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March 5, 2018

A Different Kind of Downsizing

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:11 am

Christian M. wrote to us recently about a different kind of downsizing. It seems he purchased a canister of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes and noticed that it had been downsized.


Lysol wipes

Both canisters have 80 sheets, but the net weight dropped two full ounces from 19.7 oz. to 17.7 oz.

Did they make each sheet smaller? A consumer can’t tell because unlike a package of paper towels, the dimensions of each sheet aren’t disclosed on the label. Or, did they put less Lysol disinfectant in the package? Who can tell?

Our consumer took pictures of the old and new wipes.

lysol wipes side by side

The old sheet, on top, is made of solid material, while the new sheet, which is slightly larger, appears to have a waffle weave, with pockets that are almost see-through.

We wrote to the PR folks at RB (formerly known as Reckitt Benckiser) asking what was reduced — the amount of disinfectant, the weight of the wipes when dry, or both. Their spokesperson replied in part:

…the total weight of our Lysol Disinfecting Wipes product has been reduced due to recent innovation with the wipes themselves, while still providing the same cleaning power and unbeatable disinfection, killing 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.

In 2017, Lysol launched a new non-woven substrate, scientifically redesigned in cooperation with consumers, highlighting a ‘peaks and valleys’ pattern. The ratio of liquid and non-woven have been optimized to guarantee sufficient wetness for a precise cleaning and disinfection, while providing the benefit of “trapping and lifting messes”.

So, maybe it was a combination of less liquid and thinner sheets, but who knows.

As an aside, it does seem odd that this product category has net weight statements seemingly based on solid weight (wipes plus liquid combined). RB says the way they declare the contents is consistent with federal rules which do not require sheet size for this type of product.

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  1. Wow, a new innovation! Walmart did the very same thing with their ‘great value’ paper towels. They are thinner and I will no longer purchase.

    Comment by Rosemarie — March 5, 2018 @ 8:16 am
  2. It is interesting that federal rules do not require sheet size for these types of products. I don’t use wet wipes so I didn’t even know about it.

    That federal rule shouldn’t stop Lysol from providing consumers with more information on their packages.

    Comment by Wayne — March 5, 2018 @ 11:11 am
  3. Do they work as well as the older version? Maybe, just once, a manufacturer actually improved a product. Was there a price increase?

    Comment by bobl — March 5, 2018 @ 11:50 am
  4. I say this is nothing but a gamble guess time here. Yes the weight of the package is smaller , yes we have a new formulation, and yes we have a new shape and look for each wipe even if the amount has not changed at all.

    It is going to be up to consumer here to find out for themselves if the new version is much better.

    One thing is for sure… We do not know how much it costs to produce both products.

    Comment by Richard Ginn — March 5, 2018 @ 12:36 pm
  5. I can see where a waffle design can be more effective than a flat design and I can honestly agree with the company on this one. The fact is you still have the same count, each sheet is larger to cover more area and yes, the waffle design will also have an effect on the weight. Although I don’t use them, I wouldn’t have a problem purchasing them.

    Comment by Frankie — March 5, 2018 @ 1:03 pm
  6. every time there is an “improvement” to a product, rest assured it is to their profits and not to the product.

    Comment by dave — March 5, 2018 @ 6:59 pm
  7. Don’t say you’d have no problem with them until you’ve tried them. I have and don’t like the feel of the wipe anymore. It feels thinner and I think it dries out faster despite the increased size. Some people might not mind that but I do.

    Speaking of Great Value, I noticed the paper towels getting thinner. I have also noticed their plastic utensils getting flimsier to the point where the fork tines can very easily break off. I can’t use them anymore for fear of swallowing one!

    Comment by Renee — March 6, 2018 @ 12:21 am
  8. “…scientifically redesigned in cooperation with consumers…”

    Sounds fancy for ‘user groups’!

    Comment by Ken — March 6, 2018 @ 12:16 pm
  9. of course there was a price increase. younget less product for sa e price..thats a hidden price increase. remeber when siave shampoo was 16 oz, now 15 , how about 1/2 gallon (64oz) of ice cream now not only 48 oz but friendlys cost anout &6 for a quart and a half.

    a d if you remember Bryesr took,out the key ingrediant in their product so it can no,longer be called ice cream.

    A ONE OZ REDUCTION IN SIZE (say 15 oz instead of 16 oz ) SABES THE MANUFACTURER A BUNDLE. FOR EVERY 15 bottles they used to,fill they now get 1 extra bottle for same cost. plus savings in packaging, savings in shipping and they also increas cost a few cants and you get less and pay more.

    Jello pudding is a great example. used to be 6 4 oz containers in a package.. now 4 3.25 oz. so not,only did they cut out 1/3 of amount but further reduced the size by an additional 3/4 of an oz or 3 oz more per package. you now get 13 oz for what you used to,pay for 24 oz

    even if they do,not raise price you still pay more.

    sadly no one pays attention to,unit price and only see retail price. plus places like walmart give unit prices for same type of,producrs differently. per pound or,per oz so you cannot accuratley compare without a solid math background.

    Comment by rich w — March 18, 2018 @ 2:38 pm

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