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June 10, 2019

Did Those Clever Keebler Elves Try to Pull a Fast One?

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Humor,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:02 am

While shopping recently, MrConsumer spotted this bonus pack of Keebler Chip Deluxe cookies.

Keebler Chips Deluxe bonus pack

The package proclaims “Now 20% More Cookies FREE.” Great, who doesn’t like a free bonus? The package weighed 15.8 ounces.

A couple of rows over, however, MrConsumer saw some regular (non-bonus) packages of those same cookies.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Keebler Chips Deluxe regular

That package doesn’t claim to contain a bonus, and it also weighs the exact same 15.8 ounces. The “old” package just above appears to have been manufactured only FOUR DAYS before the bonus package based on their “sell by” dates being only four days apart (July 31, 2019 for the old one, and August 4, 2019 for the new bonus one).

So what did those clever little elves do? According to the label, both packages had 30 cookies? Is this the new math?

We asked Kellogg’s, the manufacturer of Keebler cookies, for an explanation. Unfortunately they sidestepped the issue, only saying:

We increased the weight (ounces) of each of our Keebler Chips Deluxe retail packages by 20% without an increase in price as a way to offer more value to our consumers. Each package now has up to six more cookies.

The availability of the new packages varies, as they flowed through over time. We started production of the new packages at the end of last year.

Because we have covered the downsizing of Keebler cookies in the past, we know the packages had gone down to the 11-12 ounce range about five years ago. The packages are clearly larger today.

The best we can tell, checking hundreds of Keebler Chips Deluxe pictures in Google image search, the most prevalent previous size was 12.6 ounces. The package contained about 24 cookies. The current 15.8 ounce packages contain about 30 cookies according to the label. Mathematically, that’s 25-percent more cookies, not 20-percent.

But that still does not explain how the 15.8 ounce bonus package above can be identical in weight and number of cookies (30) as the non-bonus package that immediately preceded it, being produced seemingly just four days earlier. We may never know.

But, wouldn’t it be nice if manufacturers who downsize their products called shoppers’ attention to it in as a bold a way as when they upsize them?

Keebler Fewer Chips package




• • •

May 6, 2019

Here We Downsize Again – May 2019

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:53 am

Prices on paper goods are going up again, but you’d never know it because the packages look about the same and you pay the same at the checkout. But you are getting less in each package.

 

Kleenex Tissues

The boxes are the same size but Kleenex is giving you 10% fewer tissues. Thanks to Leif S. for spotting this downsizing in progress right now.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Kleenex downsized

 

Brawny Paper Towels

Brawny has a long history of downsizing its paper towels. This time, packages are going from 87 sheets down to 80 sheets — almost a 10% reduction.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Brawny paper towels downsized

 

Downy Unstoppables

*MOUSE PRINT:

Downy Unstoppables NOT downsized

P&G recently came out with new bottles of Downy Unstoppables laundry fragrance enhancers. The bottle is slightly larger but the contents actually weigh 25% less. That’s a big downsizing… seemingly. Even more surprising, when tossing these pellets in water, they float, whereas the old ones sunk to the bottom. Checking with customer service revealed what had really changed. The product engineers at P&G removed some of the dead weight from each pellet making them lighter. That cut the net weight of each bottle by a quarter, but the number of laundry loads you get remained the same. So it only looked like Unstoppables had been downsized.

If you spot a new example of a product being downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of both the old and the new packages and send it to: edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org . Thanks.




• • •

December 24, 2018

Here We Downsize Again – Dec. 2018

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:14 am

NOTE: The next new Mouse Print* story will be published on January 7th.

We wrap up the year with another round of products that have been downsized.

