Beware of shrinking products with increasing price tags

2012-01-12T08:50:38+00:00Saving, Shopping|

Back in the 80s I had a strange fascination with Shrinky Dinks — the toy, not ‘the deflating disappointment’. Sigh. If you were a kid during the late 70s and early 80s, you too probably couldn’t avoid these plastic pieces shaped like Smurfs or superheros hiding in your cereal boxes and under your peanut butter jar lids.

If you have no idea what I’m squawking about, I’ll briefly bring back the magic. Basically, you take your Shrinky Dink character, color it with a marker, and then oven bake it for like two minutes. The magic happens when that Dink shrinks to one-third their original size and becomes nine times thicker. Cool, eh! Kids could then turn Shrinky Dinks into shoelace charms or necklaces. So much awesome fun in a teeny tiny package.

Anyhoo, as an adult my fascination with teeny tiny things hasn’t waned. I often bake miniature morsels and I’m a little obsessed with compact packages. In my world (yeah, it’s a nice place to visit) small things can bring a lot of big fun.

But my wondrous world of the teeny tiny came to an end the other day when Carl brought home the groceries. Turns out his favorite brand of peanut butter turned into the dinks of shrinks by packing 25% less product into each jar. Yeah, the store discontinued the larger 1kg size in favor of this 750g shrunken micro mini — a decrease of 250g, or 25% per jar.

HONEY, they shrunk the peanut butter!

After unsticking my tongue from the roof of my mouth in disgust, I did a little mathy math to figure out the cost of a humble peanut butter sandwich. I went through my grocery receipts and found the prices.

The gobsmacking results surprised me, and we’re not talkin’ peanuts here, people.

consumer spending

Over time we’ve purchased both the 1kg and 750g jars for $3.99 each. At $3.99 per jar, there’s a jump in unit price from $0.40/100g to $0.53/100g — an increase of $0.13/100g.

Bottom Line: The lip smacking mathy math does not lie — a 25% decrease in product size at $3.99 per jar results in a 33% increase in peanut butter price!

What you can do about ‘Shrinky Dink’ products

Price inflation with product deflation is a strange, and expensive phenomenon. There’s no doubt that mindlessly buying your usual grocery products without paying attention to unit prices, sizes, and old receipts can cost you. Yeppers, those marketers are sneaky sneakers and often repackage and rebrand shrunken products JUST to charge you more.

As a smart consumer, there are a few tactics you can employ to combat the dreaded Shrinky Dink product and save yourself a little dough.

Tactics for combating Shrinky Dink products:

  1. Buy the larger size. If the former regularly sized product becomes a cute micro mini, compare the unit price of the larger size, if available — it may be a better deal.
  2. Compare prices at another store. When your usual supermarket becomes super at shrinking, do a price check experiment at another chain to compare prices. My Price Check Experiment at Costco shows you how to do it, and reveals super savings on certain products.
  3. Make it at home. If you’re fed up with paying bigger prices for smaller grocery items, then roll up your sleeves and get friendly with the word HOMEMADE. Carl hasn’t bought peanut butter in months since he now roasts and grinds organic nuts at home for less.

    Here’s the recipe: Homemade Peanut Butter: A Visual Guide and Cost Analysis.

Lastly, calling up customer service and registering a complaint about micronized products might be worth a shot too.

Question for you guys: Have you ever noticed a shrunken product with the same price? What do you do about it?


  1. Bryan McNett January 12, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I think that all the processed foods we buy are from the clearance aisle at Fresh&Easy, where they have been marked down 66%-80%. Though prices have fluctuated, I can’t say for sure that this has been because of packaging shrink.

  2. Mark January 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Another good is the recent rash of “whipped” products, offering less product in the same sized container as before and charging more for it. Whipped peanut butter, whipped cream cheese.

    The incredible shrinking package is seen all over the place. Look at the size of ice cream tubs over the past number of years. Not only are they getting smaller, they are coming in weird odd numbered sizes.

  3. jode January 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Black Diamond and Cracker Barrel went from being 600g to 540g and 520g. I think they might be even lower now.

  4. frankp January 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

    I’ve absolutely seen this before and have myself been disgusted by this sneaky tactic. It’s happening in every isle from sauces to snacks and elsewhere. Your tips are good ones to combat this as best as possible. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Joanne January 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Toilet paper!!

