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Here We Downsize Again – Summer 2021 (Part 1)

As inflation rears its ugly head, manufacturers have to decide whether they will raise prices, shrink their products, or possibly even do both. With so much publicity about “shrinkflation” over the past month, more shoppers are finding new examples. We have our ace downsizing sleuth, Richard G., to thank for spotting the items below, which you may find changing on store shelves right now.

General Mills Family Size Cereals

General Mills has gone overboard in the past few weeks downsizing variety after variety of their popular brands of breakfast cereals.

General Mills cerealsClick picture above, then again to enlarge to see net weights

cheerios

*MOUSE PRINT:

One example is Apple Cinnamon Cheerios. The 20.1 ounce box got half an inch taller, but lost 1.1 ounces making it 19 ounces now. That is a loss of one bowl of cereal in each box — the equivalent of a 27 cent price increase. (The packages shown were all on sale for $3.99.) The other brands shown were reduced between 0.5 ounces and 1.2 ounces. Think how much General Mills is saving when you multiply that times millions or tens of millions of boxes.


Gold Peak Tea

Coca Cola, which owns the Gold Peak tea brand, is in the process of downsizing their bottles from half a gallon (64 oz.) to just 59 ounces. Both bottles were on sale for $2.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Gold Peak Tea


Scott Shop Towels

These paper towels that are sold at hardware and auto supply stores have changed also. But look at the pictures. They both have 55 towels per roll (at an outrageous price of $3.99 each). So what’s going on here?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Scott shop towels

Scott lopped off one inch from each sheet, so instead of each one being 10.4 inches long, the new ones are only 9.4 inches. That’s a loss of about four-and-a-half feet of paper towels per roll.


If you find an item that has been downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of the old and new packages and email them to Edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org . Thanks.

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Can Crest Toothpaste Really Repair Your Gums?

In 2021, at least five lawsuits have been filed against Procter & Gamble claiming that Crest Gum & Enamel Repair toothpaste is being deceptively marketed. [Suit #1, suit #2 pre-amendment, and suit #3]

Crest Gum and Enamel Repair

The lawyers contend that this Crest toothpaste cannot “repair” gums.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Allegations from some of the cases…

…gums that have suffered structural damage cannot be repaired, restored, or re-grown through use of the Product. The only way to repair gums is through periodontal treatment, including cosmetic dental surgery such as gum grafting.

…receding gums do not grow back; once the gum tissue has pulled back and away from teeth, it’s gone for good.

…the Product’s active ingredient –Stannous Fluoride .454% (.14% W/V Fluoride Ion) – which is common to most toothpastes, provides no special gum “repair” benefits.

With respect to gum care, all a toothpaste can really do is control, reduce, or prevent gingivitis by helping to remove plaque. Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling where your gum meets the base of your teeth.

So the lawyers claim that purchasers have been misled, would not have bought the product, or would have paid less than the premium price that P&G charges had they known the true nature of this toothpaste to start with.

P&G presumably denies the charges but best we can tell, P&G has not formally filed answers to the complaints yet.

One of the lawyers predicts what one of P&G’s defenses might be and he makes a pre-emptive grammatical argument against it. He expects P&G to say that in the phrase “Gum and Enamel Repair” that the word “gum” does not modify the word “Repair.” In essence, he’s suggesting that P&G will likely claim this is a “gum toothpaste” and an “enamel repair toothpaste.” The consumer lawyer says the name of the product follows normal parallel structure and most consumers would understand it to mean the product is for “gum repair” and “enamel repair.”.

What do you think? Do these cases have any teeth?

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Goya: We Use Only #1 Grade Beans*?

Goya has run a few TV commercials that tout the quality of their chickpeas. Here’s one of them.

Goya claims it “uses only U.S. #1 grade beans*.” But that pesky asterisk suggests there’s more to the story.

MOUSE PRINT*:

Goya uses #1 beans

That almost impossible to read fine print disclaimer says:

“As defined by the USDA, when mother nature permits.”

What does that mean? The claim sounds aspirational — we’ll try to provide you with top quality beans except if the crop we harvest isn’t so great.

The USDA has very specific regulations for when a batch of beans can be labeled U.S. No. 1, 2, or 3. It all has to do with the number of defects and damaged beans in the batch, as well as the presence of foreign objects.

MOUSE PRINT*:

USDA chickpea grades

We asked the folks at Goya what their fine print exception meant, and how often they have a bad harvest. They did not respond.

Goya seems to be making a habit of bucking the system. They were challenged by a competitor over claims that their pasta was the favorite of Puerto Rico. Two arms of the BBB ruled again them.

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