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Ice Cream Scoop: Major Brands Downsize Again

A few years ago, the major ice cream makers downsized their half gallon containers to 56 ounces. It took a while for many consumers to catch on to the change, and once they did, shoppers were not happy.

Now we are right in the middle of another downsizing by the ice cream industry. Check your grocer’s freezer case, and you are likely to find both the current 56 ounce container of ice cream along side the new size.

*MOUSE PRINT: Some manufacturers like Breyer’s are introducing containers that are 48 ounces, down a full eight ounces, and the price has remained the same.

Breyers

You will notice the change in package is very subtle. The new one is tapered more along the sides, but is the same height. When asked why the company downsized their product again, Breyer’s said:

“Breyers has always taken great pride in offering the highest quality products at reasonable and fair prices. Recently, the price of all of our ingredients, most of all the fresh cream we use in our products, has gone up dramatically. Manufacturing and transportation costs also have increased significantly with the surge in fuel oil prices. Because of these economic conditions and in order to remain competitive, Breyers® made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our basic pack to 48 ounces.”

Edy’s ice cream is also in the middle of downsizing their products as well.

*MOUSE PRINT: The original half gallon became 56 ounces, and now it is down again to 48 ounces — a full two cups less than the original size.

Edy's

The new container is shorter, but that is only obvious when you see them side by side. Only during the time of transition are you likely to see both in the freezer case together.

Like Breyer’s, Edy’s said they continue to experience increases in costs for energy, dairy, etc., and wanted to continue to offer their product at a “familiar price”. When I asked why they don’t call attention to the fact that the package now contains a cup less of ice cream, the company representative said the quantity is clearly marked on the product and there was no intent to deceive.

Both manufacturers kept the price the same, it appears, and the UPCs on the products did not change either.

As we have said many times, downsizing is sneaky way to pass on a price increase because the change is often not obvious, but you are getting less for your money.

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60 thoughts on “Ice Cream Scoop: Major Brands Downsize Again”

  1. My wife noticed the Edy’s change right away. She called me from the store: “They’re like half the size they used to be!” So we didn’t buy any. A few days later she went back to look for some other brand of ice cream…and lo and behold, the Edy’s was on sale at a price that made it comparable to the sale price of the old size. Apparently shoppers are smarter about these back-door price increases than the companies think.

    Personally, I e-mailed Edy’s to ask why they didn’t do the honest thing: Keep the size the same, and raise the price. Others should do the same. Though of course the feedback they’ll pay the most attention to is their sales numbers.

  2. Hmm, where did you get the idea for this one? Read my posts a few weeks back when you had the Country Crock reduction in size……I posted that ice cream and spaghetti sauce were examples of the same thing happening for years. What a novel idea! When can I expect the check to come?

    Edgar replies: Tom, trouble is you only mentioned the ice cream change that took place four to five years ago… not the new one that is happening today. Had you mentioned the latest change, of course, you would have been given credit.

  3. Thank goodness this will give me an excuse to stop buying ice cream. Don’t need any more weight gain.

  4. goes to show that soon it will be cheaper for me to bust out my old ice cream maker and start making my own! I noticed the ice cream change last week from 1.75 to 1.5q as well, and just picked one that was still 1.75q. Still, I am NOT happy about it.

  5. In addition to the size change Edy’s/Dreyer’s has also changed the ingredients/recipe for many of their flavors. Have you noticed their “Fun Flavors” are no longer called ice cream but are instead “frozen dairy dessert”.

  6. This is nothing new. Look at candy bars. The packaging is the same size but the candy bar is about a quarter % smaller and it costs more. Go into a movie theater and buy a soda. That will cost you an arm and a leg for a mouth full. This has been going on for over a decade. Isn’t wonderful how American companies love to put the screws to their own citizens.

  7. I’m stockpiling my deep freeze with ice cream before the price goes up again. If they are going to give me less, I wish they would make the container smaller. That way I can cram more ice cream into the deep freeze.