    They are sneakily reducing the number of sheets per roll. What they now call a ‘double roll’ would have been a ‘roll and a half’ just a few years back.

  6. Susan Furlano January 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    What about the New Tin Size for the Maxwell House Coffee, this one drives me Nuts & I only Drink One Cup a Day.

    My other Pet Peev is also Tassimo, what are the Cost of these Disks compared to Tin

  7. Karen January 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I try to stay away from the junk food but my one obsession is Mrs Freshley’s (PB) Buddy Bars. They used to come 12 bars to a package (6 packs of 2 bars). I opened up a new box and now they have 8 instead of 12 but it is in the same size box which now is almost half full of air with the product reduction. That seems scammy & sneaky to me.

    I also was rather miffed when they reduced the size of a serving of yogurt from 8 oz to 6 oz. Ritz crackers and graham crackers also seem to keep inching down in size. It really bothers me when it is a product used for recipes and the recipes you have call for such-n-such size and now they are considerably smaller and the ration of the recipe is off.

  8. robininatree January 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Minute Maid Orange Juice!!

    We already went through a can a day and then they made them smaller! Yeesh! I blogged about it here. Still 99 cents a can, but now a smaller size.

    I haven’t bought it since.

  9. KS 'Kaz' Augustin January 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    This is an international problem. Sliced cheese, juice, paper (noticed how a “ream” is now 440 pages, not 500 like it used to be?). The list goes on and on. My best piece of advice is to carry a calculator around with you, just so you can figure out the item cost. You can try to shop for a different brand but sometimes they’re all in it together.

    And you think YOU have problems? Most of the fresh food I see comes from … shudder … China. No way I’m buying that stuff for my family.

    Kaz Augustin, Malaysia

  10. rob January 13, 2012 at 2:41 am

    This isn’t in any way new – it’s been going on my entire adult life, if not longer. That’s *why* (here in the US anyway) all stores state the price in total, and then on the price label is the price/oz (price/100g in Canada?). Take a look and you’ll find that very often the larger container is more expensive per oz. The clever marketers know all about bloggers who suggest buying the big jar. 🙂

    But really – why are you buying already processed food anyway? If you buy everything in bulk and in its raw state, you pay a tiny fraction of the amount and what you ultimately eat is free of all the chemical glop the food industry infuses into their products. And buying in bulk lets you pick the “cheap” times and stock up. And it tastes better.

  11. Ian January 13, 2012 at 6:27 am

    It’s not all doom and gloom for the PCPB: at least now a standard butter knife reaches all the way to the bottom of the container for easier stirring. Less mess and less de-saturated peanut paste at the bottom of the jar.
    Around these parts (Toronto), the 1kg container used to be 5 bucks, the new one is 4. The unit price has still gone up, but not as dramatically. However, since I’m no longer losing a bunch of peanut butter at the end of the jar or wasting my time and cleaning resources dealing with the stirring mess from the old size, it could even be a net positive.

  12. Caitlin January 13, 2012 at 7:15 am

    I think it’s easier to ask for a list of products that have not had this happen.

    Customers are afraid of price increases, so the companies reduce the size while keeping the price the same. A majority of customers won’t even notice (at least for a while), so the company keeps their profits the same while not having to introduce a “risky” price increase.
    I don’t believe there’s much we can do about it, though. Even if we wrote in to the companies to complain, they could still point out that a “majority” has not complained, give us a couple coupons, and send us on our way. :/

  13. Coleen January 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Sadly, at least THIS price increase was expected! If we could just get some rain here in Texas maybe the price would go back down! Anyone have any to spare? Northeast coast…I’m talking to you!

    I wish we could predict price increases on all the other products we use. Maybe Shrinky Dink was the industry’s way of getting us used to getting less for more.

  14. Elizabeth January 13, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Tetra packs of stock that used to contain one litre now hold 900 ml. The box is still the same size, so most people do not notice. I make my own chicken stock, but beef stock is a pain and the blue menu brand is salt free, so I still buy it even though the price essentially went up with this mean little trick.

  15. RW-in-DC January 13, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Or, for the addicted to sugar water crowd, the recent introduction of a 1.5 liter bottle, currently in addition to the “standard” 2 liter size!

