Grocery Shrink Ray Hits Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks

Kellogg has confirmed that the much-feared grocery shrink ray has now focused its malevolent beam on Apple Jacks, Cocoa Krispies, Corn Pops, Froot Loops and Honey Smacks. Boxes were shrunk by an average of 2.4 ounces.

“This price adjustment on select ready-to-eat cereal brands was taken to offset rising commodity costs for ingredients and energy used to manufacture and distribute these products,” a spokesperson said.

While this is sad, we’re slightly more disturbed that cereal now comes with a picture of a senior citizen on the front and an “adventure spoon” inside.

Kellogg shrinks boxes of several cereal brands [AJC]
(Photo: iwantamonkey )

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  1. lalaland13 says:

    I wonder if more people are just buying the store brands nowadays. Even if the store brands also go up in price, it’s still lower than name brands. I mostly buy store brands nowadays, even though I used to tease my mom about it. Further proof that eventually, we all turn into our parents in some way or another.

    I did buy some Cocoa Pebbles the other day, but they were on sale and I couldn’t find “Chocolate Chunks” or “Fruity Fragments” or whatever the off-brand is.

  2. I noticed something interesting with the price of frosted shredded wheat last night at wal-mart. you could get a 16 oz box for 2.92 or a 20 oz for 2.96…needless to say I bought the 20 oz and got 4 oz extra for $0.04

  3. MameDennis says:

    They will always be SUGAR Smacks to me, as God intended.

  4. sgodun says:

    More mindless whining from Consumerist. Sigh. I remember when this site actually meant something, y’know?

  5. laserjobs says:

    Who care how much cereal, everyone just wants an ADVENTURE SPOON!!!

  6. zentex says:

    @sgodun: more mindless whining from people like you. Sigh. I remember when this site didn’t have complainers, y’know?

  7. sgodun says:

    I just noticed something.

    “This price adjustment on select ready-to-eat cereal brands was taken to offset rising commodity costs for ingredients and energy used to manufacture and distribute these products,” a spokesperson said.

    While this is sad…

    So, Consumerist is now posting “sad” news? Okay, fair enough. Where’s all the articles about foods which we grew up with as kids but are no longer around, or about how the school system (which we as taxpayers PAY FOR) is failing our children, or any of the thousand other things which can be classified as “sad”?

    I’ve asked it at least three times, and I’ll ask it again: Would Consumerist rather see the companies raise prices and maintain product size, or maintain prices and reduce product size? Which is more “sad”?

  8. MBZ321 says:

    Kellogg’s makes some of the worst cereal. All nothing but sugar in all of them, except maybe Special K. Always more expensiev than general mills too.

  9. sgodun says:

    @zentex:

    When a source that positions itself as a “consumer advocate” takes an irrational stance without justification or explanation, yeah, you’re damn right I’m going to complain. but don’t worry yourself; Consumerist doesn’t really seem to give a damn what its readership thinks, given that they seem to ignore the questions that are posed to them here.

    Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it? A “consumer advocate” site that doesn’t listen to complaints about its own practices?

    I’m really fed up to here with all these “shrink ray” BS stories. It seems that Consumerist is blaming product manufacturers for the rise in production costs, particularly energy (oil/fuel) and certain foodstuffs. The fact is, this is little more than companies attempting to stay in business. Consumerist is painting it as little more than corporate greed and that’s really, really wrong on so many levels.

  10. Scoobatz says:

    To know that you could own the same adventure spoon that Indiana Jones uses to eat his Cocoa Krispies, how can you worry about box shrinkage?

  11. The Porkchop Express says:

    They were just having sales on all this crap too.

    I think I actually saw like 3 or 4 sizes of the general mills ones.
    so maybe they have a confusion ray.

  12. MaytagRepairman says:

    I haven’t eaten a name brand cereal in years. It is overpriced and some of them are no more good for you than a daily vitamin supplement grinded into dust and sprinkled into a bag of potato chips. The only way they can sell it is a huge advertising budget aimed at children.

  13. SaveMeJeebus says:

    That Indiana Jones “adventure spoon” is a piece of shit too BTW.

  14. Mr_D says:

    @sgodun: I don’t think the idea is to blame manufacturers for transportation/etc cost increases – it’s this shady “let’s decrease the size and hope they don’t notice” behavior that I don’t like. I’m an adult. Treat me like one. I can take it.

