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October 7, 2013

More Groceries Downsize – 2013 (Part 2)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:29 am

There seems to be a sudden wave of products being downsized after a bit of a lull.

Beloved Charmin toilet paper, which believe it or not had 600 or 650 sheets on a roll when it was first introduced, has now been downsized again for the umteenth time, to just 164 sheets per “double” roll.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Charmin
[Click above to see original labels]

Not only does P&G give you fewer sheets now, they also narrowed each sheet by close to half an inch.

We asked P&G why they downsized Charmin and why they made each sheet narrower. They said they downsized “to provide consumer driven improvements without raising our pricing.” As to why they narrowed each sheet, the company said:

“While the roll width was reduced 3/8ths of an inch, this allowed us to invest in some additional features:

  • Comfort Cushions to enhance the softness of Charmin Ultra Soft—a key consumer need for our Ultra Soft users
  • A more flexible Charmin Ultra Strong—our Ultra Strong users want strength without making the sheet too stiff
  • A reduced roll width to improve how easily it flushes for our most demanding users

We also added some fibers taken away from the sides back into the rest of the sheet to put more fibers where you need them most to get the job done.”

Thanks to Richard G. for tipping us off to how Charmin is squeezing the customer.


Good old Ritz Crackers, which used to come in one pound boxes, and which was downsized a few years ago, has just been downsized again.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Ritz

ritz 2013

Thanks to Jamie M. for spotting the Ritz downsizing.


Lastly, for this downsizing roundup, we have Ocean Spray cranberry juice, which forever has come in 64-ounce bottles, but no longer does. They have been shrunk to 60-ounces. The old bottle on the left says “New Look,” which is usually a tip-off to a change in size, but this time it was a false signal. The new bottle also says “New Look,” and the ounces did drop. Go figure.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Ocean Spray cranberry juice

How did they do it? When looked at from the side, the top of half of the new bottle has been narrowed. Sneaky. Very sneaky.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Ocean Spray sides

Ocean Spray told Mouse Print* that it downsized some of its products because of rising costs it faced and “rather than raise the price at the point of sale.” As to the phrase “new look” appearing on both the old bottles and new bottles bottles, the company said it began using “new look” in October 2012 to differentiate its 100% juice products from its other product lines. And finally, here is their response to why the four-ounce drop in net contents was done so inconspicuously:

“The realities of the economy and the rising costs of goods mean we like many manufacturers have to make tough decisions about products and pricing. Our number one priority is making sure consumers have access to the product they want at a price point they can afford. The move to downsize our 100% Juice line from 64 oz. to 60 oz. was done in accordance with industry standards and was not concealed in any manner.” — Ocean Spray Spokesperson

Thanks to Lynnie B. for catching the Ocean Spray downsizing.

• • •

20 Comments

  1. At least Ocean Spray’s reply was more truthful. Charmin tried to flower it up way too much saying how great their product is NOW that they downsized.

    Comment by Tina — October 7, 2013 @ 7:26 am
  2. Really! who made 60oz the new standard? As far as Charmin goes which has been my TP of choice for years, the new Comfort Cushions are not softer at all. I just bought a new package and I can definitely tell the difference. Oh, and they reduced roll width to improve how easily it flushes, that excuse is almost laughable.

    Comment by Peter — October 7, 2013 @ 7:56 am
  3. At least the companies provided answers to your inquiries.

    I find it interesting that Ocean Spray gave the economic answer to the question about downsizing. The thing they failed to address is the fact that the per ounce price is probably still the same if not more than it was before.

    Sure, downsizing the package and keeping it the same price might seem more affordable to the uninformed customer, but a knowledgeable customer would not be fooled. A 10 oz package for $10 is $1.00 per oz. An 8 oz package would be $1.25 per oz and 25% more. No matter how much the package is downsized, if I still want 10 oz I have to spend $12.00 or 20% more.

    In my opinion downsizing packages is just a play on consumer psychology and a waste of plastic. I don’t want to buy more packages. Please stop.

    Comment by Wayne R — October 7, 2013 @ 9:27 am
  4. The fact that everyone is being a copycat is bad enough, but why all the deception? It really is an outrage at how fraudulent this is. And they still charge the same prices or higher. So for the manufacturers, less is more (money in their pockets).

    Comment by Nancy Savageau — October 7, 2013 @ 9:38 am
  5. I’m still waiting for a company to step up to the plate and decide to become a “leader” and upsize all their products regardless if there is a price change or not. Hopefully the public will catch on to the point that it will force other companies to follow suit. Of course I’ll be a bundle of cobwebs for that to happen!

    Comment by Frankie — October 7, 2013 @ 10:22 am
  6. Well peter how about Orange Juice. They used be 64oz containers and for the past few years are now at 59oz….