  16. Linda January 13, 2012 at 9:16 am

    The pharmaceutical companies diluted the strength of many, if not all, children’s liquid meds – what used to be a one teaspoon dose, for example, is now two teaspoons. This in the name of “safety” to reduce the risk of overdose. Trouble is, the price is the same for half the amount of active medicine.

  17. Kaylissa January 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I don’t think we can do much about this pervasive trend other than boycott the products. One can make peanut butter at home, but toilet paper is a necessity.

    It is a sad state of affairs, indeed!

  18. Marilyn Crisp January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    It may not have been the store that discontinued the larger size of peanut butter jar. Most likely, the manufacturer stopped making it. One wonders how much it would cost the manufacturer to retool for a different size of container.

    We have the same problem with oatmeal. We go through a lot of oatmeal here, serving porridge every day for breakfast. We always bought the 3 kilogram bag, but now the largest size we can get in the same brand is 2.25 Kg; not a smaller price, though! We always used the heavy empty bags to store our own garden carrots in the produce fridge through the winter; certainly, the smaller bags won’t hold so many.

  19. sandy grant January 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    And that’s why my husband won’t go to Tim Horton’s anymore. Their X-large coffee used to be a staple for him, and then he didn’t buy it for a while, and all of a sudden the cup that hardly fit in the microwave at his work, now had over an inch of room above it! That was a few years ago too…

  20. Hols January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    There is a lot of products lately that have shrunk – toilet paper and cheese are the ones I’ve been watching carefully, both of which are used greatly at our house. I find the sizing different between brands and the unit price is the only “fair” way to compare, but boy sometimes when I think it is a great deal, not so.

    I love the Shrinky Dinks too – we used to do them at camp a lot, and I reintroduced it to some of my programs in the summer and they love it 🙂

  21. RC January 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    You can avoid this by moving to a country which has enjoyed near-zero inflation over the last 20 years: Japan.


  22. Annette January 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Toilet paper and paper towels – they wind the rolls really loose so they still look big but are much lighter. But I first noticed in the coffee tetra packs years ago, they went from 500grams to 350grms. They put them on sale for the switch and afterwards price went back up but the package stayed small of course.
    Walmart with those large bricks of Crackerbarrel cheese – they are just as long and just as wide as Safeway’s but are much thinner at 500grms for Walmart compared with the 750Grams at Safeway.
    AND Safeway advertises their meat in Kilo’s when its on sale but then package it in pounds so its hard to compare if the sale price is really any lower than the actual price.
    ALSO, the extra large “family size” cans of soup or canned vegetables – people think they are cheaper because they are in bulk but gram for gram they are 25% to 30% more expensive.

  23. Carole Robb Bisson January 14, 2012 at 8:27 am

    How about the blocks of cheese? Price increases and soon it will be a thick cheese slice. I simply can’t believe they think we are really that clueless!

  24. Kathy January 14, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Noodles. They used to be 900g packages would come on sale for 69, 79 or 99 cents a package. (Okay, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen 69 or 79 cents) Then all of a sudden it was 650g packages for the same price (sale or not).

  25. Catherine Nelson January 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Batteries – SquawkFox you might be interested in researching this one.

    Checking carefully for the best deal for ‘D’ cell batteries at Canadian Tire, it was easy to see that the store brand was significantly cheaper than the brand names. So … the Cdn Tire brand offered a plethora of choices in a puzzling array of packages and confusing prices. Even though I don’t recall the prices, you’ll understand. I need six batteries; they come in one, two, three, four, five, six, eight, and ten-packs. Find the six-pack and combinations of packs to make a total of six batteries. Okay, check the price of a six-pack and two-three packs. Same price, fair enough. Wait, three two-packs are cheaper. Weird, but good for me. Wait … here’s a four-pack on sale, I’ll just get two of those. Grab it. No, don’t grab it — the sale price of two four-packs costs more than the eight pack regular price. Hmmm. Oh brother, should I just buy the 10-pack because it’s so much cheaper altogether? Good grief – they’re not cheaper! They’re more expensive than buying two five-packs. How does that compare to five two-packs? Or maybe I should look at a five-pack plus a one-pack? Eventually, I THINK I finally find the best deal. Not forgetting, after all of this, that brand comparison was already ruled out, and size and quality comparison were never part of the equation.

    Without a calculator AND pencil and paper (also good eyesight, and a body that can bend to see prices on the bottom of the bottom shelf) one can easily be conned (and I really mean it is a deliberate con) into spending significantly more money for considerably less product.

