We all know that product downsizing occurs when some amount of the product has been removed from the package inconspicuously, but the price remains the same.
A close relative to product downsizing is what we call “product dilution.” The product is formulated or reformulated in such a manner as to make it less expensive to manufacture.
A classic example is Tropicana’s “Trop50” drink that boasts 50% less sugar and calories. How did they accomplish this? It only has 42% juice and the rest is water and flavoring.
And if you have poked around the meat counter lately, some whole chickens and boneless chicken breasts have been plumped up with up to 15% of “broth” (aka water). [Note how "fifteen percent" is spelled out to make it less obvious at a glance.]
Procter & Gamble recently has been “diluting” some of their products to come out with a new “value” line. Witness the introduction of Charmin Basic and Bounty Basic, a cheaper single-ply product compared to regular two-ply rolls. And then there is the new Tide detergent in the yellow bottle. Priced less expensively than traditional Tide and presumably with a less effective formulation, it is designed to complete with other bargain detergents.
And P&G’s newest product, Dawn “Simply Clean” is just beginning to hit store shelves. It caught regular Mouse Print* reader Tim B. unaware, who bought a bottle of the new stuff thinking it was regular Dawn Ultra.
“I didn’t notice the label until I went to use the soap. Very watery and very runny. As expected, it does not perform as well as the Ultra so I have to use more. My problem when I shop, is I expect things to remain the same. And these companies continue to get me. Gwaltney bacon, I purchased a pack of that only to discover I got 12 ounces instead of 16. Anitfreeze that was “pre-diluted” which means I bought a half gallon of water and half gallon of anti-freeze. Packaged meat with “water added”. And now “Non-Concentrated ” Dawn, AKA more water added. I thought the “Simply Clean” was just a new slogan.
Sad part is years ago, companies would improve their product to get you to buy it. Now it seems everything is going the other direction, to make cheaper products.”
Our intrepid consumer is a technician by trade, so he decided to test both old and new Dawn to try to determine how much the new non-concentrated Dawn had been watered down. The old one was thick and gloppy, while the new one was much thinner. In fact, he says the new product only has one-third the “solids” as the old one.
So how do you feel about “product dilution?” Sound off in the comments.