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May 16, 2016

Here We Downsize Again — 2016 (part 2)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:04 am

Thanks to the eagle eyes of regular Mouse Print* reader Richard G., we have another round of products that manufacturers have taken the shrink ray to.



Toilet paper is one of the categories of items that has been downsized for decades. Cottonelle continues to shrink in size, this time going from 418 sheets on a mega roll to 380 sheets. Double rolls have also downsized from 209 sheets per roll to 190.

Deceptively, in the upper right corner of the new smaller package, the company claims that you are getting 20% more sheets.

Cottonelle 20%

Huh? Only in marketing can getting less per roll mean you’re getting more. The *MOUSE PRINT finishes the claim: “compared to Charmin Ultra Strong mega rolls.”

Incidentally, it was just about a year ago that this same brand sliced off fractions of a inch from both the length of width of each sheet, as we reported.



Colgate is just in the process now of reducing the size of its largest tube of regular toothpaste from 8.2 ounces to 8.0 ounces. And just like the makers of Cottonelle, they are trying to create a false impression that the new box is giving you more. How in the world are you getting 33% more?


vs. 6 oz size

Thanks for the mathematics lesson tucked on the back of the box, Colgate.

Lastly, Scott K.’s co-workers in Canada couldn’t understand why their instant coffee was running out much faster than usual.



The reason: there is 15% less coffee in each jar of Nescafe now.


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June 22, 2015

Here We Downsize Again – 2015 (part two)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:54 am

  The parade of products being downsized continues. It is rare that a downsized product makes headlines, but this one did.


McCormick pepper

Besides dropping one-quarter of the contents, what is irksome here is the old and new containers are identical. Here is a side view with the old on the left and the new one the right:

McCormick side view

As reported in Consumer World last week, a competitor is suing McCormick for unfair practices, saying in part that the new package has been slack-filled. That means there is nonfunctional empty space inside which is illegal under federal law, and possibly some state laws.

Other competitors have noticed, and instead of fighting McCormick’s move, they are joining it.


Pepper competitor

Toilet paper continues to be subject to the shrink ray. The latest, Cottonelle, has had each sheet downsized in both width and length.



The good news — there are still 208 sheets on a roll — albeit each sheet is just a little closer to resembling a postage stamp than before. Thanks to Richard G. for this tip.

Lastly, we have bar soap. Many brands of “bath size” soap were originally five ounces. Then they became 4.5 ounces, then 4.25 ounces, and finally four ounces. Sometime, probably last year, Olay reduced the size of its soap from 4.25 ounces to four ounces.


Olay 4.25 oz

Olay 4 oz.

But, every so often after a product is downsized, companies will come out with a “bonus pack” giving you back what they took out. They make you think it is your lucky day.

Olay 5 oz.

Of course, this just puts bath size soap bars right back where they started at — five ounces — but not at the old price.


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December 8, 2008

Toilet Paper Downsizes in a New Way

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 7:10 am

We all know that toilet paper has been downsized for decades.  Charmin has gone from 600 or 650 sheets on the roll all the way down to 200 or so over the years. Other brands followed suit.  Even Scott’s 1000 sheet roll was downsized in a sneaky way in 2006 by making each sheet shorter.

The case of Cottonelle’s downsizing is a bit unusual, however.  Look at these two packages of their toilet paper purchased at the same time last month:


*MOUSE PRINT:  Both packages give the exact same dimensions for the contents — they say there are 304 sheets on each roll, and that sheets are 4.2 inches by 4.0 inches.  Clearly the package on the left is taller by about 3/4 of an inch (with rolls stacked on top of one another core to core).

What is going on here? The company said:

Because of all the precautions taken in our manufacturing plants, it is difficult to explain how the product you received escaped our detection.  Please accept our apology and our assurance that we will do our best to prevent a recurrence.  The proper roll height is 4.2 inches.  During 2007, we reduced the size of our COTTONELLE® bathroom tissue slightly to align our roll height [number of sheets per roll] with other premium tissue products on the market.  At that time, the sheet width was reduced from 4.5″ down to 4.2″.  The length of each sheet (4.0″ between the perforations) did not change.

So it looks like some of the older 4.5″ width rolls were put into a newer wrapper that had the new lowered sheet count and narrower width on the label.  One can only wonder if this was truly a “mistake” or rather an interim step in the downsizing process to hide the change for anyone comparing the older label to the newer one.

This then appears to be the industry’s latest ploy — downsizing toilet paper by making each sheeter narrower. Toilet paper has historically been 4.5 inches wide as demonstrated by Quilted Northern:


If you peruse the supermarket aisle you will notice that very few brands are 4.5 inches wide anymore. (Scott 1000 sheet role still is, for the moment.) Others are 4.3 inches, 4.27 inches, 4.2 inches, or even 4.0 inches.

Angel Soft Charmin Northern

If this trend continues, soon they will be marketing products to us that look more like dental floss than toilet paper.


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