  26. Ernie January 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Good article. Enjoyed it. Agreed with it.

    Believe it or not my kids noticed Shrinky Dink loaves of bread recently when they went to make sandwiches and it didn’t go as far as before. So this practice must be quite common.

    Wondering out loud if the Consumer Price Index (based on a bag of groceries among other things) takes this into account. If a bag of groceries doesn’t go as far as it used to, are we being misled by the CPI rates?

  27. Jackie January 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I am boycotting my favorite potato chips for this very reason. They come in a stack, I use to get them for 1.00 a stack. They raised the price to 1.25 a stack, but their competitor did not. So, I started buying the competitor brand. I didn’t like it but I dealt with it and probably would have eventually gotten over the .25 increase and started buying the favorite again. However,my original favorite brand started making the stack 1.00 again BUT it was shorter. Well that just insulted my intelligence and I refuse to get over the .25 cent increase now.

  28. Ernie January 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    One of the reasons I like shopping at Superstore isn’t for the quality of meats and vegetables but for the price tags on the shelves which almost always break it down to a unit measure (weight, size, volume) so it’s much easier to compare. I can’t do much about the questionable repackaging/resizing practice but at least I can see that the NoName brand isn’t always cheaper than the Name brand.

  29. Ann January 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    The weekly food ads are so much for a half gallon of ice cream but it isn’t actually a half gallon! So do we now have half gallons and small half gallons?

  30. stu January 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    One trick here locally in the Soo is to advertise $2.99 a jar but they list it as 750mg and or 1kg.Often the store is sold out of the 1kg (surprise surprise!)Dont feel bad Im in Waiki with my wife for her Bday and I saw the 750mg Folgers at a grocery store in Wakiki selling at $19.50.
    Gotta another chuckle, they had Canadian Style Bacon in the Deli area which looked a lot like Ham. Guess they got the info from the McDonalds Egg McMuffin ads. Gotta luv the Excited States of America.

  31. Rena (An Ordinary Housewife) January 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    There was a story about girl scout cookies a year or two ago and they were talking about the boxes getting smaller. And the company said with the rising prices of sugar and other ingredients they had to either raise prices or decrease the size of package, so they opted to decrease the package size. So it’s all a chain reaction, really.
    Another thing I’ve noticed–when gas prices go up, so do food prices. But funny enough, when gas prices go down, food prices stay the same.

  32. JenX January 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Tissue paper! It went from 200 sheets per box and has steadily decreased to often less than 145 sheets per box…for many different manufacturers! And what’s with the shrunken tubes of toothpaste, all brands priced higher! Collusion?

  33. Jeff Crews January 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Potato chips always get me. You think, “WOW this bag is huge. Oh wait…it’s 3/4’s air!” Got to love what money will make people do! 🙂

  34. Linda S January 15, 2012 at 4:51 am

    The bread!! It got more expensive, mais got shorter!

  35. Flannery January 15, 2012 at 5:13 am

    Yogurt. The “big” containers have shrunk (I think this happens across the board, with all/almost all brands) and the price is the same if not more.

  36. Yari January 15, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I’ve noticed an increasing package size with deodorant in the solid or gel roll ups; BUT the catch is there is far less deodorant in the package. If you look at the package which is sometimes transparent on the sides, you can see the deodorant comes only 1/3 down the tube. It used to be the deodorant came all the way down the tube. I believe this works out to be 2/3 less deodorant per tube now, but in a larger container. Surely, this cannot save the company money as the container itself must cost significant dollars?

  37. Laura W. January 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I have noticed this with frozen pizzas. The box stays the same size but the pizza shrinks! Sometimes by almost 5 oz!! I always read the size of the pizza before I buy.

  38. Lisa January 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I have 4 kids and have gotten into the habit of blindly buying the biggest of whatever, but lately I have noticed lots of smaller packaged items for less, today’s example a box of 6 (prepackaged lunch cakes) was $1.79 and the big box of 12 was almost $6.00! So buyer beware, they know we blindly trust the bigger to be cheaper and they are taking advantage of it.

  39. Angela January 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Pasta – I used to buy boxed organic pasta from Loblaws – and then noticed 1 day how they increased the box size and reduced the amount in it at the same time. Not impressed. And I don’t buy it anymore.

  40. Lance January 15, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Better check your math. A 750g jar turning into a 500g jar is a 33% reduction!

