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April 10, 2017

Here We Downsize Again – 2017 (Part 1)

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:15 am

In the ever-shrinking world of groceries and toiletries, some big manufacturers continue to think that smaller is better (at least for their bottom line). Herewith, then, are some of the latest products to have been downsized.

Example 1:

Wayne L. was shocked recently when he checked out the display of Crest Pro-Health at his local store and found that P&G had again shrunk the size of their tubes.


Crest Pro-Health

Unbelievably, over the past couple of years, the tubes have gone from a full six ounces to 5.1 ounces last year, and now a measly 4.6 ounces. At this rate, they will be travel-size before you know it.

We asked P&G why the product was being downsized again.

Our first priority is to provide our trusted, quality products for you at good value. In these times where everyday costs are rising, the cost of the raw materials that go into our toothpaste has also risen. Although we have tried wherever possible to absorb and manage these, in some instances, we have had to reflect this in our cost-pricing to retailers. — P&G spokesperson

Example 2:

A Massachusetts consumer, Rosemarie L., was incensed that Coke 8-packs had become Coke 6-packs at her local supermarket and were selling for the same price as before. We contacted Coca-Cola to find out what was going on, and whether these Coke mini-cans had really been downsized but the price kept the same.



“We are in the process of phasing out mini cans in eight packs. We are shifting to six packs and 10 packs. … The suggested retail price of six packs is less than the suggested retail price of eight packs.” — Coca-Cola spokesperson

So, this may be a little more about Coke changing its product mix than downsizing in the conventional sense. While this consumer’s store chose to keep the price the same for both sizes, a check at Target revealed the 8-pack selling for $3.69 but the new 6-pack was only $2.99.

Example 3:

When the chips are down, that means the ever-changing cans of Pringles are probably down too (after being upsized a while back).



Mike K., who kindly submitted this picture to Mouse Print*, says he “noticed that the Pringles shelf looked like a topographical map with all of the different new and old cans.” Each can lost about half an ounce of chips, going from 5.96 to 5.5 ounces.

Example 4:

Finally this round, one of the original products to ever be downsized — coffee — is at it again. This time, it is Maxwell House’s turn, following a similar move by Folgers a couple of years ago.


Maxwell House

The old 28-ounce size is now 24.5 ounces. This amounts to a loss of 30 cups of coffee per can with the total going from 240 cups down to just 210 cups. It is noteworthy to mention that five years ago when Maxwell House last downsized, each can of a similar variety produced 270 cups of coffee from a can weighing over two pounds. (See picture.)

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  1. Some business academics refer to most of the above as being part of the “Walmart Effect”, where price per package is the #1 consumer consideration rather than price per unit. So, product marketers respond to it by shrinking packaging rather than raising prices when underlying costs increase.

    Comment by Marc — April 10, 2017 @ 7:25 am
  2. People can’t or won’t do the math. For example, the 6 pack of Coke is 50 cents per can,but the old 8 pack was 46 cents per can. See how you pay more?

    Comment by Peewee — April 10, 2017 @ 8:31 am
  3. Or…it’s a sneaky way to increase prices

    Comment by Peter — April 10, 2017 @ 8:37 am
  4. Does anyone know how long it took for the 3lbs coffee can a classic – to become 24.5 OZ

    Edgar replies: It went from 34.5 ounces to 30.6 in 2012.

    Comment by Michele Marsden — April 10, 2017 @ 9:16 am
  5. Companies think consumers are just plain ignorant. Don’t they have common sense enough to know that we know what they are doing. The most recent downsizing of Maxwell House & Folgers is evident to the naked eye.
    NOOOO! The economy is stable – What a joke! Of course there have been no price increases – The items just keep getting smaller & smaller, but we are still paying the same price!!!!! Shame on them!!!!

    Comment by Bea — April 10, 2017 @ 10:00 am
  6. Ah, yes, coffee used to come in one-pound and three-pound cans, and I would say I was going out to buy a pound of coffee, but now I always say, “I’m running down to the market to buy a 30.6 ounce plastic container of coffee.” Vegetables in cans would be one pound, cooking oil in quarts, etc., but now they lower the content and STILL raise the prices. As you can see from the toothpaste, nobody changes the size of the box it comes in so you hopefully won’t notice. It’s all a marketing game, folks, and in that respect, I miss the old days. Life was easier then!

    Comment by MerryMarjie — April 10, 2017 @ 1:11 pm
  7. i remember the first downsized item the I saw in Publix. It was Breyers Ice Cream. It went from a half gallon(64 oz)to 56 ounces. On the carton was written “the new space saver size”. I just love those marketing geniuses.

    Comment by dave f — April 10, 2017 @ 3:25 pm
  8. I am baffled why there are not more websites dedicated to the shrinking of things while prices are raised.

    Comment by Joe k — April 11, 2017 @ 1:49 am
  9. re: Coca-Cola

    In many stores, the vendors stock the soft drink aisle and set out the special displays. It’s possible that the vendor doesn’t change the shelf tags since that is a sore function. Even though the shelf tag said $3.99, maybe that was for the old 8 pack. Did the 6 pack ring up as $3.99 or $2.99 as Coca-Cola suggested it should? Had the 8 pack to 6 pack conversion just happened?

    Comment by blasher — April 14, 2017 @ 4:18 pm
  10. Unit price, people!

    Comment by Wayne — April 14, 2017 @ 10:47 pm
  11. Well blasher the 6 pack is supposed to be 2.99. 8 packs at a local grocery I go to was at 3.50 for the final quantities. 3.99 is the right price for 10.

    Comment by Richard — April 17, 2017 @ 11:07 am

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