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More Groceries Hit by “Skimpflation” – Part 2

We continue reporting on products this week that have been reformulated in some way, usually with less of the expensive components and often by substituting cheaper ingredients (“skimpflation”).

Scott 1000-Sheet Toilet Paper

Virtually every brand of toilet paper has been downsized over the years, but Scott still has 1000 sheets. Of course, they reduced the size of each sheet multiple times as we have reported, but the current size has remained the same since 2010. So besides raising the price, Kimberly-Clark has also tinkered with the paper itself. According to purchasers, it is getting thinner and rougher. (See recent shoppers’ reviews.)

The sheets are so thin they’re transparent. I don’t even think they are a full ply.

Won’t be buying again … Would rather use a leaf then this crap again. Couldn’t be more disappointed!!!

It’s thin like the cheap paper in public restrooms and you have to use twice as much. I will never buy again.

If you enjoy picking out little globs of paper from your body parts because it is so thin it disintegrates from getting wet with the slightest friction – this is the toilet paper for you!

To try to quantify the change, we compared the weight of a four-pack of Scott from around 2006 to today’s version, while accounting for the sheets size change. Though not perfect, this method demonstrates how much less paper fiber or pulp goes into today’s sheets. And the difference is dramatic.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Scott Weight Comparison

The current version has about 20-percent less paper by weight than the 2006 version. So if purchasers are perceiving it has gotten thinner, it is not their imagination. This a perfect example of a company reformulating the product to cut costs — the essence of skimpflation.

We don’t know if Kimberly-Clark made small changes over time or all at once. The company did not reply to multiple requests for comment.


Hungry Man Double Chicken Bowls

An eagle-eyed shopper named Random Keith found that this TV dinner had changed. Hungry Man Double Chicken Bowls fried chicken used to pack 39 grams of protein. Now it has 33 grams — 15% less protein — but it still comes in a 15-ounce box. This could suggest a reduction in the chicken or cheese content — the two most dominant proteins.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Hungry Man Double Chicken Bowl

But, a check of the ingredients statement and nutrition label offers a clue to their recipe sleight-of-hand. The new version is missing “textured soy protein concentrate” which was part of the breading. Does that solely account for the reduction in protein? We asked Conagra, the maker of Hungry Man, what had actually changed, but didn’t get an answer.


If you spot a product that has been reformulated with cheaper ingredients, please send a sharp before and after picture of the primary labels and the ingredients statements to Edgar (at symbol) ConsumerWorld.org . Thanks.

Please Help Support Consumer World

MrConsumer For 27 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, and independent investigations. It is your generosity (and not advertising alone nor corporate support) that keeps this site and Mouse Print* available as free consumer resources. So MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your support again this year. Your gift will be most appreciated.
Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Here We Downsize Again – Spring 2022, Part 2

We continue our series of products that have been downsized or as people say today, they have been subject to shrinkflation.

Note: Packages are displayed only to show numerical changes in net contents. Physical package dimensions may or may not be to scale depending on the graphic used.

Sparkle Paper Towels

Paper towels and toilet paper are two common culprits when it comes to downsizing. This time, Sparkle paper towels lopped off six sheets from every roll, going from 116 “pick-a-size” sheets to just 110. Georgia-Pacific customer service confirms that the towels are still two-ply despite the fact that that designation is missing from the front of the package. The company’s PR folks say they lowered the suggested retail price of the new packages, but we bought both packages below at the same time, at the same store, and got no extra discount on the smaller one.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sparkle paper towels


Cocoa Pebbles

After General Mills downsized their family size boxes of cereal last year, Post was not too far behind. We found these boxes side-by-side in a local supermarket in February. About a bowl of cereal was taken out of the new packages.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Cocoa Pebbles


Quaker Life Cereal

Pete B. noticed that Quaker Life cereal not only downsized their big boxes of cereal from 24.8 ounces to 22.3, but they also changed the size name from “Giant” to “Family.” In fact, the new box is almost three-quarters of an inch taller, but half an inch less deep. Thanks to Pete for finding this change.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Quaker Life measured


Charmin Super Mega Toilet Paper

Even Charmin’s Ultra Soft “super mega” rolls are getting smaller. In February, Richard G. tipped us off that P&G reduced the size of these rolls from 396 sheets to 366. Charmin Ultra Strong in the red package is still 396 sheets, but eventually it will shrink too. Keep in mind the original single-ply Charmin of the 1960s had 650 sheets on a roll.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Charmin Super Mega blue


Pedigree Dog Food

Pedigree resized some of their dry dog food products including this one. While both old and new packages claim you are getting a bonus in every bag, the net change is that you are getting six pounds less. And our tipster, Brendan B. says the price stayed the same.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Pedigree 50-44

At least Chewy.com alerted readers to the change.