  8. Shawn
    Don’t stock up to heavily on the ice cream. It has a relatively short freezer life, only a few months. It doesn’t affect the safety, but it sure affects the taste.

  9. J. Losi, be careful beacuse in a few weeks that will be the Mouseprint feature.
    Doesn’t matter that you said it’s been going on for years, you didn’t cite a particular
    brand and date.

  10. Friendly’s has ALSO gone to 1.5 quarts. I wonder if I can pay them $2.25 out of the $3.00 “sale” price.

    The remarkable simultaneousness of these moves smells like collusion. I wonder if the state attorney general would be interested?

  11. I noticed the reduction in the amount of ice cream, and was not very happy to see Breyers had done this. I won’t be buying any ice cream for a long time. I don’t need it anyway.

  12. I HATE these companies…there are thousands of products they have screwed
    the public with …Tunafish,Coffee, Pasta,every conceivable product etc etc etc EVERYTHING and it is VERY decptive…they REALLY think we don’t know…WE DO!!!!!!! I was in staples the other day and I could NOT believe that they did it with SCOTCH TAPE!!!! It used to be 1296
    Inches in a role…and I noticed the New packages (same role were 1000 Inches
    296 inches Shorter!! can you imagine?? 296 inches off of every role???
    They should be imprisoned..it incenses me….I hate the Fascist Pigs…
    If we BOYCOTT these motherf—kers..,.they will get the message!!!!

  13. That’s the last thing we need with everything going up on prices. I know ice cream isn’t all that healthy, but they could have kept the same size like someone else said. What next reduction of 1 gallon milk? Less cheese slices per pack?

  14. Well fortunately no one is holding a gun to our heads to have to buy these products. I was an M&M freak for years when you can buy the “pounder”. Since they downsized it, I stopped purchasing M&M’s and haven’t since then. Same with the ice cream. If it’s not essential to my diet and health, I don’t need it.

    I just hope they don’t decide to do away with the “one pound” box of pasta or else you’re going to see an Italian uprising in this country – including me. A few companies are already doing it, but on a small scale.

  15. Tom, get over yourself. Seriously. You said “have you noticed that 1/2 gallons of ice cream are 56 oz now?” You said nothing about the new 48 oz. sizes.

  16. Several stores’ private label, less-than-premium ice creams are still 1/2 gallon and taste almost as good as the deluxe stuff. And they go on sale from time to time.

    I have noticed another type of shrinkage: A popular spaghetti sauce has a “Chunky Mushroom” variety, normally the only type we buy. The jars used to be full of mushrooms, now it seeems like there are far less.

    My father-in-law used to chuckle at my supply of glass jars of name brand spaghetti sauce. We ordinarily use a jar a week (give or take) and I used to buy it on sale at $1 per 26 oz jar. The stuff has expiry dates out to 2010. It hasn’t been on sale for a long time and you may never see it at $1 again.

  17. It costs more in the way of packaging when our food comes in smaller and smaller quantities. I understand that their costs are rising but part of what they pass on to us is the cost of re-tooling! It is really shameful.

  18. Blue Bell ice cream is still a true half gallon. And it taste better than all the others anyway!

  19. I’ve been getting the Private Selection brand from Kroger(Fred Meyers, Jay-C, Payless, etc) and it hasn’t been hit by the downsize yet. 1/2 gallon packages were downsized some time back, but to 60 oz instead of the 56 that everyone else seemed to adopt. Downsizing will happen there again sometime soon I’m sure, but I hope it’s not hit as hard once again.

    @Brain W. I’m sure the companies would say that the size decrease has happend at the same time milk prices raised for all buyers, including those who make Ice Cream.

  20. I’d much rather see them increase the cost and keep the package the same size. I hate finding out when I make a recipie that the end result seems off because the size of the product has changed. And who checks the ounce size every single time they shop for a regular product? Seriously, most people don’t do that.

