Grocery Shrink Ray Hits Publix, Yoplait Yogurt

Where did those two ounces of yogurt go? The dreaded grocery shrink ray has blasted them to oblivion, my friends. Not even store brands are safe.

Josh says:

Publix did a great job not making it obvious — they pulled all of each flavor off the shelf before replacing it. But I found that one Mango one in the back and was able to make this comparison.

Speaking of not making it too obvious— these two containers look the same. Why does one have 6 ounces and the other have 4?

if you look at the bottom, that’s where they get you. In the old days, the bottoms were flat. Now, not so much.

If you spot evidence of the ray’s malevolent beam in your grocery store — take a photo and send it to us at tips@consumerist.com — or upload it to Flickr and submit it to our Flickr pool.

(Photos: Listener42

Listener42

Listener42 )

Comments

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  1. PixiePerson says:

    I saw this a few days ago when I went to pick up some yogurt for a recipe. Luckily I only needed 3/4 cup. I was pretty shocked.

    It is going to be super annoying for any recipes that need a cup of yogurt.

  2. Eh, as long as my store still sells Yoplait at 10 for a dollar every other week I could care less about yogurt shrinking.

  3. Carl3000 says:

    Really? Six ounces was too much?

  4. jzief128 says:

    I noticed the same thing last week at Shaw’s Supermarket (an Albertson’s company). The store brand was the last of the yogurts at 8 oz, but now they are all 6 oz. They also did the exact same thing, pulling all the old yogurt and replacing them. I couldn’t even find an 8 oz. to take a picture of.

  5. AD8BC says:

    Walmart* yogurt is still at 8 ounces, I eat one each morning.

    The Yoplait specialty yogurt (specifically, the “whips” here) have been labeled with lower weight for a little while now, at least — probably because the “whips” have more air in the mix and less “whippy yogurt-like substance”

  6. Skankingmike says:

    maybe their giving us the portion size the rest of the world eats?

  7. MakGeek says:

    Yoplait bad example, different products.

  8. danseuse322 says:

    Yes, are we SURE about Yoplait? Comparing a whip to a regular may be inaccurate but I will sure check today!

  9. dh86sj says:

    The Yoplait isn’t a shrink ray thing – one is the ‘Whips’ variety, which is more like a mousse than a yogurt. It’s designed to be less dense.

    I had one of those Publix 8oz yogurts a few months ago – way too much for me. I’ll stick with my 6oz. from Kroger.

  10. Breyers had a great yogurt pro-biotic light until they shrunk it to 6 oz’s. I now buy Shop Rite brand Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt in the 2lb tubs. I now get better per unit costs than the other yogurts, and the containers have lids, so I give them to my relatives to use to hand out leftovers.

  11. muffinpan says:

    @EE: This may surprise you but the post was not about you or “your store”. It was about hidden inflation, paying more but getting less. If you didn’t care, as your post says then you shouldn’t comment. The grocery shrink ray is quietly killing families food budgets. They are paying the same prices and getting far less value for their dollar then they were just a few months ago. These numbers should be included in the government’s inflation data.

  12. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Still though, false bottoms are pretty sleazy. They should just make the whole thing smaller and save some plastic and shipping costs (like those square milk jugs)

  13. Sidecutter says:

    I’m fairly sure yogurt sizes are measured as fluid ounces, not weight ounces. As such, whether it is a whip containing more air/less density Should not mean you get 1/3 less in volume.

  14. bohemian says:

    Hyvee stores did this last year. But I quit buying store brand yogurt when they quit putting the plastic lids on them. The flimsy foil leaks or punctures too easily.

    The “whips” issue? They are selling you air. Edy’s ice cream has a couple of products that are labled some special churn or something like that. There is a fraction of the actual product compared to the regular style. The carton weighs about half of a normal carton of ice cream. This is just another version of the shrink ray, same volume but more air. Triscuts have a version of it. They are selling Triscut thins in the same size box but with about an ounce less product.

  15. AD8BC says:

    @Sidecutter: I was wondering about fluid ounces versus regular ounces but the pictures didn’t show FL OZ, just OZ.

