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Are Zesta Saltines Being Short-Weighted?

Zesta saltinesThe internet has been buzzing about Zesta saltine crackers of all things (and so has reader J.C.). Some purchasers discovered when they opened the familiar one-pound boxes that the sleeves of crackers inside were as much as two inches shorter than normal.


Zesta inside boxes

What’s going on here? Both boxes still say 16 ounces. Are they short-weighting customers by putting far less in each box than the one pound that is supposed to be inside? We got out our trusty digital scale to find out.


Zesta box weight

Both boxes, the one with full stacks on the left and the one with short stacks on the right both weigh the same — one pound three ounces. How is this possible because there seemed to be so much less in short stack box?

So, we examined some (but not all) the sleeves of crackers to count how many were in each sleeve. Surely the short sleeves had to have many fewer crackers, right?


Zesta stacks weight

Not really. The box with the full sleeves had between 37 and 39 crackers per sleeve, while the short sleeves in the other box had between 35 and 39 crackers. And the shortest sleeve still weighed the expected four ounces. (Okay, let’s not quibble about the weight the plastic wrap.)

So we ask again — what is going on here? Is each cracker thinner but somehow more dense? A spokesperson for Kellogg’s didn’t shed much light on what actually happened, saying:

Zesta crackers are packaged by weight and not volume. Normal baking processes may lead to crackers with different thickness, so the number of crackers may vary from package to package.

It appears that this mystery will remain unsolved.

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Here We Shrink Again – Spring 2023

Some big brands are continuing to downsize their products as shrinkflation continues.

Bounty Paper Towels

In the seemingly never-ending shrinking of Bounty towels, the double rolls have just gone down from 98 select-a-size sheets to just 90. The new packages are noticeably lighter.


Bounty 98-90

The triple rolls of Bounty were also downsized from 147 select-a-size sheets per roll to 135. Thanks to Richard G. for spotting that.

Gain Detergent

P&G continued its downsizing with Gain liquid laundry detergent. The now standard 92-ounce size just lost four ounces and is down to only 88 ounces. It is hard to tell any difference between the bottles. Could Tide be next?


Gain detergent 92-88 oz

Oreo Double Stuf Cookies

People have been complaining about the amount of filling (the “stuf”) in Oreos decreasing lately. We don’t know if it has actually changed or not. But one thing for sure is some of their packages are getting smaller. In addition to regular Oreos and some of gluten-free ones, the family size bags of Double Stuf Oreos now have four fewer cookies in each bag. Perhaps the family got smaller.



Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

Dawn is another one of those brands that periodically changes sizes. This time, the 19.4-ounce bottle was downsized to 18 ounces. Did you notice?



BD Syringes

Colleen M. reported that even medical products are getting downsized. In particular, BD brand syringes used for injecting insulin have gone from 100 in a box down 10-percent to just 90. Yet, the package erroneously still says there are 10 multi-packs inside when there are really only nine. Our consumer went on to say, “The packaging has not changed at all, the box is the same size (making people think they are getting the same amount), but we are now getting 10% less.”

BD syringes

Sara Lee Bagels

When you buy a baker’s dozen of bagels, you get one additional bagel. What do you call it when you buy a pakcage of Sara Lee bagels and get one less? Steve C. of Arizona says it is a sneaky change.


Sara Lee bagels

Umpqua Frozen Yogurt

This brand of ice cream and frozen yogurt, primarily distributed in western states, was one of the last holdouts to reduce their 56-ounce containers to 48 ounces. Thanks to Janet W. and Michael F. for this tip.



Crest Gum Detoxify

P&G continues to shrink various varieties of their toothpastes. This time it is Crest Detoxify which went from 4.1 ounces to 3.7 ounces — about a 10% reduction.


Crest Detoxify

Kettle Potato Chips

Snack foods, and in particular potato chips, are one of the categories of groceries that keep being downsized. This time, it is Kettle potato chips going from 8.5-oz. bags to 7.5-oz. bags.