    Of course, that’s why I don’t like this shrink ray business. Other people might just be complaining to complain.

  15. failurate says:

    I like the shrink ray stories. In 3 to 5 years, when everything is almost nothing, we’ll be able to look back via the Consumerist and say, “Back in my day, cereal was $3.00 a box. And by box, I mean cardboard. And you got a whole pound of the stuff, not this 1/2 pound crap in a tube they are selling folks now.”

  16. Rippleeffect says:

    How about you guys keep the same price and size, but exclude the silly plastic “free” spoon?

  17. Concerned_Citizen says:

    I stick to store brands. I cannot understand how a box of name brand cereal can be priced at 4-5 bucks, while the store brand is 2-3 bucks cheaper. There is no way to justify paying that extra 3 bucks for a shinier box.

  18. Snarkysnake says:

    @Mr_D:

    @failurate:

    AND it discourages preventative care. Getting less care when you’re healthy isn’t necessarily the best way to reduce your costs over your lifetime.

    It’s information. Sometimes valuable,sometimes dogsqueeze, but if it tells me something germane that I wasn’t aware of or just flat out missed,it’s OK by me. Hell, this is like talk radio- Listen for the stuff you are interested in,turn it off when you’ve had enough.If you hear too much whining for your tastes,then use that mouse that your right hand is resting on right now and tune out…

  19. Agent007 says:

    @Mr_D: I don’t think the idea is to blame manufacturers for transportation/etc cost increases – it’s this shady “let’s decrease the size and hope they don’t notice” behavior that I don’t like.

    What’s so shady about it? They aren’t marking a 14 oz box as 16 oz. They aren’t changing the ingredients. They aren’t reducing the quality of the product. They aren’t hiding the fact that it’s a smaller box. They’re just reducing the quantity in order to cover increased production costs. There certainly isn’t anything shady about that. Disappointing, yeah, but that disappointment shouldn’t be directed towards the company. They’re just trying to do what all companies are trying to do: Sell a product at a price that’s acceptable to the population while maintaining a reasonable profit. If you blame one company for doing this, then EVERY company should do this.

    So I’ll ask you what you think is worse: A product whose size is reduced but priced the same, or a product who size is the same but the price increased?

  20. Snarkysnake says:

    It’s information. Sometimes valuable,sometimes dogsqueeze, but if it tells me something germane that I wasn’t aware of or just flat out missed,it’s OK by me. Hell, this is like talk radio- Listen for the stuff you are interested in,turn it off when you’ve had enough.If you hear too much whining for your tastes,then use that mouse that your right hand is resting on right now and tune out..

  21. Solo says:

    My grocery store displays a convenient “price per unit” for every product they sell. So you can actually compare product price, among others or from time to time, without fearing being tricked by shrink rays or subtle $.27 prince increases.

    I have a feeling they don’t quite do that out of kindness, because their aim, of course, is to trick you out of a maximum amount of money, after all. (Otherwise, they would not be stuffing the “store brand” crap at eye level and “name brand stuff” at foot level.

    When shopping, I consider the per unit price and the size I need. Shrink ray be damned.

  22. CollierCossus says:

    Maybe if they spent less time and money smearing their mascot feces
    all over my TV they would have a bit more money to keep their product
    the original size? I’m sick of companies shafting the consumer first,
    and spending more money trying to hide the shrink (Dawn soap’s NEW
    shinier and taller bottle?). These companies spend more money on
    marketing than their product, and whenever there’s a slightly bleaker
    outlook they screw their consumers first. Not in any big way, just
    little by little by little.

  23. @sgodun: It amounts to the same thing–price increase per ounce.

  24. alfundo says:

    @sgodun:

    yes, I feel that raising the prices is a more honest approach when compared to putting less in the same size box. I like the “shrink ray” stories.

  25. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I only buy cereal if it’s on sale and with a coupon. Honestly, I don’t know how cereal got so expensive over the years.

  26. Tiber says:

    @sgodun: It’s not about why they’re doing it. We know that they’re doing it because costs are rising. This is about informing the consumer. It’s easy to notice a rise in cost. It’s harder to notice a drop in size. Aside from the fact that this is a bit deceptive, nobody’s taken out the torch & pitchforks. It’s a nice notice if you’re comparing brands.

    If you don’t want to see it, use a negative tag for “Grocery Shrink Ray” in the URL.

  27. henrygates says:

    They should have kept the box the same size and shrunk the plastic bag inside.

