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October 21, 2019

Holy Sheets: Sparkle Paper Towels Get Upsized

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:07 am

In a world where grocery manufacturers are constantly downsizing their products, Georgia Pacific has been advertising that their Sparkle paper towel rolls are now larger:

Sparkle ad

They say they added 200 sheets per six-roll pack.


Sparkle old 90 sheets


Sparkle 126 sheets

In this case, they went from 90 sheets on a roll to 126. That is 36 sheets more per roll, and 216 sheets more per package. But that is not the whole story. You will notice that Georgia Pacific lopped of one-half an inch from the length of each sheet. A spokesperson for the company explained why they did this:

“We reduced our sheet size to a level consistent with the sheet size of the other national brands in the category. In fact, Sparkle® was the last brand on the shelf with the traditionally larger sheet size. Our research indicated that the half inch was not valued as much as getting more sheets per roll, despite the slightly smaller size. We put that half inch per sheet back into the product in the form of more sheets per roll.”

Despite the shortening of each sheet by one-half inch, the total number of square feet per package went from 268.1 to 346.5 square feet.

But, you need to look carefully in your favorite store when the new packages come in because they are not all as pictured above with 126 sheets per roll. Some only have 116.


Sparkle new 116

The company said that some stores choose to carry the slightly smaller rolls. We’re guessing grocers make more money on this six pack than the one with slightly larger rolls.

When companies continually downsize their products, eventually some of them reintroduce the original larger versions, but at a much steeper price than they were originally. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Sparkle, however, because their spokesperson said the suggested retail price of the new larger packages is still the same as the old ones. Hard to believe, but that proved to be the case in MrConsumer’s local supermarket, where both the old and the new ones were $7.79 when not on sale. Most paper companies announced price increases this past winter and perhaps that increase went into effect prior to the current upsizing.

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  1. One thing no one mentions is (at least for me) the the new widths cause the rolls to fall out of our dispenser when tearing off a sheet. Also have you figured out how much less over all paper this saves the manufacture?

    Comment by Dan Livingston — October 21, 2019 @ 8:03 am
  2. Paper towels like toilet paper does the elusive “regular rolls” exist and if so where as none of my stores carry them.

    Comment by Scott — October 21, 2019 @ 9:05 am
  3. Well Dan Livingston the length of the roll stays the same, but you get those extra precious more sheets per roll you want with those smaller sheets.

    Comment by richard Ginn — October 21, 2019 @ 10:37 am
  4. I think Dan may be confused by the dimensions as I was until I figured it out. The width of the whole roll is different than the width of a single sheet. Both widths of the old and new roll are 11 inches which should stay on the dispenser. The reduction was made on the width of each individual sheet that went from 6.5 inches to 6 inches.

    Comment by Frankie — October 21, 2019 @ 10:38 am
  5. Does anyone remember when a “sheet” was square, being as long as it was wide? Manufacturers increased the sheet count even as they reduced the actual amount of paper on each roll by cutting each sheet in half.

    Comment by Robin — October 21, 2019 @ 10:48 am
  6. Yes, Robin, I remember those. They still make them, too. Me, I prefer the Select-A-Size (shorter) ones. Most of the time, I don’t need the big sheet. I consider the choice of smaller sheets vs. traditional sheets a plus.

    Comment by Randall Flagg — October 21, 2019 @ 11:17 am
  7. re: Randall Flagg
    The smaller sheet size of Sparkle was one of the reasons I have purchased these paper towels. Most cleanups don’t require the larger sheet, and if you near the bigger piece, maybe to cover something in the microwave, just tear the size you need.

    Comment by bobl — October 21, 2019 @ 12:50 pm
  8. Companies have downsized so much that their most innovative option is to upsize again and promote it as something new.

    I’m not complaining too much, but I still recognize the sad state of consumerism.

    Comment by Wayne R — October 22, 2019 @ 12:15 am
  9. Robin and Randall (flagg haha.) I prefer the Select-a-size myself. I never used all of the old full sized sheet.
    When they started to do this with toilet paper, I did a big eye-roll and let it go. I can’t get excited about this stuff anymore. If the manufacturers think the average consumer is this stupid, good luck to them. I just buy what I need, can’t be bothered getting upset.

    Comment by cheryl — October 22, 2019 @ 5:01 am
  10. so how long before select a size goes 5.5 Inches wide…

    Comment by richard Ginn — October 22, 2019 @ 11:43 am
  11. I always hated the “select-a-size” paper towels. I was always tearing off either not enough or too much. I prefer full-size sheets even of they are a bit smaller then before.

    I have long watched rolls of TP get ever narrower. My current rolls are a full two inches narrower than the old ones used to be. I can tell this from living in an older home that has what used to be standard size TP holders. Now the rolls just meander from side to side. I fully expect for manufacturers soon to roll out an “innovative new product- fanny floss”.

    Comment by Robin G. — October 22, 2019 @ 4:18 pm
  12. The best way to compare products is to weigh them.Go to the produce dept to weigh.There is no way for the manufacturer to hide what you’re getting if you weigh it.

    Comment by jrj90620 — October 28, 2019 @ 11:16 am
  13. I finalize my paper towel use to Walgreen’s Smile brand. They have select-a-size(11×5.5), 96 sheets per roll and 8 rolls to a package. I buy them on their monthly SENIOR DAY where regular priced stuff is 20% off. Soooooo, the 8 rolls cost me $3.20+ tax=$3.50. I compare this with most brands at my grocery and it seems to me the best for the money.

    Comment by Gerry Pong — November 4, 2019 @ 11:54 am

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