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August 3, 2020

Here We Downsize Again – Summer 2020

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:12 am

Here is the latest roster of products that manufacturers have reduced in size in order to pass on a sneaky price increase.

 

Dawn

P&G has continually downsized Dawn Dishwashing Liquid through the years. The latest change: they knocked another ounce off their smallest bottle… it is now down to just seven ounces.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Dawn

 

Lay’s Potato Chips

One of the most downsized products over the years has been potato chips. The big bag gets smaller and smaller until the point where they reintroduce the large size again, but of course at a much higher price. This time around, maybe because parties are getting smaller on account of COVID-19, Lay’s is chipping away at the party size bag shrinking it from 15.25 ounces to 13 ounces.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Lay's Potato Chips

Thanks to our ace downsizing spotter, Richard G. for this submission.

 

Walmart Great Value Paper Towels

LeAnne W. came across a huge downsizing at Walmart recently. Their own brand of paper towels, Great Value, was downsized from 168 sheets on a roll to just 120. And the price remained the same at $14.97. Some value.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Great Value paper towels

 

Dollar Tree Flour Tortillas

MrConsumer’s go-to place for flour tortillas is Dollar Tree. They sell one-pound packages with a dozen tortillas for a buck. Last winter, the tortillas seemed smaller, but the package still said 16 ounces. Then they introduced 12 ounce packages but still with 12 inside. I am happy to report that the 12 ounce bags were short-lived. They are back up to full-size and a full pound.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Tortillas

 

Keebler Club Crackers

It looked like Keebler Club crackers had been downsized from 13.7 ounces to 12.5, thus eliminating a dozen crackers from each box.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Keebler Club Crackers

But thanks to reader Jim’s research, it turns out not to be the case. The “snack stack” box was the only “original” variety carried at MrConsumer’s local store. Visiting another store, the comparable “original” Club Cracker box was in stock, and in fact was still 13.7 ounces. The only thing eliminated from the product was the Keebler name and the Keebler elves. Perhaps even cartoon characters are not safe if a company downsizes its workforce.

Keebler now Kellogg's

If you find a product that has recently been downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of the old and new side-by-side and send it to us.




• • •

March 9, 2020

Here We Downsize Again – Winter 2020

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:59 am

We start the new decade with an old trick — inconspicuously reducing the package size of products as a sneaky way to raise prices. You pay the same price but get less for your money. Here are our latest discoveries. (If you find a product that has been downsized, please take a clear picture of both the old and new size packages and submit it here. )

 

Charmin

The folks at P&G are doing it again on supermarket shelves right now. Newly designed packages of Charmin toilet tissue are sitting next to the current version.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Charmin

The difference is that each “mega” roll now has 20 fewer sheets. And just a reminder… the Charmin of 50 years ago in the Mr. Whipple days had 600-650 single-ply sheets per roll. Thanks to our ace downsizing detective Richard Ginn for spotting this change.

 

Powerade

Another item right in the midst of being downsized now is Powerade. The Coca-Cola Company is reducing the size of its 32-ounce bottles of this sports drink to just 28 ounces. Thanks to consumer reporter John Matarese of WCPO-TV for this tip.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Powerade

 

Puffs

Paper products continue to be downsized regularly. The makers of Puffs tissues reduced the size of its cube-shaped boxes from 56 tissues to 48.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Puffs

Thanks to Liz B. for pointing out how this product changed.

 

Hershey’s Kisses

One of the nasty tricks that some product makers do sometimes when downsizing an item is to make the package size bigger than the old one, but now contain less. In this case, a number of Hershey’s chocolate products sold in large bags lost two ounces last fall. Here, even though it is still called “family size,” these bags of Hershey’s kisses went down from 18 ounces to 16. 1. And their 12-ounce “classic size” bags went from 12 ounces to just 10. But that size got renamed “share size.”

*MOUSE PRINT:

Hershey's Kisses

 

Angel Soft Toilet Tissue

Finally, the downsizing angels pulled a double-whammy on your fanny.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Angel Soft

Not only did they trim 30 sheets off of each roll of their toilet paper, Angel Soft made each sheet more narrow. The four-inch square tissues are now only 3.8-inches wide. Thanks to Richard Ginn for finding this change last fall.




• • •

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.

*MOUSE PRINT:


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, SparkleĀ® 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.

*MOUSE PRINT:

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.




• • •

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.




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