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Here We Downsize Again – Summer 2021 (Part 2)

This week we continue our series on shrinkflation — the downsizing of grocery products — everything from toilet paper to shampoo to sardines. This is our biggest display of downsized items ever. (See last week’s part one.)

Bounty Paper Towels

Last winter, paper products manufacturers alerted shoppers that prices would go up this past June because of higher manufacturing and distribution costs. And while some prices might have increased directly, some may gone up indirectly through downsizing. Here triple rolls of Bounty paper towels lost 18 sheets per roll going from 165 sheets to just 147.


Bounty paper towels

Costco-Kirkland Toilet Paper

After downsizing its paper towels, Costco has now turned to its Kirkland brand of toilet paper. The new roll went from 425 sheets down to 380 sheets. The packages stayed the same price ($19.99 online/delivered), but you lost the equivalent of over three rolls in each package. The label does say the new rolls are “thicker than ever before.”


Kirkland toilet paper

Season Sardines

Thanks to a California reader named Dave, we have some fishy downsizing. He discovered cans of Season sardines at his local Walmart store going from 4.375 ounces down to 3.75 ounces. Aren’t sardines small enough already? We found both cans at Walmart.com selling for the same $3.


Season sardines

Tresemme Keratin Shampoo

We have a repeat offender next. The big black bottles of Tresemme shampoo downsized years ago from 32 ounces to just 28. And around 2018, the red bottles of Tresemme Keratin went from 25 ounces to 22 ounces. Now, eagle-eyed shopper C.S. spotted yet another reduction — this time, down to just 20 ounces.


Tresemme history

Ziploc Bags

It is really hard to keep track of the number of bags in each box of these products. Ziploc removed four bags from their boxes of 54.


Ziploc bags

Walmart Chicken Caesar Salad

Laura G. wrote to us complaining about her favorite Marketside Chicken Caesar salad from Walmart. It disappeared last month and then suddenly reappeared, but in a much smaller portion at a similar price. The package actually went from 14.375 ounces to just 12.1 ounces. She concluded, “not happy with the changes.”


Walmart Caesar Salad

Tostitos Hint of …

Frito-Lay is once again tinkering with the sizes of their bags of chips. This time, Tostitos Hint of Guacamole shrank by one ounce from 12 to 11 ounces, and Hint of Lime went from 13 ounces to just 11.


Tostitos hint of
Tostitos LIme

Quaker Instant Oatmeal

Quaker is in the process of removing twenty percent of the pouches in some of their instant oatmeal packages. Whereas you used get 10 servings in a box, now you only get eight. Looking at the boxes head-on, they are identical, but sideways, the old one is deeper. On the bright side, they made the font bigger for the number of packets in each box.


Quaker instant

Dial Body Wash

If your Dial body wash bottle seems to run out more quickly, it is not your imagination. Bottles recently lost almost 25% of the contents, going from 21 ounces to only 16.


Dial Body Wash

If you find a product that has been downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of both the old and the new package and submit them to Edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org . Thanks.

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15 thoughts on “Here We Downsize Again – Summer 2021 (Part 2)”

  1. I will defend Costco here in that, at least at my local club, there was a hanging notice about the size of the roll range put up over where the rolls out.

    I find it hard to keep up with all the downsizing. I’ve taken to just writing down what a good price is per ounce or sq ft for some core products to keep track of when things change. The high inflation certainly isn’t helping and paper products already have an impossibly thin margin.

  2. The Bounty paper towels are 147 sheets for a TRIPLE roll, which means an equivalent single roll would be just 49 sheets. But wait, it gets worse. These are Select-A-Size sheets, which are half the size of regular sheets. So, what we have here, is a single roll of regular sheets totaling just 24 or 25 sheets.

    • actually they are a bit bigger than half size. you cannot make do with one so you take 2 which add up to something near 11/4. so you get screwed and they think your stupid

  3. That is a whole lot of shrink from various parts of the grocery store…. You can only cut something like that Sardine can so much until you just can not do it anymore.

  4. What I’m wondering is does the shrinking have an affect on inflation (CPI) calculation. Theoretically, products could shrink and their prices remain the same, thus hiding the additional cost for the products.
    Do the powers that be who come up with the inflation figure take product downsizing into account? If they don’t, doesn’t it render the figures the government comes up with somewhat useless?

    • Parker,

      My guess is, for the obvious ones, they have to take it into account. Like ground beef or something which is measured by the ounce, but I suspect you’re on the right path for things harder to keep track of. If they measure something like the price of pack of buns for their theoretical July 4th cookout, I doubt they’re factoring in if that pack of buns got smaller/lighter. Same thing for bags of chips, pre-packaged coleslaw, or other less common comparable items.

      • One would think the CPI would be calculated based on unit pricing per pound which would not hide the price increase, but I could find nothing on the subject online.

  5. I still want to know why environmentalists don’t consider this an environmental issue. The products are often packaged in the same size box or bag, just with less product in each. Consumers are forced to buy more packages to keep up with their needs and companies have to expend more energy and resources to manufacture and deliver those packages. Consumers have to make more trips to the store to replenish the amounts they need. It may have a tiny effect on each purchase but add it all up for millions of people and millions of purchases and it has to have a negative effect on the environment.

    • completely agree. the smaller the contents the sooner i need more.

      more trips to store more greenhouse gasses.

      very much an environmental issue !,

  6. Costco
    Scott- Thanks for getting in touch. Our members have been asking for a thicker version of our Kirkland Signature™ tissue and we listened! Due to the added fiber in this product, we had to reduce the number of sheets per roll from 425 to 380 to maximize the roll diameter while ensuring the roll still fits in most household roll holders. The sheet size was also maintained at 4.5” x 4”. Hope this helps! -Gerry

    • Interesting. This is a response that is hard to truly confirm, but is an understandable response. Costco may still be hoping people use the same amount of the, now thicker, toilet paper still netting in higher sales.

      • Weighing all rolls in an old package and comparing with the weight of all rolls in the new package would be a good test.

  7. I disagree about the Quaker font change. The number is bigger, but the text telling you what that is looks smaller and harder to read.

  8. This practice is cowardly and I consider it a form of consumer fraud. The FDA / FTC should require a prominent red label with big block lettering indicating the change in size for 6 months.

    Check out Florida’s Natural juices. They’re almost 19% light of a 1/2 gallon. It’s becoming a joke. I’m most grateful for the Mouse Print site.. Thank you!

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