  16. somuch says:

    I was so annoyed when they did this to Stonyfield. It was extra devious:
    First, they got rid of the lid. “Oh, you don’t need that, it’s just waste. If you write us a letter requesting one, we’ll send you a lid to reuse over and over.” The lid enabled you to reuse the yogurt cups for other purposes. Whatever. Gone.
    Next it’s “oh, 8 oz. is way too much for our customers. We are switching to 6 oz.” This was like 5 or 6 years ago.

    It’s is a great food though. I would keep buying it at twice the price. Ok, maybe I’d make a few homemade batches in between, but I’d still buy it!

  17. @Sidecutter: Yogurt is not considered a liquid, but a solid, like cheese and ice cream.

  18. B1663R says:

    you know, maybe these things aren’t shrinking. maybe we’re just getting bigger and it appears that the products have shrunk.

    next time someone notices one of these things check the calorie content. i think that they are portion sizing to 100 calorie maximum.

    just a theory…oh and they are evil for charging the same amount.

  19. TeraGram says:

    If saving money on yogurt is your goal, get the giant tubs of plain yogurt and add your own frozen fruit, fresh fruit or jam. My kid was resistant at first, but quickly realized the benefits and now actively choses what “toppings” go into her snacks.

    On the other hand, I know her school’s art teachers enjoy getting the individual yogurt tubs and lids (washed, of course) to use for paint mixing and other such arty endeavors.

  20. @TeraGram: First, they came for the single-serving yogurts, and I said nothing, for I did not use single-serving yogurt ;)

  21. @muffinpan: I agree on what you stated, the GSR is a large factor of our budget restraints and indeed should be factored. Yet when it reaches a product that is such a low cost to begin with (like yogurt), I don’t see much issue here for this product. That is where my comment was coming from.

  22. TeraGram says:

    @AD8BC: There, right above the 8 or 6 oz designation is an abbreviation that says “Net Wt.” Net weight!

    Also, on the packages that do NOT say “Net Wt.” you may notice that they have another measure, in GRAMS.

  23. famousmortimer78 says:

    Sorry for a somewhat off-topic, but still GSR-related, question.

    If portions in restaurants actually reflected a healthy adult diet, rather than the absurd over-portioning that routinely occurs, would we complain about the devious shrink ray?

  24. @famousmortimer78: Restaurants are an interesting beast. My overall though on the US restaurant biz is that people are inherently frugal, so portion size beats quality/diversity/healthiness almost every time.

    You could probably do a semi-healthy, 3-course, small portion meal…but the restaurant needs the table turns ASAP.

  25. TeraGram says:

    @Ash78: lol… but seriously, the waste generated by the single-serve yogurt industry has always bothered me. Once upon a time, the containers were a waxy-covered paper product which I’m sure still exist in a landfill somewhere, but at least stand a chance at degrading. The solid plastic containers used now-a-days are extremely durable. I know I’m weird, but to simply throw such a container in the trash bothers me and so I don’t, and I also avoid buying them.

  26. mike says:

    I’m not for government regulation but I’m surprised I haven’t heard a peep from elected officials about this.

  27. glennski says:

    Many of the yogurts I buy have an 8 oz. variety and a smaller 6 oz. size. It’s two seperate sku’s, seperately priced that get mixed together often times. I’ve bought the larger ones on accident paying more than I had thought initially.

  28. AaronZ says:

    Damn! 4oz of yogurt is a “serving”? I thought it was lame when it went from 8 -> 6.

    And the Yoplait ‘Whips’ shown in the pic are like 50% air to begin with.
    95 cents for 2 ounces of actual substance? Screw that.

  29. @TeraGram: I’m with you on that…almost all of my foods are portioned down from larger packages. There are so many great, small packagin options out there from Ziploc and Glad and Tupperware, there’s little reason not to do it.

  30. jag164 says:

    This is where marketing geniuses miss the barrel of fish. Everyone knows the cost of everything is going up. Just increase the cost. Same with the damn airlines and the hidden fees all over the place. Just incorporate it with the cost.

    Aside from that, The “Shrink Ray” doesn’t bother me so much if the the size of the packaging shrinks as well. If you’re sleazy and try to hide the fact you’re shrinking then I just won’t buy the stuff anymore if I notice…..I’m looking at you Pop-Secret popcorn!!

