The story may be well and established already, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from their food product and package shrink-a-dink rampage. Here’s 34 more victims of The Grocery Shrink Ray spotted by the all-volunteer Consumerist tipster army, 25 of which are viewable using advanced pop-up slideshow technology…
Note: The photo gallery was malfunctioning yesterday, so now that everything is fixed, I’m moving the post back up the page.
Click on a picture below to see it larger and read the tipster’s dispatch.
Rich writes: “Boo-hoo. Noticed in my office snack shop today: My favorite pack, 17-sticks, of Big Red chewing gum is now only 15-sticks. Same price. Found this press item: “This cool new pack will make these brands more contemporary and give them a better presence on the shelf,” President and Chief Executive Bill Perez said. Should also improve their profits!!!
Michael writes: “We normally buy 40 lb bags of Canidae brand dog food for our dogs. This week the 40 lb bag has now mysteriously transformed into a 35 lb bag, and of course the price is the same. Maybe it’s for our convenience that the bags are lighter.”
Dale writes: “The shrink ray has hit Burger King waffle cone. On Wed & Sun, they are only $1.29 (used to be $0.99) I noticed that not only has it shrunk in size, but the waffle cone taste terrible. Seems like they switched manufactures to make the waffle cone part. Maybe they only use the cheep cones on Wed & Sun.”
Rich writes: “You might want to investigate so called “solid pack” White Albacore Tuna, most notably Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee. They now contain an inordinate amount of water in their packaging…After draining the can there is far less tuna and far less “solid” chuncks, about one third of the product looks like counter-scrapings. “
Lee writes: “I have noticed in the local Wal Mart (Washington Square Shopping Center, near Ferry Farm, in Fredericksburg, Virginia) that they rolled back the price on the large bags of Meow Mix cat chow from $10.26 down to $10 even. What they did not tell you was that the bags have shrunk from 18 lbs down to 16 lbs. I wish I had photos of this but they tend to frown on people taking pictures inside of the store.”
Jonas writes: “Dreyers Ice Cream has also gone to !.5 Quarts = 48 oz.
Dreyers is Nestle
1/2 Gallon = 64 oz
1,75 Quarts = 56 oz
1.50 Quarts = 48 oz”
Anda writes: “Great, I thought. I’ll finally be able to get that last little bit I lose to the rim of the can. Nice, square plastic pop-top canister, but a little more compact. I was completely suspicious. I work in graphic design and packaging, so I know what a redesign means for the consumer. I decided to check out the bottle ratio on the back. Lo and behold, Similac is trying to pull one over on the poor consumer. The large canister now only makes 27 6oz bottles at the same price of $22.99.”
Raymond writes: “Folgers coffee (100 Colombian) just got attacked by the mighty Grocery Shrink Ray. Can’t get a pic because of quality, but it had 988 grams and now as 798; a fifth of the original amount gone.”
Chris writes: “My name is Chris and I work at Safeway/Vons. The product in question is Tuna Helper. Today in checkout someone bought about eight boxes of it, and six failed to scan (item not found). Me and the other checker turned them over to find that the last 5 digits of the UPC were different. I began looking over the boxes…until I looked at the weight. The boxes that wouldn’t scan (I’m guessing because they haven’t been put in our system yet) are 7.1 Ounces, while the older boxes were 8 ounces. Side-by-side, you can’t tell the difference between the two boxes, as the cardboard part of the box is the same exact size. Only the contents inside have changed in quantity. This is the first instance I’ve ever seen of this happening, and I’m not sure of it spreading anywhere outside of California. I’m also unsure of if it affects Hamburger Helper as well.”
BettiePageMommie writes: “I had been buying my son Nutripals fruit bars for snacks since he is a very picky eater and I thought it would be a nutritious snack he could have and enjoy.
The bars in the first few boxes I purchased were of decent size, length and width- wise. Length- wise, I would say they are about 5- 6 inches and I’d say width- wise, about the size of two pinky fingers beside each other. Then more recently I bought a box and the bars are HALF the size width- wise than what I had been receiving. SAME PRICE, less product. These things can go for as much as $3.50- 5 for a box of 6, depending on where you shop. I feel jipped.
I don’t have any pictures to upload because my son has already eaten the bigger bars, and we only have the small crappy sized bars left. I doubt I’ll be buying them again. They do have drinks you can buy, and my son loves those. I haven’t seen a size reduction in those. YET.”
“We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns about our new 89 oz SNAP Cap bottle.
Our decision to improve our bottle was not recent. Based upon feedback from families where children pour their own juice, we began working on this new package concept more than two years ago. The idea was to have an innovative cap that easily and securely sealed just by pressing on it, and one that easily poured without “glugging,” the primary reason for spilling.
The downsizing from 96 to 89 ounces wasn’t a decision we took lightly. As you are aware, oil costs have skyrocketed. Oil is used to make plastic bottles, fuel our factories, and ship our juice across the country in refrigerated trains and trucks. We had the choice to either increase prices or to downsize the bottle. We chose to downsize the bottle but add value through the innovation of the SNAP cap and new bottle, which consumers were seeking.
Although you may not agree with our decisions, we hope you can appreciate that they were made in the best interest of our consumers and shareholders. Please be assured that feedback from consumers, such as yourself, does influence decisions, and your comments have been shared with our marketing group.
We value your business, Glen, and have mailed coupons to use toward a future purchase. Again, thanks for your input and sharing your concerns.
Tropicana Consumer Response”
- Even comic strip Baldo has noticed the grocery shrink ray trend.
- Burger King is testing a smaller Whopper. [Restaurant News]
- QFT, now that’s a headline! WSJ: Food Makers Scrimp on Ingredients In an Effort to Fatten Their Profits
- The New York Times chimes in.”Ate a Whole Pint? Check Again“
For ideas on defeating the shrinking-product-same-price phenom, read 3 Ways To Beat The Grocery Shrink Ray.
Got a hot grocery-shrink-ray tip? Send your pictures and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org