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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.

• • •

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.

• • •

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.

• • •

July 19, 2010

Safeway Upsizes Ice Cream!

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 4:35 am

For the past five years, ice cream manufacturers have been inconspicuously downsizing their containers of ice cream. What started out as the standard half gallon, became 56 ounces, and then went down to 48 ounces:

Now, believe it or not, one brand has decided to UPSIZE its containers back to the original half gallon size.


Funny how they very clearly call your attention to the fact that the product is now larger, but when containers were downsized, manufacturers did not label them, “Look — New Smaller Size”.

Of course, today’s half gallon is priced higher than the original.

Thanks to some eagle-eyed employees of the USDA for this submission.

• • •

May 31, 2010

Tropicana Inconspicuously Downsizes Half Gallons of OJ

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 4:32 am

Can you tell the difference between these two cartons of Tropicana orange juice?

To the naked eye, they look identical but for one small thing tucked into the bottom right hand corner of the carton.


There is now five ounces less in the half gallon carton — just 59 ounces. One can’t peek inside to verify that it is not filled up as much as the old cartons, but that appears to be the case. To see if there really was less in the new carton, we weighed them contents and all to see if the new container was lighter.


Sure enough, the new container plus its contents weighs over a quarter of a pound less.

Mouse Print* asked the company why it downsized, and whether they were just underfilling the old containers to achieve a 5 ounce savings.  A customer service representative responded:

“Reducing our 64 ounce carton to a 59 ounce carton wasn’t a decision we took lightly. As you probably have heard, the Florida citrus industry has suffered the most devastating winter freeze and one of the smallest orange crops in 20 years. When the supply of oranges goes down the price goes up which impacts our costs. Instead of raising prices, we chose to slightly reduce the amount of juice and maintain the price. Our consumer research shows that most shoppers, when given a choice between a price increase or slightly less contents, prefer to hold the line on prices.”

You will notice that the second question about underfilling the new containers was not answered.

The question now becomes how long it will be before Tropicana’s competitors downsize their half gallons too.

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