  31. punkrawka says:

    I eat regular Yoplait (non-Whips) every morning, so if I see those go down to 4 oz I will pitch a fit (and accomplish nothing). So far my guess is that the author did compare two unlike things to reach this conclusion — hopefully the regular Yoplait will evade the almighty shrink ray. 4 oz of yogurt is not a serving.

  32. Jackasimov says:

    I’m waiting for Yoplait “Spoonies”. An individually wrapped spoon with 1 “serving” of yogurt on it. Can’t go much lower than that I reckon. Yoplait Droppers, anyone?

    Can we now hear more about gas costing 4.05 a gallon, then in teeny little letters at the bottom it says “with car wash”. Pisses me off royally. Saudi royally.

  33. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @famousmortimer78: If they didn’t lower prices in a proportionate fashion? YES.

  34. smonk says:

    With all this shrinkage I think there is an interesting issue…the price signs quote a price and per ounce price for the old size, so it’s really not the price for the new product. I.E. Let’s say something was 10oz. and was selling for $1.00, the per ounce would be 10cents.

    They are putting up a new pack, let’s say 8oz. that is unpriced…so couldn’t you argue with the store that a new 8oz. package should be 80 cents? It might work until they change their price signs.

    I’d try it myself but I don’t buy the stuff that’s been shrinking.

  35. getjustin says:

    Ha! Saw this last night. I grabbed a bunch of 8oz. while they still exist. I really like the extra two ounces, seriously. Just charge me $.15 more, I’ll pay it.

  36. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    @Git Em SteveDave wants a Lego build buddy: Ice cream is considered a liquid for some reason and that’s why it’s sold as pints and quarts.

  37. Red_Eye says:

    So now every recipe that calls for one cup of yogurt will be off?

    WTF show some stones publix and just raise the price! My appetite didnt shrink by 2 ounces so to get 8 oz I have to buy 1.3 product.

    The recipes just imagine the huge increase in profits if cream cheese manufacturers did this, why having to buy two of something to complete any recipe what a great idea!

    For this I hate you publix.

  38. @BloggyMcBlogBlog: I was thinking sour cream, but wrote ice cream. D’oh

  39. TeraGram says:

    @Red_Eye: Go ahead and hate Publix if you must (I do because of their stupid name) but I’d lay money that Publix was not the instigator of the shrink ray. Rather, the yogurt manufacturers decided to shift product sizes.

  40. Gopher bond says:

    I make my own yogurt, it’s easy to make a huge batch and I can add whatever sweetener/fruit I want.

    I’ve noticed that it’s mostly brand names using the shrink ray. Probably because of the need to cover the marketing and advertising budget.

  41. This is the only black mark I can spot on an otherwise top-notch retailer. In fact, I think I’m going to write them about this.

    Publix is a shining star among all retailers, not just grocers. I bet they’ll make a change if enough shoppers complain.

  42. FrankTheTank says:

    This is getting tiresome.

    WE GET IT.

    Instead of raising prices, companies are shrinking the offering. You should also look at shampoo bottles that have bigger openings (so that you subconsciously use more product) or products that “recommend” using more than is necessary.

    These would actually be interesting…

  43. darkrose says:

    Not for nuthin, but I’ve pretty regularly shopped at Publix for most of my 33 years on earth, and I can tell you that they’ve had 2 sizes of yogurt for a while now. It’s too hard to see in the pictures, but the price tag looks like it says “12-6oz” so this proves nothing, really other than maybe someone didn’t stock the right thing in the right place or some customer opted for the smaller size.

    Frankly, I prefer the smaller servings, but that’s just me.

  44. syndprod says:

    The only place I can still find 8oz. yogurt cups is Wawa (for you in PA-DE-NJ-MD), where they are 99c each. In the regular grocery stores, every single brand has been hit by the shrink ray since about the beginning of this year. I’m hoping Wawa will hold out.

    And I miss the extra plastic lids! Not only could you then reuse the cups, they provided extra protection for the foil lid so it wouldn’t tear or slice open in your bag.

  45. RogueSophist says:

    Dude, Yoplait Whips have been around for years. It’s airier. Some people like it, presumably. Regular Yoplait is the same size. A little research is warranted before calling companies out like this.