  41. Theresa January 16, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Shrinky dinks must have been in name brand products because I never ever owned one. My mom refused to buy boxed cereal.

    I have noticed that frozen vegetables are now in smaller bags but the same price. Actually, pretty much everything seems to be shrinking at the grocery store.

  42. Ellen January 16, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Popular article! I don’t know if I ever had shrinky dinks -but I do remember doing something with stryofoam cups – drawing on them and shrinking them.

  43. Kerry January 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

    @Lance My math is correct — the jar shrunk from 1kg to 750g, a 25% decrease. Maybe look at the picture? 🙂

  44. lisa January 16, 2012 at 8:55 am

    This happens all the time, but all peanuts went up a lot! There is a really bad shortage. Not saying your post isn’t true, but if you could show this happening to other things that were not in the news for having huge price inflation it would drive the point MOMA more

  45. maureen January 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

    this is a common marketing technique – with consumer behavior techniques you can shrink the product by up to 20% before (most) consumers will notice. It’s sneaky, and it’s everywhere! Tuna used to be 6.25 oz, now it’s 5; I recently noticed that Tide was shrinking from 50oz in a bottle to 40 oz. I ran out and snatched a bunch of bottles! Cereal has also shrunk – they’ve kept the box size the same (visually) from the front, but if you turn it on its side you’ll notice that it’s much thinner. CPG companies will say this is due to their commitment to the customer and keeping prices low (“behavior” shows us you’re less reluctant to pay the same price for a smaller size than to pay an increased price for the same size) but it is sneaky! Now I make a sport of noticing what’s the latest item to shrink.

  46. Drew Custer January 17, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    One thing I hate is how they are making 16 oz. soda bottles and selling them at the convenient store for a dollar. I’m 21, but when I was a kid, 20 oz. bottles were 99 cents. I understand inflation, but the dollar hasn’t inflated that much. I guess it’s something we have to live with now. Everyone commenting here has great examples of how much our products are shrinking today…very sad.

  47. Jennaw January 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    My response to shrinking packages is to only buy those items on sale. I try do that anyways but I really hold the line for those shrinking products (e.g. Breyers icecream & Tropicana juice).

  48. Friday Frugal Forum | January 20, 2012 at 3:03 am

    […] warns: Beware of shrinking products with increasing price tags, revealing how we are all paying much more for smaller-sized […]

  49. […] is a personal favourite of mine; this week I read a great that warns about shrinking products with rising price tags. It gives a clear explanation of the problem, and what you can do to combat shrinking […]

  50. Joy January 21, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    I have noticed this for awhile… and I see Costco is doing it.. it is very irritating.. and they think we are stupid and don’t see it.

  51. Kay January 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I agree with Joy. They used to have 16 oz Organic greens, now they sell 11 0z org. greens for the same price.

  52. Lynne February 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Anyone notice that they’re going through boxes of Scotties kleenex faster and faster ? They’re putting less tissues (123) in the box while maintaining the same size box. Seems to me we’re paying a lot more for “air”. !!

  53. Savvy Scot March 2, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Good article. We have found similar things happening the UK as of late…

  54. Nathan March 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Just noticed Cracker Barrel cheeses have gone from 10 to 8 ounces. There was still a 10 oz. sitting on the shelf along with the new batch of 8 oz. blocks. All were the same price ($4.39). I spotted the change immediately before even comparing the old block I found. Sinister.

  55. Craig April 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    and Cracker Barrel Baby Swiss went from 10 oz to 7 oz!

  56. andy April 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    It’s all so that the stores can hit the “magic” retail. If they keep the size the same, and the manufacturer increases the cost, your retail goes up with it.

    Think about it.

    Say, Peanut butter for $4.99 per jar.

    A month later, same size $5.29…….most people would say “stupid supermarket making more money off of me….what a ripoff”, when in reality, the peanut butter companies costs went up due to a bad crop, increased fuel costs, etc.

    BUT, if the peanut butter company takes the extra 30 cents off and reduces the size by 10 percent………whala! same $4.99 retail.

    No magic, just economics.

    SO, buy big, and buy generic (my advise)

  57. Jody June 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Kirkland Toilet Paper! Last April you received 36 rolls. This past winter I discovered that you now receive 30 “bigger” rolls. I looked it up – they rolled it looser so the rolls appear larger – but same number of squares. I lost 6 rolls of tp. Needless to say – I am no longer buying my favourite tp.

