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September 12, 2011

Detergent and Cookies Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:41 am

The latest products to downsize have keep the same old package, but decided to put less product inside.

P&G has just downsized its largest containers of Cascade dishwasher detergent ActionPacs.


In surprisingly large print, the company decreased the number of loads you get from each container from 110 to 105. The trouble is that most consumers have not memorized the number of loads that each size container of Cascade provides, so they are not likely to recognize they are now getting less for the same price.

Also downsizing but keeping the package the same is Mrs. Freshley’s.


Here, instead of getting 12 Buddy Bars in each box (six packages of two), you now get only eight (four packages of two) — a decrease of one-third! Most people, including MrConsumer would not have noticed this because the boxes are the exact same size. Mrs. Freshley’s indicated that in fact they make both eight bar and 12 bar products, but that it is the retailer who decides which to carry. In this case, it was Dollar Tree which apparently decided it could make more money selling the eight pack for a dollar.

Thanks to Cathy B. for spotting the Mrs. Freshley’s change. She also notes that Mrs. Freshley’s Swiss Rolls are being cut similarly, but the box is smaller.


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August 8, 2011

Bucking the Trend, This Company Upsized its Products

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:32 am

Since Mouse Print* began in 2006, we have featured product after product that has been downsized. Manufacturers remove an ounce here and there, and for paper products, they shave off fractions of an inch in width or length, or reduce the number of sheets provided.

Now comes Ken’s Steak House salad dressing. Looking at the picture on the left, the bottle on the left appears bigger than the one on the right, and one might conclude that they too have just downsized. Surprise, the opposite is true.


Ken’s actually added an ounce of dressing to their traditional eight ounce bottle when they made the switch from glass to plastic bottles. This was a deliberate move by this family-run company to buck the downsizing trend.

Too bad they missed the opportunity to tout the fact on the bottle that they are now giving the consumer more at the same old price. (They had limited space, and couldn’t figure out how to best communicate that fact according to a spokesperson for the company.) In the comments below, feel free to offer your suggestions.


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April 25, 2011

Paper Products Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:05 am

With higher prices for oil and raw materials, paper products companies are downsizing their products, again. Here are two more examples:


Going from 216 to 200 tissues per box is a reduction of almost seven and half percent. The clever folks at P&G don’t put the count anywhere but on the perforated strip that you remove when opening the box, so you have no way of double-checking from purchase to purchase how many tissues were in your last box. (Thanks to Rodney G. for the tip about Puffs.)


While it is true that no one is likely to miss that extra 1/8th of an inch, the maker of Dixie plates must have thought the savings were significant enough to invest money in the retooling and repackaging. One-eight of an inch times millions of plates adds up.

It is curious, however, that while the plates’ diameter in inches has shrunk, the diameter in centimeters appears to have increased from 21-cm to 21.5-cm. Whoever said the metric system made more sense?

Few people are likely to have caught these changes because they were done so inconspicuously.


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December 6, 2010

More Products Downsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:31 am

Earlier this year, Tropicana downsized it half gallons of orange juice. They went from 64 ounces to 59 ounces, but the container appeared to remain the same size.

Just last month, Tropicana’s big competitor, Florida’s Natural followed suit:


The package is a barely noticeable 1/4″ shorter, but contains five ounces less than previously.

When asked by Mouse Print* why their product was downsized, the company responded:

“As I hope you are aware, our major competitors had all previously made the switch. Although we had tried to maintain the 64 ounce size, we were at a big cost disadvantage. Consumers still bought the lower ounce cartons of our competitors, so to remain viable in the juice business, we had to follow suit.

As a company owned by farmers, we understand offering value to our customers. We have no control over the retail price supermarkets charge for our product. With that in mind, we will offer our 59 ounce features at a lower promotional cost, compared to the features usually run on the 64 ounce product.”

Another item that was downsized and discovered earlier in the year was Ivory Dishwashing Liquid.


When asked why the change, P&G responded:

” I’m sorry to hear that you have noticed the downsize in our bottles of Ivory Dish Soap. In the Fall of 2009, Ivory downsized our bottles because our raw materials went up and instead of charging more to the stores to handle our products we changed the size of the bottles. “

Thanks to Paul P. for the photo. Incidentally, he says the price stayed the same at about $2.42.

Cheryl from Massachusetts submitted this picture of Pastene Wine Vinegar which was downsized from a full quart to just 25.4 ounces, but the new bottle was taller than the old one. She poured the new contents into the old bottle to demonstrate just how much vinegar was actually removed.


Lastly, Jerri Q. was dismayed to find her Hill Bros. coffee had been substantially downsized, while the price stayed the same.


Thanks to all the contributors who found these examples of downsized products.  As we always say, downsizing is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase.


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September 13, 2010

Scott Toilet Paper: Here We Shrink Again

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 4:28 am

In the continuing retail race to shrink the size of a sheet of toilet paper to that of a postage stamp, Scott 1000 sheet rolls have been downsized again.

Exactly four years ago, we reported on Scott shortening each sheet on the roll from 4 inches to 3.7 inches.

Now, they are making each sheet narrower too.


It went from a full 4.5 inches wide to just 4.1 inches wide. A four pack now has almost 42 square feet less paper — a reduction of nine percent.

When the company was asked why they narrowed each sheet, a customer service representative replied:

This makes Scott “comparable with other brands on the market shelf” … and that there was “a slight improvement to make it thicker.”

How much thicker are the sheets now? Probably not too much as the new package weighs a full five ounces less than the old one.

Scott has a long history of downsizing its 1000 sheet rolls: 

Original: 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches

Pre-2006: 4.5 inches by 4.0 inches

9/2006: 4.5 inches by 3.7 inches

9/2010: 4.1 inches by 3.7 inches

The cumulative effect on consumers of all this downsizing is significant. Today’s roll is a full 25% smaller than the original.  Maybe they need to rename the product Scott 750.

As with all products that are downsized inconspicuously, it is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase because the customer is paying the same price, but getting less.

Thanks to eagle-eyed Mouse Print* reader Karen S. for this submission.


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