Utz Pretzels

Snack foods like potato chips are constantly being downsized, so as not to feel left out, Utz is now taking two ounces of pretzels out of it big jars. They are now 26 ounces instead of 28. Thanks to Tim B. for this submission.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Utz pretzels


Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

P&G periodically downsizes Dawn. This time the bottle lost half an ounce. It is down to just 6.5 ounces for the smallest size. Both bottles scanned at $1.79 at CVS in May.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Dawn 7 - 6.5 oz


Aveeno Lotion

New bottles of Aveeno won’t soothe your wallet. There’s 10% less moisturizing lotion in every one.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aveeno


If you find an item that has downsized, please try to take a picture of the old and new one side-by-side with the net weight clearly shown. Just email submissions to edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org . Thanks!

Please Help Support Consumer World

MrConsumer For 27 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, and independent investigations. It is your generosity (and not advertising alone nor corporate support) that keeps this site and Mouse Print* available as free consumer resources. So MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your support again this year. Your gift will be most appreciated.
Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Here We Downsize Again – Spring 2022, Part 1

With inflation at a four-decade high, is it any wonder that some manufacturers are shrinking their products (shrinkflation) instead of, or perhaps in addition to raising the price? Since most shoppers don’t pay attention to the net weight or net count disclosure on packages, manufacturers can pass on a sneaky price increase without much notice by just making their products a little smaller. Here is part one of our latest round of products that have been downsized in 2022 or discovered this year.

Angel Soft Toilet Paper

Paper towels and toilet paper are two common culprits when it comes to downsizing. This time, Angel Soft dramatically downsized its mega rolls from 425 sheets to just 320 sheets. The company did, however, make the new sheets 20% thicker they say. Amazingly, despite losing over a quarter of the sheets, the new package is virtually the same size as the old. We bought the items below at the same store, at the same time, and paid the same price for both. Thanks to our ace shrinkflation sleuth, Richard G., for this submission.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Angel Soft 425-320


Miracle-Gro Plant Food

Visiting Home Depot recently, MrConsumer found a large display of Miracle-Gro Plant Food which has traditionally come in five-pound canisters. This year, if you are not careful, your $9.98 purchase price won’t go nearly as far if you pick up the wrong package.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Miracle Gro

There were five-pound canisters side-by-side with ones that were only four-and-one-quarter pounds — 12 ounces less. That may be a sure way to grow company margins at the expense of customers. The company did not respond to our questions about the size change. Thanks to Stephen M. for this lead.


Breton Crackers

Various varieties of Breton crackers recently lost an ounce or more per box. Here, for example, their multigrain variety went from 8.8 ounces to 7.3 ounces — a loss of an ounce-and-a-half. Interestingly, at the store where these were found, the new, smaller box was 19 cents more expensive.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Breton crackers


Kleenex Tissues

We can always count on paper goods to be subject to shrinkflation. This time it is Kleenex tissues — those little powder room boxes — five tissues disappeared from every box. That’s nearly a 10% reduction. Thanks to Greg D. for this submission.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Kleenex 65


Post Honey Bunches of Oats

Joining the parade of cereals being downsized is Post Honey Bunches of Oats, which now has 17% less. That is almost two bowls of cereal less as their 14.5-ounce boxes went down to only 12 ounces. The boxes look identical, but in fact the new one is narrower. Thanks to Leif S. for this submission.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Honey Bunches of Oats


Haribo Gummy Bears – CLARIFICATION

The makers of Haribo Goldbears have a 5-ounce “Share Size” bag and an identical looking bag also called “Share Size” but it only has 4 ounces in it.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Haribo Revised

We wrote to the company three times asking if the product had been downsized from five ounces to four. The one response we got from customer service said “Our products come in various sizes to satisfy the wide-range expectations of our beloved consumers.”

After our story was published, we heard from the company’s head of corporate communications who clearly advised us that the company manufactures both a four and a five-ounce size of Goldbears and that it had not been downsized. We want to make that point clear.

Our original post raised the possibility that both sizes co-exist and that retailers may choose which one to carry. And that turned out to be the case. So, shoppers just have to be careful to pick up the bag that offers the best value.


Arm & Hammer Detergent

This is a very odd one. The 75-ounce jugs of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent are now only 67.5 ounces — almost a full cup less. But the jugs and the caps are virtually identical in size. And both sizes were $5.99 at the same chain.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Arm & Hammer detergent

But… both promise to do “50 loads” of laundry. Usually this suggests the manufacturer has reformulated the product or tinkered with the dosing instructions or cap size. Inexplicably, the instructions on the old bottle said to fill the cap to line 1 for medium loads, while the new one says to fill it to line 5. There are nine different and virtually unreadable lines in the cap. Oddly, filling to line 5 provides less detergent than filling to line 3. The company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


Come back next week for part two. And if you find a product that has been downsized, please take a sharp picture of the old one and the new one side-by-side with the net weight showing. Send you submission to Edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org . Thanks.