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3 On Your Side: Shrinking Products On The Rise

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Does it seem like you’re running out of your favorite toothpaste quicker than before? Or maybe it seems like your family is eating more ice cream than usual. That may not be the case at all. A growing trend may be to blame.

3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan explains what’s happening and why more and more of your household products are shrinking.

Ice cream, orange juice, hot dogs and more. They look the same on the supermarket shelves. The prices haven’t changed, but something fishy is going on!

Chicken of the Sea salmon pouches are lighter! Originally filled with 3 ounces of salmon, they’re now filled with only 2.6.

The same sized jar of Classico pesto sauce once held 10 ounces. It’s now just 8.1.

And when you scoop some of this Haaggen-Dazs, the containers are serving up two ounces less!

The February edition of Consumer Reports magazine highlighted those downsized products and others like Tropicana. It may be 100 percent pure and natural. But the containers have 7.8 percent less inside. Down from 64 ounces to 59. That means you’ll be pouring out five ounces less.

And you won’t squeeze as much out of your Ivory dish detergent either. The new bottle size has 24 ounces. The old one had 30. That means this one has 20 percent less.

So what’s going on?

“Commodities prices for things like oil, cotton, paper even gasoline for transportation, sugar, all kinds of ingredients, those prices are going up,” said Dr. Julie Ruth, Consumer Marketing expert at Rutgers University.

Ruth says products are shrinking so that manufacturers don’t have to raise prices.

“Manufacturers know that consumers are very reluctant these days to pay a higher price for any sort of item,” said Dr. Ruth.

Another example? Kraft American Cheese Singles, made with 2-percent milk. You used to be able to unwrap 24 slices, but now there are only 22 in the pack!

And get a load of this, while a roll of Scott toilet tissue is still 1,000 sheets long, the roll is slimmer than in the past.

They’ve shaved off .4 inches in width, leaving you with 9 percent less.

So consumers are paying the same, but stuck walking away with less.

If one of your favorite products is down-sized, call the manufacturer and complain.

Often if they know that you’re a loyal customer, they’ll send you coupons that you can at least use in the future.

Reported By Jim Donovan, CBS Philly

More from Jim Donovan
  • Scavenger

    Do not hold your breath for feedback from Frito-Lay. They wrote the book on consumer gouging and cold customer service. They regularly shrink the package and raise the prices.. In a few short years the gig will be up because the size will have shrunk to the point of having individually wrapped potato chips.

  • Paul MILLER

    Bags of chips or snacks are not the same. Herr”s chip one pound is now 15oz. not 16 oz.It the same with Frito lay too. The american public getting it stuck up the a–. The company say it cheaper to be fine then to put the right amount in the bag or can.

  • Foo Dog

    “Does is seem like you’re running out of your favorite toothpaste quicker than before? ”

    Does is Ever!

    • Foo Dog

      Nice fix.

  • Guess Who

    Check out tuna fish cans. They used to hold over 6 oz. Now they’re down to 5 oz.

  • Carolyn

    I believe that you get what you pay! However, manufacturers will not lose out on making money on the products that they sell, they’ll stick it to the consumer instead…VERY SNEAKY!!!

  • Bill G

    This kind of thing started many, many years ago with cans of coffee.I’m talking probably 30 years when they pulled the same thing. Going from 16 oz cans to 12 oz.Thieving SOB’s.

  • Linda

    This happens every few years. Now that the quantities have been reduced, the prices will be raised.

  • Shelly

    I have noticed that the ice cream container tubs are smaller, as are the Celeste Pizza for one. Also I used Aussie 12.5 oz. hair sprunch for years only to find it went to 10 oz and was filled with alchohol. It is now down to 8,5 oz. I had to stop using it because the added alchohol kept it from working properly and was not curling my hair.

  • M. Devlin

    Betty Crocker’s Triple Chunk Brownie Mix WAS the best. There was no nut warning, which we need. The replacement which I purchased for Thanksgiving not realizing the change not only had less product, but more importantly, did not taste the same, and had more sodium and more fat.
    When at a beauty salon I was complaining about the Brownie situation and another woman, who I did not know, joined in the conversation. She was very upset. You can check on line and find, unless Betty Crocker deleted the comments, that many are upset.

    When I was making the newer Brownies for Thanksgiving, I discovered the difference while adding the ingredients. I mad them by rote, as I had made them so many times. The new recipe requires half the oil of the previous recipie. I had added the original 1/2 cup and called Betty Crocker. They told me to continue as if there was no problem. My brownies would be “fudgier”. I was also told that this change was made for those who wanted to use 9x 12 pans. That made no sense. The brownies were not good.

    My point to you is that the change was not just about the amount of product and cost.

    Thank you for your attention.,

  • J. Kriegel

    About time. I’ve been complaining about this for years. The biggest offender – toilet paper. Remember the rolls, about 400-500 sheets, except for Scott 1,000. Just advertised, 9 DOUBLE rolls = 18 regular rolls. How many sheets per roll? 200! They don’t even make a “single” roll. Find a 100 sheet roll!. And Scott. They not only are narrower, but are a WHOLE LOT thinner1 Does this make a difference? Besides being annoying (just raise the price) on food items it is disconcerting, upsetting your perception of anticipated servings. I recently opened a can of sardines (remember “packed like sardines”? 3 sardines! They had so much room they were doing the butterfly. Yet the weight was about the same. The lost sardine weight was compensated by the increased oil weight.

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