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December 14, 2009

Downsized Products 2009 — Part 2

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:01 am

The parade of downsized items continues with the category that reputedly created the concept of shrinking products — candy bars. An alert Mouse Print* reader  noticed that his favorite “king size” Snickers bar was now nearly half an ounce lighter. Scouring the shelves of candy sellers, we were able to find both the old and the new products.



Unless you read the net weight statement, you would never know the product had shrunk, because it is the same length.

Here are some other examples of products that were discovered to have been downsized in 2009:






Thanks to the eagle-eyed Mouse Print* readers who spotted some of these net weight changes.

• • •

April 13, 2009

Quiznos: Get Less for Less

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:24 am

Last year, Quiznos advertised their large deli favorites sandwiches for only $5 for a limited time in a series of commercials showing hungry people eating five dollar bills.  The commercial said that these sandwiches had more meat than comparable Subway footlong subs, and the ad ends with the announcer saying “get more meat.” More recently, Quiznos has been advertising “new lower prices” and “love what you eat for less.”


A regular Mouse Print* reader recently wrote that it was his observation that during the $5 subs promotion, the “large” sandwiches seemed smaller than previously.  He asked a store employee about the tuna subs, and was told they were now putting 2-1/2 scoops of tuna in them instead of the old three scoops.

Mouse Print* made three contacts with Quiznos PR people to find out if their “large” sandwiches had been downsized, but did not receive an answer. Poking around online, however, the answer seems to be yes.  Here are the nutrition statements for various Quiznos sandwiches from November 2007, when the company first began to publish such information and several months before the promotion of their $5 subs:



And here is the current nutrition statement for these same sandwiches cobbled together from their website. Note the changes in the calories column:



You will note that the total calories dropped by about 15%, old versus new.  (Some would say that is a good thing since no single sandwich should contain a day’s worth of fat and calories.)

Clearly the company appears to have downsized its sandwiches.  Whether that was done so they could advertise  lower prices and make the public think they were getting a bargain, is unclear.  We can only take an educated guess.

• • •

March 30, 2009

The 14 oz. Pint and Other Downsized Products — Part 1

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:05 am

The pace of products shrinking in size does not seem to have diminished during the winter of 2008-2009.

Here are some of the latest items that have been downsized:



It is hard to see the difference in the two ice cream containers unless you look at them side by side. The subtle tapering of the new package would not be obvious to the casual purchaser.



Paper towels is one of the categories of items that has been downsized repeatedly. This time, P&G is using the old trick of announcing a seeming improvement (“25% thicker quilts”) to divert your attention away from the fact that they are giving you 10 fewer sheets per roll.

We weighed the old and new towel packages. The new one weighed less, suggesting that the paper really was not 25% thicker and thus heavier. So Mouse Print* asked the company if in fact the towels were 25% thicker, or whether they just made the indentations in the paper slightly deeper.

Their non-response:

Thank you for sharing your disappointment with our product. Our goal is to produce high quality products that consistently delight our consumers and I’m sorry this wasn’t your experience. Please be assured I’m sharing your comments with the rest of our team.


• • •

March 2, 2009

Purina: Even Dog Food Gets Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 7:29 am

It may be a good time to put your pooch on a diet because there is now less dog food in those big bags.

Recently an eagled-eyed Mouse Print* reader named Rose noticed that big bags of Purina One dog food had mysteriously dropped in weight by a full two pounds.



As with most downsized products, the packaging looks the same except for the net weight statement. And since you are paying the same price, but getting less for your money, dog owners were hit with a sneaky price increase.

The folks at Purina were asked twice by email why they downsized some of their products, and twice the company declined to put in writing their reasons.  Instead they suggested we call their consumer information line.

As expected, the company’s explanation went like this, paraprhasing:

It was a difficult decision for us, but due to the cost of ingredients, transportation, and storage, we had to downsize some of our products.

Now that gas has come down in price, the representative did not know if the company would up-size its bags.  We can guess the answer, doggoneit.

• • •

February 2, 2009

Kleenex Tissues Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 7:13 am

Paper products like toilet paper and paper towels have been downsized frequently. Now tissues are getting smaller too.



Kleenex has narrowed their tissues by two-tenths of an inch, from 8.4 inches wide to 8.2 inches, but the boxes are the same size. That is over 300 square inches less per box.

In addition, an eagle-eyed Mouse Print* reader (MaterialGirl) noticed that on the 120 count boxes the company made each tissue smaller AND reduced the number of tissues in the box to 110:


What does the company have to say about the downsizing?

In recent months, we have been faced with escalating prices for pulp and rapidly changing energy costs. Similar to other manufacturers, we cannot absorb these increased costs indefinitely without making an adjustment. While one of our competitors recently increased their price by six percent, we chose to maintain our existing price but decreased the number of sheets in some cartons. This direction allows us to offer lower promotional prices.

Also, we recently adjusted the sheet to a size equal to other tissues currently on the market, standardizing the sheet size in the facial tissue category. –Kimberly-Clark Customer Service

Although most shoppers won’t miss the two-tenths of inch from each tissue, for the company, the savings are nothing to sneeze at.

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