  28. henrygates says:

    Actually they should have made the box bigger AND shrunk the bag, then put “NEW BIGGER BOX!” on the front.

  29. AnnC says:

    @sgodun: Yeah, the consumerist is really going downhill. It seems like the only stories it ever posts are the ones that consumers care about.

    If they keep this up, I’ll have to switch over to conglomerist.com.

  30. balthisar says:

    I’m kind of ambivilent on the issue. After all, the net content is clearly posted on the package. At least two of the big chains here have per unit pricing on all of their shelves. Implying that this is deceitful on the part of the companies is just pendering to stupid people who don’t bother to keep track of what they’re purchasing. Maybe stupid people just shouldn’t shop?

    On the other hand, the shrink-ray does upset me, because I’d clearly just prefer to pay the higher price. When I want to purchase 20 oz. of cereal, it’s because I’m going to consume 20 oz. of cereal, not 16 oz. I don’t give a crap if the price goes up, because in the end I’m eventually going to buy 20 oz. of cereal. How much cost reduction can they really achieve? For the same quantity of cereal, now I’ve got to send five used boxes to the landfill instead of four.

  31. balthisar says:

    And yes, I do appreciate the irony of misspelling “pandering” in the same sentence in which I’m accusing others of being stupid. ;-)

  32. peter_in_paris says:

    Would you prefer they shrink it and charge the same or keep the same size and increase the price? (Real question, not sarcasm).

  33. PyroBor says:

    @zentex: Shrinking food is the ongoing topic for now. In the past it was Wal-Mart Nazi shirts, and those killer magnet toys. In a due time, the laptop repair “blackhole” could be the theme…

  34. Carencey says:

    @balthisar: and ambivalent, although that was in a different sentence. (Sorry, you brought it up!). My main issue with it is that companies are doing this because they are aware that many consumers shop based on total price rather than unit price, and are counting on them not to notice. The consumer can be smarter about checking unit prices, but that doesn’t change the skeezy motivation behind the shrinkage for the company. (for those who argue that they’re equal, and no conclusions about skeezy motivations can be drawn…these companies actually have to change their packaging, incurring a cost to make the change rather than just adjusting a price point with stores. If it were just a matter of purely offsetting costs, they’d make the change that didn’t require an investment.)

  35. AnderBobo says:

    I don’t know what you people expect Kellogs to do, throw a parade announcing they have downsized the product?

    They are being completely forthright by putting the weight of the product ON THE BOX. I’m sure if they just raised the price to compensate for the cost of fuel then a stink would be raised over that. Newsflash, either prices are going to go UP or quantity of product is going to go DOWN.

  36. frogman31680 says:

    I just wrote to Kelloggs and asked them why they always advertise 25% MORE INSIDE when they give you a bonus amount, but when they shrink the size down like this for the same price, why don’t they advertise that on the box.

    I agree with both points of interest on here. I am upset that they treat us like children and shrink the size down without saying so. It is underhanded business practice and everyone that I have seen on here that has done it I have wrote to and pointed out to them that I do not like their practices and neither do many other consumers.

    On the other hand, I have seen many other posts on here that merit more worth to a wider audience. But, there is the old standby, if you don’t like the post, don’t read it.

    Also, I do appreciate Wrigley’s and Tropicana, both of those actually sent me a letter in the mail (Wrigley’s was hand signed too.. OOOHHHH!) with coupons for a future purchase. It’s a nice thank you for taking time out of my day to tell them how upset I am.

    But what I don’t understand is that they can’t afford to give me 2 more sticks of gum when I buy a pack in stores, but they can afford to send me 2 coupons for a total of 10 packs of gum. That my friends is where the logic ends, and the corporate stupidity meets its height.

  37. CaptZ says:

    @sgodun: No one if keeping you here. Just click the X in the RH corner and we won’t hear whining from you either.

  38. mike says:

    @frogman31680:

    But what I don’t understand is that they can’t afford to give me 2 more sticks of gum when I buy a pack in stores, but they can afford to send me 2 coupons for a total of 10 packs of gum. That my friends is where the logic ends, and the corporate stupidity meets its height.

    That’s because it’s 10 times more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep a current customer.

  39. ChuckECheese says:

    Why can’t corporations just take it on the chin the way the rest of us do? Seems like they should have to live with reduced margins too.