    Comment by Richard Ginn — October 7, 2013 @ 11:02 am
  7. The downsize that really annoyed me was graham crackers. They were squares, but now they are not. This makes it really difficult to use them to make easy “ginger bread” houses at Christmas time. What a scrooge move.

    Comment by Kathleen — October 7, 2013 @ 11:40 am
  8. many recipes call for certain amount of product. My tuna noodle casserole now needs two cans. More money for me to spend!

    Comment by linda D — October 7, 2013 @ 11:42 am
  9. I love how Charmin insists their downsizing is “consumer driven”. Oh, yes, PLEASE charge me the same price for LESS product.

    They’re all sneaks, in my opinion!

    Comment by Sunny H — October 7, 2013 @ 5:38 pm
  10. don’t forget the sodas – pepsi and coke lowering their suitcase size 24 cans down to 20 cans AND upping the price. that was over a year ago!

    Comment by tom gauvin — October 7, 2013 @ 6:57 pm
  11. The Charmin “Ultra Soft” is NOT even close to what it was. Before the change it was the best toilet paper you could buy, and I’ve been loyal to it for years. It was better than anything else on the market, hands down – and while there are some things you can skimp on, toilet paper isn’t one of them.

    When I bought a package of this new (alleged) Ultra Soft stuff – which has ZERO warning on the packaging about the change – I was pretty pissed off. I felt totally ripped off. I didn’t even notice the size difference, but the paper is completely different. It’s now no better than other competing, average brands.

    Forget you, Charmin. I would’ve paid the price increase for the premium paper… Now I will NEVER buy this new version of Ultra Soft again and pay a premium price for toilet paper that isn’t premium by any measure.

    Comment by Bryan J — October 7, 2013 @ 7:05 pm
  12. It’s time to say “ENOUGH”. What we need is someone like Jon Stewart to suggest that the country boycott a product like Charmin or Blue Bunny Ice Cream until they increase the product size to what it was before all of the downsizing. He could certainly present some compelling reasons to boycott the products. I called Blue Bunny and told them that if I wanted to buy less than 1/2 gallon of ice cream, I would buy Ben and Jerry’s.

    The Scotts toilet paper I now buy barely stays on the two prong holder.

    JS

    Comment by Jim S — October 7, 2013 @ 7:51 pm
  13. Walmart’s Great Value paper towels has done it also. The cardboard tube inside was made wider (diameter) than normal! Not only that the roll is 1/2″ shorter as well. Yet another sneaky downsize! Keep your eyes open folks!

    Comment by BJ — October 8, 2013 @ 10:18 am
  14. Ocean spray’ downsizing “was not concealed in any manner.”
    Really? looking at the above image, was it obvious that there was a change? I guess their idea of “not concealed” means that you strategically change a “4″ to a “0″ in the somewhat fine print and know that clearly everyone noticed it.
    On top of that, most of their products are mostly water so I don’t but it knowing that I’m paying the same price for every fewer drops of juice.

    Comment by RobS — October 11, 2013 @ 4:06 pm
  15. Keep an eye out. Here in Eastern Canada I noticed over the past 2 months some Orange Juice is now 56oz or 1.65 liters

    Comment by Scott — October 12, 2013 @ 6:39 am
  16. 56oz!?!?!?!?!? Is Orange Juice now going to get trashed every few years by a few ounces???

    And to RobS any product downsizing is being forced upon you see the change. No WAY WOULD a company come out on the label and SAYYY NOW 4 ounces less for the same price….

    Comment by Richard Ginn — October 13, 2013 @ 11:32 am
  17. Am I reading the Ocean spray label correctly? They change the number of servings from “8″ to “about 8″. Not even close.

    Comment by linda D — October 13, 2013 @ 5:51 pm
  18. Stop buying those products that downsize. I love ritz crackers, but will nebver buy another box since they reduced the size by 25% and the price is the same. I will never buy another box. It’s up to the customer, i guarantee you if no one buys a box of the reduced size box for a month or more. They will bring back the larger size at a reduced price. It all of us stupid consumers that just keep buying them that allow them to get away with it. We dont need these produces, so stop it…

    Comment by T J — October 13, 2013 @ 9:52 pm
  19. Companies have a department full of frustrated non-fiction writers to conjure up “flowery replies” to answer inquiries on down-sizing from Consumer World, Consumer Reports, etc.

    Comment by Gerry Pong — October 14, 2013 @ 12:51 pm
  20. The downsizing of products goes far beyond Mouse Print’s ability to report on it. Cereal, candy bars, tissues, cookies, many canned foods, etc. etc. Almost any product that can be made smaller without the consumer really noticing! Of course, the packages appear to be the same size.

    Soon, it will be one sheet of toilet paper for only $3.99. But if you use both sides, you get twice the utility! Looks like future generations could be back to Sear’s catalogs and dry leaves.

    Comment by Mister Masters — October 16, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

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