    Keep the regular size, raise the price. Consumers know and expect that over time, prices will increase.

    Imagine if cars did that. We’d have cars that stayed $10,000 but they’d be the size of a matchbox. It’s silly.

  21. I just heard on World News Tonight with Brian Williams that Krogers has introduced the 3/4 gallon plastic milk jug to combat the high price people pay for a gallon of milk. I would assume the price is in between a gallon and 1/2 gallon.

    This is the kind of down sizing I don’t mind. Considering that in my case a half gallon is usually not enough and I always have left over in a gallon, this is a great compromise!

    No deception here!

  22. It’s interesting to note that if this trend continues, in another few decades ice cream will come in thimble-sized containers.

  23. Years ago when the price of potato chips skyrocketed (actually, the bags shrank AND the prices went up), I decided it was far cheaper to make them myself at home, which I did for a while…enough to satisfy my cravings. Eventually my salary caught up to the price increase (it took several years of no pay raises!) and then I came to realize that I don’t really need potato chips. When they go on sale for a decent price, I’ll get some, but I just don’t buy them the same way anymore.

    At some point, you look at the products being offered and find it’s either cheaper to make it yourself or you simply don’t need the product. Then the companies go crying to the government to bail them out of their crisis of nobody buying their products and we end up paying for it in our income taxes.

    We really need to review our entire consumer market since “bad” products are supposed to go away but that’s not always the case.

    As for ice cream, it really bugs me that most of them put horrible preservatives in there instead of quality products so they can save money. Those ingredients have unknown effects on our bodies and I suspect they cause all sorts of health problems, which only helps the drug industry rip us off even more. Wish I had some funding to do a study on this theory.

  24. @ Andrew: Most pastas are no sold anymore in 1 pound packages. In fact, even within brands, packages vary considerably in size. I assume the manufacturers will claim it’s because different pastas cost different amounts to make, but I will assume it’s just the more popular ones where they took a bit out.

    Quite frankly, all this talk about risen cost of base products is mostly bogus anyway, as it is but a very little factor of the total price.

  25. Not only has Breyers downsized again, they have changed their formulation. I would swear they have…Their ice cream is now more like frozen whipped cream. As it melts, there is almost nothing left. It may say 1.5 or even 1.75 quarts, but there is a lot more air in the product of late. I used to like Breyers Natural Vanilla…It was just like we used to make at home as a kid. Now it is just like eating frozen whipped cream…My wife saw it on sale the other day at $2.48 for a container. She didn’t even buy it because it has become so undesireable.

  26. HEB’s Creamy Creation ice cream is still 1/2 gal, is still ice cream, comes in many flavors and is very yummy.

  27. i always recommend making food at home when possible. this includes ice cream, pasta sauce, and most foods in general including potato chips.

  28. “The original half gallon became 56 ounces, and now it is down again to 48 ounces — a full two cups less than the original size.”

    The difference is eight ounces, which is one cup. Not that that makes it any eaasier to take…

    Edgar replies: Miss C… you missed the comparison I was making. The original half gallon (64 oz.) first went to 56 oz and now to 48 oz. That is a full TWO cups less than the original.

  29. the small edy’s pictured above at 1.5 quarts costs about $3 on sale at my supermarket. it’s retail price is $6. i am in new york. usually, i alternate shop rite and stop n shop. edy’s is ALWAYS on sale. sometimes it is as cheap as $2.50 per container. a bit costly for content but i love some of their flavors. it is good quality.

  30. If you have old recipes, you will notice that can sizes and other packaged food
    sizes are NOT what they used to be! Welcome to the future.