Kettle potato chips

All Free & Clear Pacs

Another category subject to periodic shrinkage is laundry detergents. This time, it is All Free & Clear’s turn, where the number of laundry pacs in one of their larger sizes had gone from 66 to down 60. So you get a half a dozen fewer loads per bag.


All Free & Clear

Kellogg’s Corn Pops

They used to call these “Sugar Pops” years ago, but Kellogg’s found a healthier-sounding way to market them. The small 10-ounce box appears to be getting company in places like drugstores with an even smaller box being introduced –one with over 20-percent less. To see them head-on, they look identical.


Kellogg's Corn Pops

We asked Kellogg’s if the 7.8 oz. size was replacing the 10-oz. one. Customer service responded, “Both sizes are currently in the market and it is up the retailer to decide which sizes they will carry.” Walgreens apparently carries both at the moment, and at the same price.

Corn Pops at Walgreens

The large size of Corn Pops also is being downsized from 14.3 ounces to 13.1 ounces. The new box is actually taller than the old one (but narrower), costs 20 cents more at our Stop & Shop, and provides nine servings instead of ten!

Kellogg's Corn Pops Large

Ortega Taco Shells

Nick B. told us about Ortega taco shells in “new look” packages, that almost an ounce going from 5.8 ounces to 4.9. And he said, they no longer came in a protective tray. The change took place around the fall of 2022.


Ortega tacos

Thanks to all our submitters. If you find an item that has recently gotten smaller, please send a sharp, side-by-side picture of the old and new product, showing the net weight or net count to Edgar (at symbol) ConsumerWorld.org . Thanks!

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Got (Less) Milk? – Some Half Gallons of Milk Downsized

Over the last few years, specialty milks like A2 milk, ultra-filtered milk like Fairway, extra protein milk, and plant-based products like soy and almond milk often started coming in unconventional size cartons like 52 or 59 ounces. But regular milk has reliably been sold only by the quart, half gallon, and gallon. Not anymore.

In a reversal of a standard that many thought was sacrosanct, one dairy cooperative in the Pacific Northwest has done the unthinkable. They downsized their half-gallon cartons of regular ultra-pasteurized milk to just 59 ounces.


Darigold milk

Darigold’s cartons of “classic” whole, 2-percent, 1-percent, and fat-free milk all are now five ounces less. And the dimensions of the new cartons look virtually identical to the old ones, best we can tell, but for being less than a quarter of an inch shorter. Of course that raises the question of possible slack-fill.

How are customers reacting? We think most have not noticed the change. One of our readers, Katie G., said she was alerted to the change because some stores in her area have posted signs warning that the new smaller milk containers don’t qualify under their state’s WIC program for low income folks with children.

Darigold WIC

And some consumers are telling the company on its website they are not pleased.


Putting the screws to us milk drinkers! Went to buy a half gallon, nope! 59 ounces! Are you nuts? I switched brands for the first time in 30 years!

On reddit, hundreds of shoppers complained, saying things like:

I just let them know why I will no longer be purchasing their products…

Since it used to be a true half gallon, and it’s next to other half-gallon brands in the same container at the store, most consumers would never know the difference. Pretty clever. I’m glad it’s backfiring on them.

Where are the yellers and screamers to protest Darigold on behalf of WIC participants? This makes me angry and I can easily never buy darigold again.

We asked the company to explain why they downsized, how they have responded to complaints, whether they lowered prices to compensate for the lessened quantity, etc. A company spokesperson replied, in part:

We made this change in packaging size at the beginning of the year largely as response to higher production costs for ESL [ultra-pasteurized] milk. Rather than passing along the full impact of inflation to consumers, we opted to make the container slightly smaller and take a smaller price increase.

He also noted that their regular milk sold in conventional translucent plastic containers was still the traditional size.

The question is, what’s next when it comes to shrinkflation? Eleven eggs in a carton?