  46. seaside_swanson says:

    They missed a great marketing opportunity. They could have raised the price and announced each container had 25% fewer calories.

  47. theblackdog says:

    @muffinpan: Actually that’s the company’s secret way to make inflation seem less to the govt. A good part of inflation data comes from surveys of consumers and what they’re spending their money on. So the companies can give you less product for the same price, and if you don’t notice, guess what, your food budget looks the same, and therefore the price of goods doesn’t quite go up as much as it should have.

  48. bobfromboston says:

    I don’t get the outrage. If the size/price of the product isn’t worth it to you, don’t buy it. Buy the big containers, add some fruit, and you have a cheaper and *much* healthier product. Get some Tupperware and reuse it, rather than contributing to more waste.

    As for the plastic lids: I applaud the companies that have done away with this ridiculous example of wasting natural resources and polluting our planet. Gas is nearing $5 a gallon, and people are crying about not getting a petroleum-based lid on their daily yogurt.

  49. bizzz says:

    just noticed the shrink ray with kitchen garbage bags. Same size box, went from 70 bags to 55 bags. New price same as old price (at least at Home Depot where I bought them)

    I have an old and new box with the numbers on the side sitting at home, just too lazy to take a pic and send it in.

  50. Raise prices or shrink sizes.

    Pretty simple choices.

    It is called inflation. Nobody wants to use the word. Neither of the major candidates will use the word.

    I will.

    We are in a period of inflation.

  51. Agent007 says:

    …….

  52. airhed13 says:

    Is there some reason the shrink ray isn’t hitting restaurants, too? I’d definitely prefer to get smaller portions for the same price when I eat out as opposed to the current trend of getting the same (already too-large) portions for more $$$.

  53. punkrawka says:

    @FrankTheTank: Consumerist has done stories about that, at least with deceptive laundry detergent cups that prod you to use more than necessary. It’s all part of the same practice.

  54. azntg says:

    @Corporate-Shill: You’ve said that a gazillion times. I’ve agreed with that statement a gazillion times.

    I think the general concensus (though it’s not unilateral, make no mistake) that many of us would rather see price going up rather (which is a clearly visible and noticeable change) rather than containers secretly shrinking (which many mfgs. have taken great pains to avoid disclosing or make obvious) and ultimately misleading us on a price per unit basis.

    Hence, I believe the Consumerist has a good point to be on this crusade to expose the grocery shrink ray.

  55. britne says:

    uhh… the yoplait whips were always 4oz, and the regulars 6oz.
    air or not, the chocolate mousse one is *damn* good.

  56. somuch says:

    @bobfromboston: gotta defend myself here:
    a) The yogurt from the store comes in some sort of container no matter what size you buy—->
    b) Yogurt is a lunchbox mainstay in my family —->
    c) If I take the yogurt out of large container, transfer to small container, there is still only a 75% chance that I will be able to reuse that small container (thrown away by pre-schoolers, crushed in backpacks, lost at the office, etc.—->
    d) what have we gained by buying in large containers? (besides that large containers come with lids)

    Also, my environmental halo is untarnishable:
    Our family:
    does not own a car
    does not fly (we take a car trip once a year for vacation)
    lives in an apartment building
    and uses cloth diapers

    We are far from perfect (faint hum of air conditioner…)
    but I feel really, really comfortable wanting an 8 oz. Stonyfield yogurt with a cap. ‘kay?

    (this comment should be read with the lightheartedness with which it was written– not sanctimony.)

  57. Boy, that’s the ultimate in sneakiness!

  58. @AD8BC: i can second that. Whips is like mousse. Also it’s very tasty, and it weighs less than a regular yogurt of the same volume. Always has. This is not another strike of the shrink-ray.

  59. @dh86sj: beat me to it.

  60. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    @Sidecutter:

    I’m fairly sure yogurt sizes are measured as fluid ounces, not weight ounces.

