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Some Supplements Mislead Buyers on Dosing and Strength

We recently got an email from Diana B. who had just bought some calcium supplements. The front of the bottle said 1000 mg. and that there were 90 capsules inside. She reasonably believed she was buying a three-month supply.

Here is a similar, but larger bottle:

Solaray 1000

She discovered when looking at the back of the bottle, that in order to get the 1000 mg. of calcium promised on the front of the bottle she had to take four capsules.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Solaray Nutrition Label

We asked the company, Solaray, why they don’t disclose that on the front of the bottle to prevent purchasers from being misled. The company did not respond. What they recently have done, it appears, is to add the words “per serving” in small print.

Solaray per serving

Would that put prospective purchasers on sufficient notice that you needed to take four capsules to get the stated amount of calcium? We don’t think so. A better approach is what GNC has done right on the front of its calcium citrate label.

GNC Calcium

They say, albeit in tiny print, that you need to take four caplets to get the stated amount of calcium, and separately the number of days you get out of each bottle.

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Fireball Cinnamon Not What It Appears

An Illinois consumer recently filed a class action lawsuit again a liquor company for what appeared to be an alcholic beverage with a very misleading label.

The product in question is called Fireball Cinnamon made by a Kentucky company, best known for its Fireball Cinnamon Whisky whose slogan is “Tastes Like Heaven. Burns Like Hell.”

Both these bottles are shot-size. Can you tell the difference?

Fireball Cinnamon

The one on the left is their famous whiskey, and the one on the right that our consumer bought apparently tastes similar but is a malt beverage sold in supermarkets, convenience stores, and gas stations. That unreadable fine print on the bottle on the right says:

*MOUSE PRINT:

“Malt Beverage With Natural Whisky
& Other Flavors and Carmel Color.”

Even if a purchaser could read that, it might well give the wrong impression because according to the consumer’s lawyer, there actually is no whiskey in the product at all. That disclosure should say “Natural Whisky Flavor and Other Natural Flavors.”

The consumer is seeking damages and product label changes because of this alleged misrepresentation and deceptive business practice.

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Here We Shrink Again:
More Products Downsize – Winter 2023

It may be a new year, but companies are still up to their old tricks of making products smaller in order to pass on sneaky price increases to shoppers (“shrinkflation”).

Turkey Hill Ice Cream

This is a big one. The major brands of ice cream last did a major downsizing 15 years ago when Breyers, Edy’s and others took a full cup out of their 56-ounce containers and made them 48 ounces. Now Turkey Hill is dropping two additional ounces making their containers 46 ounces.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Turkey Hill ice cream

But instead of clearly marking the containers with the new number of ounces, they chose to only use the odd number 1.44 quarts. We asked the company’s PR firm three times about that, why they are making this change, and whether they think the industry will follow suit. We did not get a response. A call to their consumer relations department did provide some insight. The representative said because of the high cost of some ingredients a decision was made to make the containers a little smaller rather than to tinker with the recipe. Thanks to Sam L., Jim, and Steve K. for also catching the change.


Crisco Vegetable Oil

Oil has come in predictable-size containers for decades like 24 oz. 32 oz., 48 oz., etc. Now Crisco is breaking away from the mold taking out a full cup of oil from each bottle, but on the shelf you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Crisco 48-40    Crisco profile

So, only if you turn the bottles sideways would the new slimmer bottle become evident. And they cleverly put the number of ounces on the side of the bottle so you can’t see if from the front. We can only wonder if Wesson and other brands will soon follow suit. Thanks to Mike K. and Jack K. for pointing out this change, and to Janet M. for the profile picture.


Aldi Green Beans

Store brands are not immune from shrinkflation. Here is an example of canned green beans from Aldi. Each can was reduced by half an ounce. Remember when canned veggies were a standard 16 ounces?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aldi green beans


Sabra Guacamole

Chris J. sent in this tip about Sabra Guacamole going from a standard eight-ounce container down to just seven ounces. He said the package size looks the same size, but the new container has a resealable lid.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sabra Hummus


Stella Artois Beer

Bottles of Stella Artois, a Belgium beer, have been 11.2 ounces for several years instead of the more typical 12 ounces for American beers. Their cans appear to be following suit, but many websites still show pictures of the old 12-ounce size. It is unclear when this change took place. Anheuser-Busch did not answer our inquiries.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Stella Artois beer cans


Colgate Total

Colgate Total Deep Clean paste has downsized from 5.1 ounces to 4.8 ounces. We did not find old and new boxes in stores side-by-side, but typically these days box sizes tend to exaggerate the actual contents.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Colgate Total


If you find a product that has been hit by shrinkflation, please take a side-by-side picture of the old and the new product, with the net weights showing and email them to Edgar (at symbol) ConsumerWorld.org . Thanks.

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