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Here We Shrink Again – Early Fall 2023

Some big brands are continuing to downsize their products despite some easing of the inflation rate… so shrinkflation continues.

Betty Crocker Cake Mixes

Remember when Betty Crocker cake mixes always used to be 18.25 ounces years ago?

Betty Crocker 18.25 oz.

Some time ago, the mix was downsized to 15.25 oz. and recently shrunk again to just 13.25 oz. — a full five ounces less than the original. The boxes are identical in size. You still add the same ingredients. You still use the same size pans. But, you now get nine servings instead of 10.


Betty Crocker Yellow cake boxes

Thanks to Richard G. for spotting the latest change.

Arm & Hammer Plus Oxi Clean

We all know (or should know) that the number of washes you get from a bottle of liquid detergent is a load of **** because it is usually based on a small or medium-size load. And the lines inside the cap are so hard to see, it really comes down to guess work if you are trying to use the right amount of detergent.

Now we have Arm & Hammer doing something a little unusual — shrinking their product but at the same time increasing the number of theoretic loads you are supposed to get in each bottle. We don’t know if they actually concentrated the product, so you can use less, or they just tinkered with the positioning of the fill lines.


Arm & Hammer

Here you have an older bottle that was 122.5 oz., then it went down to 118.1 oz., and just recently it shrunk again to 100 oz. … but look how the number of loads increased. Thanks to Andrea for catching the latest change.

Farm Rich Mozzarella Bites

Frank C. told us about a significant reduction in the size of the package for Farm Rich Mozzarella Bites, going from close to 20 ounces to just 15. But he said the bites were now bigger but with fewer calories per serving. What’s going on here? A closer look at front panel reveals they changed the serving size from four bites to just two now.


Farm rich Mozzarella bites

Quilted Northern Toilet Tissue

In the never-ending reduction of the number of sheets of toilet paper on each roll, the Quilted Northern Ultra Plush variety has gone from 284 sheets down to 255. And their soft and strong version went from 328 to 295 sheets per roll. (Thanks to Barry K. for that tip.)


Quilted Northern plush

Quilted Northern strong

Hill’s Science Diet Dog Food

Even dog food is not immune from downsizing. Here one pet food retailer even tells customers about the “new look” and “improved recipe” of Hill’s Science Diet “Perfect Weight” dog food. They forget to mention in the graphic that the new one is two-and-a-half pounds lighter than the old one. (Bags are not to scale.)

Hills Science Diet

If you spot a product that has recently downsized, please send clear before and after pictures to Edgar (at symbol) MousePrint.org . Thanks!

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French Supermarket to Place Warning Labels on Shrinking Products

In a first of its kind move, Carrefour, the second largest retail chain in France, just announced that starting today (September 11) it is going to warn shoppers about products that have been downsized.

How are they going to do it? They are planning to place five-inch by five-inch warning labels on products that they believe have been subject to shrinkflation (where the product has gotten smaller without there being changes to it and the customer is paying more).


Carrefour shrinkflation warning

That roughly translates to: This product has seen its weight decrease and the price from our supplier increase.

Carrefour is initially targeting a Nestle-made coffee capsule called Dolce Gusto Grande Intenso, which has risen in price by 8% while shrinking in volume, Lay’s potato chips, Lipton ice tea, and Amora mayonnaise.

The company hopes this tactic will help them negotiate lower prices for shoppers.

In another pro-consumer move, the French parliament is set to debate a proposed law soon that would require manufacturers to clearly label products that been reduced in size but the packaging has remained the same.

We salute Carrefour for being the first retail chain to stand up to product manufacturers who try to pass on these sneaky price increases to consumers. Will any US supermarket chain have the guts to do the same thing?

Next week: We’ll have a new round of products where shrinkflation has taken its toll.

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Conagra Skimps Again: Wish-Bone Salad Dressing Watered Down

Shrinkflation’s evil cousin is “skimpflation” – where a manufacturer quietly reformulates a product with cheaper ingredients. And that is what Conagra just did to Wish-Bone House Italian salad dressing. They literally watered it down.


Wish-Bone House Italian

They reduced the oil content (and calories) by over 22-percent, and it appears they replaced it with water and over 30-percent more salt. (Water was already the primary ingredient in the dressing before this change.) Oddly, the amount of garlic was also reduced.

If this scenario sounds familiar, that is because last fall we spotlighted Smart Balance margarine when Conagra inconspicuously reduced its oil content by almost 40% and replaced it with water. That move made the front page of the New York Times, and drew outrage from regular users who posted over two thousand one-star reviews on its website. The backlash forced the company to reintroduce the original recipe earlier this year.

We asked Conagra about the watering down of their salad dressing including why they did it (we can guess to save money), why there was no flag on the label alerting shoppers, and whether they taste-tested the new recipe with users (we guess they didn’t). They have not responded to our questions.

If you want to post a complaint about their watered-down salad dressing, you can do it on the Wish-Bone website.

Thanks to Richard G. and Reddit for spotting this change.