  31. So, ok, my wife has been doing our grocery shopping for a few years, but still. She sent me to the grocery store the other night to get a half-gallon of ice cream (yes, a half-gallon). When I got to the dessert aisle, I opened the freezer door and stood there dumbfounded for several minutes, desperately searching for a 1/2 gallon. Any 1/2 gallon. I saw 1.75 quarts, 1.50 quarts…all for more $$ than I was used to spending, but no 1/2 gallons. Could 1.75 quarts be equal to a half-gallon? I couldn’t say…as I didn’t have my metric conversion calculator handy. So, I called my wife on my cell and asked her if perhaps I was still in bed, dreaming of this alternate reality. No, she said, that’s what you get for your hard-earned dollars these days. Well, after shaking off my stupor, and setting my mind to the task, I did finally find a true 1/2 gallon, and lo and behold, it was on sale, too. What a find. I should have stocked up. As you can tell, I’m still in a tizzy over the whole thing.

  32. Yes I’ve noticed that alot of things have been downsized. Wendys doublestacks are now the size of a Krystal hamburger. Mrs Winners chicken biscuit is an actual shame now. I will never buy from these companies again.
    Really loved Breyers but not since this sneaky re-tooling. What idiots…..make that thieves!

    The question I want answered is all of these companies did it at the same time. What is that about?
    Kinda spooky that so many companies downsized their product at the same time.

  33. Some relief:

    Trader Joe’s still sells 1-pound packages of whole wheat, whole grain and traditional white pasta. They say they have no plans to shrink their pasta. Compare that with the formerly 14.5 ounce package of whole wheat pasta that’s being replaced by 12-ouncers, for the same price or even more.

  34. yea i noticed the Dreyers(Edys is called breyers in cali at least) shrink right away, they’ve reached the point where the height shrink is very noticeable, they are like midget containers now. no side by side comparison needed, something just doesn’t feel right when you see them. they can’t hide everything, the pint sizes are still the same so that gives you some scale to work with, and getting closer in size to the pints just rings the alarm bells esp when they are getting so close to the larger sized premium brand stuff. mind you this isn’t the first shrink, it used to be half gallon 2 qt after all. i think they should have simply raised prices. feels less shady than this constant shrinking.

  35. The real trick here is to just do the math.

    Trader Joe’s has half-gallons of Double Rainbow vanilla ice cream for $5.99. That may sound high, BUT there are 16 1/2c (105g) servings, for a total of 1680 grams of ice cream.

    Local supermarkets tend to ask for $5+ for a 1.5qt container of Breyers or Edy’s, with a common sale price around $3. This $3 gets you 12 1/2c (65g) servings. Note the huge weight difference due to the amount of air you are paying for; this means you have a total of 780g of ice cream.

    This means that, at $3/1.5qt, you are paying more per gram of ice cream than you would for the good stuff; in fact, to get Breyers/Edys for the same price as Double Rainbow, you would have to get it for $2.78 or less. (and it’s vastly inferior due to all of the air, too much sugar, not enough cream, etc)

  36. @SK

    Although cost per oz is very important, you are not comparing the same products, which is evident when you check the ingredients. Your comparison is similar to comparing margarine to butter and saying that margarine is a better value. It IS, but you are buying two products that are not equal.

    Potato chips are all pretty much the same, but ice creams can be radically different in quality of ingredients. If the first 2 ingredients are not milk/cream and sugar, then the whole product is suspect.

    That said, maybe you don’t care about what you put into your body, in which case you’re right–buy the better “value” ice cream. I avoid a lot of generic-brand ice creams because of the ingredients.

    First I make sure that two products are equivalent before I start comparing the prices.

  37. OMG, I’m so disappointed! I wonder what else has decreased in size because of oil prices going up. Cost of living is getting really expensive. This is ridiculous!

  38. When you see NEW AND IMPROVED. or CONSENTRATED… read the fine print. It’s probably NEW because it’s got less and IMPROVED beause it’s going to improve the bottom line of the mfg and if it’s CONCENTRATED, it’s already shrunk, in a smaller package, at a higher proce plus they’ve put a bigger cap on it so you’ll still fill it up to the top instead of the TINY LINE INSIDE THE CAP which is the level you SHOULD BE USING. Believe me, it’s NEVER for the benefit of the consumer.