 

Florida’s Natural

This has been the year of shrinking orange juice containers. First it was Tropicana and then Simply Orange followed suit. And now it’s Florida’s Natural that has gone from 59 ounces to just 52 ounces.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Florida's Natural

 

Cottonelle

Toilet paper is one of the categories subject to frequent downsizing. And a popular brand, Cottonelle has shrunk again. This time, it lost 40 sheets per roll. Thanks to our friend Richard G. for spotting this.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Cottonelle

 

Charmin

But let’s not leave out the king of toilet tissue – Charmin. Their “strong” mega rolls went from 308 sheets to just 286 sheets per roll. Mega is not so mega anymore. Thanks to Richard G. again.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Charmin downsized

 

Sweet ‘n Low

Now here’s a product you would never expect to be downsized – those little Sweet ‘n Low packets. Eagled-eyed Nancy S. caught this inconspicuous change with each packet going from 0.04 ounces to 0.035 — five-thousands of an ounce less. But the packet says it is still equivalent to about two teaspoons of sugar.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Sweet 'n Low

 

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

Next, we have Johnson’s Baby shampoo. Tom G. found that the old 15-ounce bottle is now just 13.6 ounces for the same price. It’s never too early to teach a child about downsizing.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Johnson's Baby shampoo

 

CVS Cashews

Finally, we have CVS cashews. A sharp-eyed shopper, Mario C., caught the fact that CVS lopped off three-quarters of an ounce from their own brand of whole cashews (like it is not bad enough that they charge over $15 for slightly more than a pound of nuts). The package redesign gave the drug chain an opportunity to change the net weight too.

*MOUSE PRINT:

CVS whole cashews

If you spot a product that has been recently downsized, please submit it to: edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org




• • •

September 17, 2018

Aldi Waters Down Its Margarine… Literally

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:56 am

Aldi is an international chain of limited assortment supermarkets known for very low prices on most items. They carry very few national brands. Rather, store brands dominate their shelves.

In recent months, MrConsumer noticed price increases on various items there like cookies, peanut butter, pretzels, and more. One particular item, their 45-ounce tub of margarine, has had two price increases in recent months. It had been $1.79 for years, but jumped to $1.99 several months ago, and shortly thereafter went up again to $2.29.

Aldi margarine old

Last week, there was another change to this product. The margarine now comes in a rectangular tub:

Aldi margarine new

A closer examination of the package, however, revealed an additional change that was very unwelcome.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aldi 51%

VS.

Aldi 40%

They cut the amount of oil in the product by over 20 percent. So what replaced the oil? Water! In fact, the primary ingredient in this margarine is now water, whereas previously it was oil.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Aldi margarine ingredients

We asked Aldi’s PR agency to explain why they literally watered down this product rather than raise the price, why they didn’t label the product as a new formulation, and whether they conducted any consumer taste tests to demonstrate that consumers preferred the new version. They declined to answer the questions.

Sadly, name brand tub “spreads” like Country Crock and Blue Bonnet are also only 39-40% oil these days. I don’t know about you, but MrConsumer just loves to spread emulsified water on his crisp English muffins.




• • •

August 13, 2018

Tropicana Orange Juice Downsizes Again

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:30 am

Back in the good old days, one could buy half a gallon of Tropicana orange juice in a container. Then in 2010, the company (and the industry) downsized the traditional 64 ounce container to 59 ounces.

Tropicana 64-59
Tropicana 64-59 net contents

Then they introduced attractive carafes of orange juice in a shape not easily distinguishable as a particular size, but they were still 59 ounces.

Now in the summer of 2018, Tropicana, following the lead of Simply Orange, is in the process of downsizing again. This time to a mere 52 ounces.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tropicana 59-52 ounces

The bottles look identical on store shelves. Same width, same height. So how did they reduce the contents by a full seven ounces so inconspicuously?

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tropicana bottles profile

The bottles aren’t as deep as they were… that’s how they accomplished this clever sleight-of-hand.

On the Tropicana website, they explain why they downsized the product:

Tropicana downsize explained

We consider this one of the sneakiest downsizes ever because of both the tiny net contents statement which is often hidden by the shelf rack edge in some supermarkets, and the appearance of the bottles which look identical head-on. What do you think? Add your comments below.

Thanks to eagle-eyed reader, Edward E., for catching the change.




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