies: To be fair, I don’t know what Stop & Shop historically charged for 18 oz. Jif. For all I know, the $3.29 price could have been reduced from some higher price.

    Comment by Richard Ginn — July 8, 2013 @ 12:51 pm
  7. The price went down….but…how long will it stay down?? a week?? a month?? or two??

    Comment by J in VA — July 9, 2013 @ 11:20 pm
  8. No more “jif” for us — or anyone we can contact 1

    Comment by Lynne Murguia — July 10, 2013 @ 11:16 am
  9. I wouldn’t eat jif if it was half that price. (MADE FROM ROASTED PEANUTS AND SUGAR, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: MOLASSES, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SALT.) At least, it’s “fully” not “partially” hydrogenated oil.

    Where I shop, I buy the store brand natural peanut butter for $2.99 for 16 oz. Ingredients: peanuts

    Comment by McScrooge — July 10, 2013 @ 7:04 pm
  10. You *could* make your own peanut butter. That way, you’re sure of about the ingredients.

    Comment by Ambar — July 10, 2013 @ 9:02 pm
  11. The problem isn’t only related to whatever excuse the company gave, but to the Chinese and their recent discovery of the cost differential of American peanuts, which are very cheap compared to their Chinese counterparts. The WSJ recently ran an article about the buyers from China flooding parts of Georgia and buying every peanut in sight. It’s basic economics, folks, supply and demand. They use a ton more peanuts and peanut derived products, like oil, than we do. But the downside is that the product we do use will reflect the pressure.

    Comment by Quantella Owens — July 11, 2013 @ 9:16 am
  12. Regarding the comment that you *could* grind your own peanut butter,
    that’s what I do. A local store has a grinder. Peanuts go in the top,
    peanut butter comes out the bottom. It’s a pretty simple process.

    Comment by B. Badonov — July 12, 2013 @ 1:56 am
  13. A tired old story at this point. Products will downsize and when called out manufacturers do a song and dance that would have been a hit in vaudeville days. Manufacturers just don’t care as they know we will continue to but their products as they downsize and raise prices.

    Comment by Rick — July 13, 2013 @ 10:18 am
  14. “We previously announced the conversion of our packaging to 16 oz. jars effective June 1, 2013 based on consumer and retailer feedback.”
    I really wonder what the “question” was that they asked consumers and got feedback: “Do you prefer 16oz peanut butter better than 8oz peanut butter for the same price?” Yes? Oh, then obviously we should change out 18 oz to 16 oz because consumer like 16 oz containers.
    or maybe, would you rather pay $3.20 for 16 oz container (20-cents per oz) or $5.00 for 18 oz (27-cents/oz)?” Hmmm…people prefer 16 oz containers!

    Comment by RobS — July 21, 2013 @ 2:20 am
  15. And for those of us on WIC, depending on the state, you may no longer be able to buy Jif PB because some states require that it be an exactly 18 oz container of PB. Some states say 18 oz only, some say “Up to 18 oz”, while others say “16-18 oz” is allowed.

    Comment by Michael — July 29, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

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