  58. AverageMan June 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    One of the hardest products to comparison shop for is toilet tissue. The number of rolls in a package is only a hint of the quantity you’re buying. The only sure way to get the best value when buying TP is to calculate a ‘cost-per-square-inch’ for competing brands, then make your purchase based on that unit cost.

    And while we’re on the subject, has anyone else noticed how much narrower the rolls have become? The holder I have has been around for decades, yet today’s rolls only cover 3/4 the width of the holder. Yeah, it’s still four rolls in that package, but each roll is 25% narrower than it used to be.

  59. AverageMan June 10, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    We used to buy ice cream in half-gallon sizes (64 oz.). Then they dropped the size to 56 ounces (no price change), and now 48 ounce containers are beginning to appear in stores – again without any corresponding drop in prices. At this rate, all ice cream will look like Ben & Jerry’s before long. And that assumes Ben & Jerry won’t start shrinking.

  60. Connie Solidad August 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I try to keep it really simple when I shop, and just look at different products and what they cost per ounce. A lot of stores make it easier for me, since they print the per ounce content on a lot of price tags.

  61. AverageMan August 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I agree that ‘consumer-friendly’ price tags now show a unit cost per ounce, per pound, etc., but that doesn’t apply to paper products like tissues, paper towels and bathroom tissue.

    It also gets confusing with laundry detergent. One ounce of one brand may not be the same concentration as one ounce of another brand. We’re left to calculate the cost per load, and even that varies if you do partial loads.

  62. Patricia November 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

    This is such a relevant topic!
    For a long time, I have noticed the varying sizes of products with the cost staying the same at first, later changing.
    Canned tuna and salmon were the first ones in which I noticed this change.
    I don’t understand how the manufacturers are allowed to do this!

  63. Muriel November 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    I would be willing to pay $3.99 for that particular peanut butter but in the stores where I am shopping it is either $4.99 or $5.99. I have not seen it anywhere in the last few months for $3.99

  64. md November 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    A while ago, my Marcelle moisture cream got a packaging upgrade. It now comes in a spiffy 50 ml glass jar instead of the previous 60 ml plastic container. And the price went up $2 to $3…

  65. md November 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Oh, and not quite the same but equally outrageous: Kraft “whipped” peanut butter with the white lid; same size jar, same price, only 3/4 as much product by weight…

  66. Lori November 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Just noticed yesterday that the bag of Science Diet cat food I always buy is now 7 lbs. The one I bought last month was 8 pounds, and prior to that I recall that I used to buy the 10 lb size. But they all cost the same–roughly $36.00. It just felt lighter in my hands which is what made me look at it in the first place. Maybe it was the final lb that clued me in to finally looking at how much I was getting for the same price.

  67. Patricia November 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    If so many of us are noticing these little package & pricing tactics, how do companies manage to do this manipulation, legally?

  68. AverageMan November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    There’s nothing illegal, unfortunately, about this practice. As long as the package contains the amount (by weight, by count, or whatever) that the label says it contains, there is no fraud.

    As a consumer, you’re expected to know what you’re buying and make a decision based on the price charged. It’s not likely that a company will volunteer information by printing a ‘New, Smaller Size!’ disclaimer on the package

  69. DJL December 7, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I’ve noticed this trend for years, so now I pay attention to the price per weight listing on the shelf. You can often get a better deal by buying a larger container. For instance, now that OJ is coming in 59oz. containers, instead of 64oz., I buy the 128oz. size and pay a lot less per oz. They have even had coupons on the shelf for the 128oz. size, making it about HALF the price per oz.!


    Look on the higher and lower shelves for larger sizes and getter better deals.

    Call the company and complain. I did so about one product and they mailed me some coupons.

    If the package says “new and improved,” it is now smaller. Saw this on an evening news report months ago; it was reported to them by a pre-teen girl who noticed the trend.

  70. Penny December 17, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Another shrinking product!!

    Last Christmas I bought a 3 pack of Aquafina Hydrating Lip Balm at Walmart. There were 3 flavoured lip balms plus a bonus of a Hydrating Lip Oil

    In this 3+bonus pack last year: Each of the Lip balm 2.8gms
    The bonus Lip Oil is 5g

    This package sold for $3.98

    This year, same ‘deal’ or so I thought
    3 lip balms + bonus
    each of the lip balms are only 2gms each and the bonus is just a plain lip balm again only 2 gms.