    I have been sorta curious lately as the price of many name-brand groceries doubles in price, but store brands increase in price maybe 10% or 20%. I don’t think their costs have increased so much as to warrant 70% price increases. You can just smell the greed in the cereal aisle as the companies are working to get the price of cereal back to $5 a box, like back in the early 1990’s (remember that?)

    And the price increases have other anomalies. A jar of salsa is now $3 and more, but you can get a can of tomatoes for 50¢, or a jar of spaghetti sauce for less than $2. You can get mayo at the grocery for about $3 a jar, but you can get the same brand and size mayo at the dollar store for a dollar.

    Companies (manufacturers and retailers) are taking advantage of recent price pressures to increase margins, as well as to recoup increased costs. Keep an eye on the income reports of the big corporations. I suspect you will see, like the oil companies, that they are earning big profits.

  40. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    @sgodun: But here’s the thing… If the cost of transporting goods to market (be those goods corn for corn pops to the ceareal plant or the finished product to the store) goes down, it’s very rare to see the product size go back up or the price go down to reflect the cost.

  41. Raise prices or shrink the size. Only reasonable options.

  42. azntg says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Former is fully disclosed and certainily noticeable. Latter is in essence the same as the former, but rarely, if ever disclosed and hardly noticeable.

    Of your two reasonable options, which is better?

  43. alfundo says:

    so by this logic I guess we can expect Exxon/Mobil to start charging $4 for .75 a gallon of gas if they clearly label it as such…..

  44. failurate says:

    @alfundo: That comparison would make sense if cereal was sold in a standardized size. A gallon of gas is 1 gallon. A box of cereal is ?? ounces (13.5 to 25 ounces). There is no standard for boxes of cereal.

  45. flyingphotog says:

    Those are all “junk food” cereals anyway. I’m health and in-shape because I wasn’t allowed to eat that crap when I was young. Now I maintain healthier eating habits. Kids who start off eating those sugary cereals are the ones that get fat and diabetes at a young age.

  46. flyingphotog says:

    @Corporate-Shill:

    Same story in the airline business. Most of the airlines are also choosing to shrink.

  47. alfundo says:

    @failurate:

    A gallon of ice cream used to be a gallon as well…well…it still is but you have to buy multiple containers to get to a gallon. ;)

  48. TheNerd says:

    My biggest question is: Whatever happened to Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry? I have been searching everywhere, and nobody carries them anymore!

  49. Landru says:

    @sgodun: You’d better go home.

  50. ChuckECheese says:

    @TheNerd: They’re still around. I saw them at WM a few weeks ago. A couple months ago, I saw them at Target. That’s in west TX, YMMV. Amazon.com sells them too.

  51. Imhotep says:

    C’mon… My BEST recent Saturday morning as an adult was eating Cocoa Krispies with my new ADVENTURE SPOOOOOON while watching the original Raiders of the Lost Ark, and listening to the snap, crackle and pop!! The sugar rush started to kick in just as Indy grabbed for the Idol! Ahhhhh….

  52. arl84 says:

    I too am not very happy with this story.

    It’s not the cereal company’s fault they have to stay in business. These are hard economic times for everyone.

    It’s one thing to post stories that keep consumers aware of what’s happening, but this is a thinly veiled attack on Kellogg’s – A senior citizen on the box and an adventure spoon? It’s Harrison fucking Ford, and that’s Indiana fucking Jones! Would you be saying that if Gandalf was on the box, and it was “the one spoon?” or if it was Emperor Palpatine and it was a “Lightspoon?”

  53. ShadowFalls says:

    When it all comes down to it, all these things are the fault of oil companies, and the government for not doing anything about it.

  54. cabinaero says:

    @TheNerd:
    They monster cereals around but a bit hard to find when its not Halloween. I know Target carries Count all year. The rest should be pretty easy to find early September through October.

  55. planet2334 says:

    Another lesson of always needing to look at the UNIT price in stores. They’ll get people who aren’t looking though. We all need to watch out for stuff like this, it’ll probably happen in bigger ways. But this story does help.

  56. Nofsdad says:

    @sgodun:
    So… why don’t YOU start a consumer advocate site and only allow discussion on the subjects YOU feel are worthy of discussion, if that’s all you’re after?

    Does it occur to YOU that just because you are “fed up” with the content, that doesn’t necessarily mean eveyone else is? Sometimes, it’s just not all about YOU. Get over it.