Hellmann’s Mayo: Introduces the 30 oz. Quart*

hellmans smallSome things always come in quarts: milk, motor oil, and mayonnaise, for example. You don’t have to look at the net weight statement, because a quart is 32 ounces, and that is what you always get.

Next time you go to the supermarket and pick up a quart-size jar of Hellmann’s (in the east) and probably Best Foods (in the west), you are going to be in for a little surprise.

*MOUSE PRINT:  The net weight statement now reads “30 oz.” instead of 32.

While the size change is apparent looking at the old and new jars side by side, you don’t have that comparison in the store. You see a dozen identical jars that look like the regular quart jar, and priced like the regular quart jar. You grab one, and you get snookered because they all have two ounces less in them.

All mayonnaise has come in quart jars for decades. Unlike tuna fish that has been downsized multiple times, this is the first time it has happened to mayonnaise. That’s what makes it so surprising, and why it has gone virtually unnoticed.

Why did Unilever Bestfoods do this?  Here’s what customer service said:

“At Unilever Bestfoods we have always taken great pride in offering the highest quality products at reasonable and fair prices.

Recently, inflationary pressures have brought about by the increased costs of raw materials. Rather than raise our prices, we chose to slightly reduce the size of the 32 oz quart and 16 oz pint. This is the first time in over three years that we have had to increase costs to our consumers.”

As with other categories of items that have been downsized, it is a sneaky way to pass on a price increase. Expect competing brands to trim their jars sometime soon.  

Orbit Gum: Will Not Get You Into Heaven*

Orbit gum

In the current Orbit gum commercial, Snoop Dog goes to hell because of his dirty mouth. The gum fairy tells him he can clean up his mouth with Orbit peppermint gum.

Next thing you know, old Snoop Dog has arrived at the pearly gates of heaven.

Not wanting any trouble from the Federal Trade Commission, the company included this disclaimer:

*MOUSE PRINT: “Dramatization. Orbit gum will not get you into heaven.”

Nice to see that Wrigley has a sense of humor.

Aquafresh for Kids: Contains Undisclosed Peanut Oil*

Aquafresh kids People who have food allergies always have to read ingredients labels to make sure none of the things they are allergic to is in the product. Some of the most common allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, seafood, and gluten. Those with allergies to any of these items could suffer health threatening reactions.

One would never suspect that any of these ingredients was contained in a toothpaste, let alone a kids toothpaste. When one scrutinizes the Aquafresh for Kids label, it seems perfectly safe and appropriate for kids with allergies.

Aquafresh ingredients

*MOUSE PRINT: According to this video news story from WCVB-TV, Kids Aquafresh  contains peanut oil, but there is no disclosure of this life-threatening ingredient on the label.

A mother discovered this hidden ingredient the hard way when her child became ill.

GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Aquafresh, says that the peanut oil is not listed on their label because they are not required to — only food products must list major allergens, not health and beauty aids.

On the Aquafresh website, in a FAQ, they say the product does not contain gluten, and the tube does not contain latex. But, there is no disclosure there about peanut oil.

The worst mouse print is the mouse print that is missing. Whether the law requires it or not, companies that market products that may cause a serious allergic reaction, particularly for children’s products, should disclose that possible threat.

UPDATE: August 4, 2006

On the website for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, GlaxoSmithKline says they told consumers that Aquafresh for kids had peanut oil to “be on safe side” since they didn’t know for sure. Now they say it has no peanut oil. Here is their statement:

“The health and safety of the consumers who use our products is of utmost importance, and we would like to assure them that no Aquafresh toothpaste products contain flavors with peanut oil, peanuts or peanut derivatives.

“We were recently contacted by several consumers requesting information about the possibility of trace amounts of peanut oil in our Aquafresh toothpaste products.   It was our belief that trace amounts of peanut oil could be present in certain flavor blends purchased by Aquafresh from external flavor suppliers. Consequently, we responded to those consumers that there was a possibility that trace amounts of peanut oil may be present in some Aquafresh products.

“Subsequently, we have contacted our flavor suppliers to confirm this information. We are pleased to learn that all of the flavor blends currently used to manufacture Aquafresh toothpaste contain no peanuts, no peanut oil and no peanut derivatives.

“Until we were able to validate our flavor blend information, we chose to err on the side of caution and told consumers that the products may contain trace amounts of peanut oil. In light of how serious some allergies can be, we felt that was the right thing to do. As an additional assurance, we are arranging to have independent tests of our toothpaste conducted.

“We apologize if this has caused any confusion or concern among our loyal customers. If consumers have additional questions, they may contact us toll free at (800) 897-5623.”