    Right next to the ounces measurement is grams, which is mass.@Applekid:

    Still though, false bottoms are pretty sleazy. They should just make the whole thing smaller and save some plastic and shipping costs (like those square milk jugs)

    Yes, they are sleazy. I wonder if in this case the indentations actually make them easier to stack? The top of one fits inside the bottom of another?@AaronZ:

    And the Yoplait ‘Whips’ shown in the pic are like 50% air to begin with.
    95 cents for 2 ounces of actual substance? Screw that.

    Read closely. The units are of mass, not volume.

  61. @Sidecutter: If it were Fluid Ounces it would say Fluid Ounces, like this: “8 FL OZ”. It’s not, and it doesn’t.

  62. @TeraGram: Marketing idea for those of you planning on trying this with your kids: “It will be just like Coldstone only with yogurt! Choose any 2 Mix-Ins.”
    /Calling the Reese’s Pieces.

  63. notallcompaniesareevil says:

    One thing that irks me is the snarky attitude some editors take with their writing, but it only makes them look uninformed:

    these two containers look the same. Why does one have 6 ounces and the other have 4?

    The answer is they are different products. One is a whipped product with a lot of air, one is not. Is that too hard to understand? Or (as I think is the case) the editors are so eager to yell and scream “evil corporation!” all common sense seems to immediately evacuate their collective brain?
    It’s getting old, really.
    There is a lot of stuff this site needs to fight for, a lot of injustice continues to infect our society. Making up false claims about yogurt sizes only hurts that broader mission.
    Thanks.

  64. D0rk says:

    I work at a Publix(well, putting in my 2-week notice today), and I stock dairy the majority of my time working.

    The pictures are certainly misleading in terms of Yoplait. The Whips have been 4oz for as long as I can remember, it’s not the shrink ray getting to them.

    I can’t really attest to the indented bottoms being a byproduct of a previous shrink-ray, but they are far from new and make the product much easier to handle because their narrow top makes stacking difficult otherwise. You can’t call that a shrink-ray effect unless you’re willing to prove there was some point previously where they were 2oz or so larger and didn’t have false bottoms.

    And, to defend the reputation of Publix, they’ve been making strides to keep prices down. I’ve looked at price/cost histories for some products and can clearly see there are plenty of products that Publix is cutting the extra costs from the manufacturer out of their profits by not raising consumer prices anywhere near as much as what the manufacturers are.

  65. synergy says:

    The Yoplait has been shrinking. I think I remember there being a 12oz since. I’m not 100% on that, though, so don’t blast me. I definitely remember 10oz, though. Now it’s down to 6oz. Sheesh.

  66. Savage says:

    In the future we’ll be buying big containers of yogurt that are 0 ounces (0 grams) and we’ll be happy to get that much! The grocery shrink ray is too powerful, yet not powerful enough to work on our bellies!

  67. whatdoyoucare says:

    If you eat a lot of yogurt then it might be worth looking at buying a yogurt maker from amazon (or other store). All you need to do for mine is take some 1/2 c. of plain yogurt and add 4 cups of milk. Bring it to a certain temp. (110 F I think) and place it in the yogurt machine(really just a warmer) for about 4 hours. After you get it to the consistancy you like then take out 1/2 cup for the next batch then add sugar or splenda. Refrigerate for a while and eat it like you normally would. Mmm-mmm.

    There is even a method for doing it without purchasing a warmer so google it if you want to learn more.

  68. RChris173 says:

    omg…I shop at Publix all the time (South Florida) and I’m quite shocked…I buy this yogurt a lot too…

  69. bwcbwc says:

    Rats. Publix was just about the last holdout with true 8 oz. yogurt containers. I predict their ice cream will shrink from the true half gallon size to 3 pints real soon now too.

  70. stezton says:

    If Publix wanted to do something with the yogurt, they could get rid of some of the HORRIBLE flavors they have.

  71. Josh R. says:

    @Applekid: That’s exactly the point I was making.

    @everyone_else: The Yoplait picture was just to show the containers and the bottoms. I know they were different types of yogurt.

  72. Breach says:

    Honestly I like the grocery shrink ray, maybe everything will shrink down to an actual serving instead of 1.2-2x as much.

    Hopefully that shrink ray will hit America’s fat ass along with smaller groceries.

  73. SisterHavana says:

    Jewel yogurt’s been hit by the shrink ray too. Luckily, Meijer still sells 8oz containers of yogurt.