  39. Next step will be turning everything metric .Liter .Meter,etc,
    I am sure it will start with Gasoline, to make you feel good, Gas will go down to $ 1.20 per liter WOW!! just a Dollar twenty, so 20-25 Dollars won’t look so bad. But in Europe they are paying also 1.30 but Euros. So we will feel almost as good as them.
    I wonder if you can offer and pay .75 cents every time they tell you something cost one dollar.

  40. I discovered the downsize and the same old price a few weeks ago. I wrote to the company to express my displeasure and they sent me an explanation? and a coupon for a free 1.5 box of ice cream.
    Better than nothing.

  41. The government should stop all downsizing.
    stop trying to hoodwink the consumer by playing the shell game if they have to increase prices so be it, then let the consumer decide if they want to pay that much for the product, as it is now the poor consumer doesn`t stand a chance. lets all start a write in, to our elected officials because they don`t have a clue,, they don`t have to worry like we do.

  42. I noticed that too. Also, Big Macs have really shrunk. AND, I wrote to Breyer’s about the ice cream and they haven’t responded to me. Btw, Blue Bell advertises that they are STILL 1/2 a gallon.

  43. My take on all this is that we’ve been spoiled with a very distorted notion of “value” buying in this country for a long time anyhow. Buying huge quantities at cheap prices, yadda yadda yadda. Where it’s left us is a mass-purchasing fixated economy suffering an epidemic of obesity and diabetes, eating multiple huge meals a day and supplementing that horrible diet with liters of soda, candy bars, energy drinks, etc.. Our caloric intakes are far, far higher than what they should be for most of us, and it’s showing in our waistlines and our doctor’s offices.

    If we all ate a diet more relevant to what our bodies needed, and bought things like ice cream and soda as an occasional quality treat to be savored (like a monthly pint of Ben & Jerry’s eaten over the course of a weekend), these price changes wouldn’t be as much of an issue.

  44. I am just so angry about Edy’s ice cream and other products that are sneaking and downsizing. I don’t buy junk food normally, but this is my guilty pleasure once in a while. It is the principle that upsets me more than anything. I would feel less offended if they would leave them the same size and raise the price. I am more opt to believe that they had to raise prices because of rising food and transportation costs. But to get less for the same price or a higher price really is upseting. I don’t by Edy’s anymore unless it is on sale. At my local market it costs $5.99! But it sometimes goes on sale at 3 for $11 and then I will buy because 1 container is $3.67!

  45. Not only is Edys downsizing their product packages they are also downsizing the product itself. Note how few packages on the shelf show thw words ICE CREAM . Most of their product is frozen dessert which cant be labelled ice cream. Yet people buying Edys think they are buying quality ice cream.

  46. People, People, People:

    Is it too hard to understand that the rising cost of oil is the main cause of
    all this price changes?. I truly believe that the best way to do this is by down-
    sizing. Don’t blame the manufacturers, blame the republicans. Exxon 2nd qtr
    profits were almost $12 billion, if we drive less it is certain that these fools
    will feel the impact. Lets take the bull by the horns.

  47. Haven’t been to this site for a long time, but when I noticed this change, I called Edy’s and asked “What happened?”. Got the usual “costs have gone up” spiel, so I said: “Why not just raise prices?”. Rep said they did this size reduction instead. Like this isn’t a price jump? DUH! It now means I have to buy 7 boxes to get what 6 had before. I said “How is this not a price increase, via cost of new 7th box?”. Rep then admitted it was an increase. Well, I’d rather have a higher price and keep the same size.

    Back when they went down to 1.75qts, I remember that one brand DID “advertise” the size reduction: It said “New! Space Saver package” as I recall. Well, yea…it does save space, but not in a good way!

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