    Last year’s deal 8.4 gm of reg lip balm + 5 gm lip oil
    This year’s ‘deal’ 6 gm of reg lip balm + 2 gm lip balm

    Same price, drastically less product!!!

  71. lgbphdinme January 31, 2013 at 11:58 am

    4 years ago, I noticed the shrinking size of the Northern toilet paper I used and yet, the price continued to rise. I wrote to the manufacturer and their rationalization for this was ensuring decreased shipping rates. What a bunch of hooey! Shopping with a calculator and a measuring tape is now a practical necessity for unit measure congruity. It isn’t just the retailers that are doing it either. In years past, I bought lugs and bushels of fruit and vegetables for canning. Now the boxes they provide from the growers hold 15% weight(calc. 9/1/12) of the fruit for double the price.

  72. MrsBos February 10, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I recently wrote to Orville popcorn company to complain that the only thing “magic” about their new pop up bowl was that it has less popcorn for the same price! Companies think we are stupid 🙁

  73. Andy April 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    my peeve is mismatched units of measure on that little sticker on the shelf for the same product/different brand or even different sizes of the same brand right next to it.
    whether it’s listed by- per ounce, pound, etc., the same product will have different units of measurements, one will list at ‘per ounce’ and the next ‘per pound’, or ounce vs. gallon.
    Just makes for a little more math but would make sense a store should (have to)use the same unit of measure for the same products. Doesn’t help that a pound has 16 oz., a gallon 64 oz., etc.. The different measures mean it not ‘just a quick look’ to get the information we wanted…

  74. Barb Crowther May 19, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Loblaws has now started selling ‘mini-packets’ of ground beef at $0.20 more per kilo. There are only two of us and so a pound of beef will go a long way. Bit it was the long weekend and we were thinking hamburgers….Imagine my surprise when I realized the pckge of about a pound cost $10.76/kilo where as the slightly larger pckge was $10.56. Just glancing at the pckges wouldn’t have revealed any differences except that the one labeled ‘mini-packets’ also cost more…..

  75. Esther September 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    How about the larger measures in the packages of laundry soap, protein powder and other items. I have been buying the same laundry soap for ever and I noticed suddenly the scoop appeared bigger. I measure it with a scoop from a previous package and surely it was slightly bigger the measurement lines were still the same but when I put the measurement from the old scoop into the new scoop it fell short. The other day I opened a new jar of protein powder and I noticed the immediate increase in scoop size which was dramatic. They advertised on the outside that now you get 60 gr of protein in one serving where it used to be 52 gr, however the size of the scoop went from 70cc to 90cc. So the serving increased 15.4% but I have to use 28.6% more product. Also they decreased the volume from 2 pounds to 1.9 pounds.

  76. md September 9, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    And another thing to watch for: some years ago the holes in the top of containers of Comet Cleanser suddenly got way bigger, so you almost automatically have to use more… I’ve taken to decanting it into a shaker bottle with smaller holes, but what a pain…

  77. Gary Wing November 13, 2013 at 4:09 am

    This is really the pits. We pay more we get less and I even found it in Sam’s where muffins pre-packed are 1/3 smaller. Sam’s and WalMart seem to be in the lead for shrinking stuff!
    We need to have the some regulations back into items. OH GOD some republican just dropped dead. You know even the word “regulations” can put them into fits of rage!

  78. Ed_in_NY December 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Just wanted to add my voice even though the last comment was about a year ago.
    There are supposed to be 40 crackers per sleeve. I make a dessert that uses one sleeve in a cookie tray, 5 rows by 8 rows. Now I keep coming up short! When you search around, the published specs all have begun to say “ABOUT 40 crackers per sleeve”. But whereas I have been making this particular dessert for 30 years and never was short a cracker, now the crackers are short every time. They’re shaving crackers off of production, calling it an imperfect science, and charging us the same or more. “Who’s gonna notice?” they’re asking in the board room. “Cheaters” is all I can reply…

  79. Dani August 11, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    I just bought Lance’s peanut butter crackers two for one at the Food Lion her in Outer Banks. There was hardly ANY peanut butter. What a rip off. I will never buy this brand again.

Leave A Comment