Orville Redenbacher Is The Latest Victim Of The Grocery Shrink Ray

Popcorn, as its name implies, tends to expand when you cook it (otherwise, you’re just eating “corn”). But while Orville Redenbacher’s caramel popcorn presumably still gets larger when you pop it into the microwave, you are now getting less food for your popcorn-buying dollar.

Consumerist reader Norm sent in these side-by-side photos of two equally priced packages of the product, which shows all signs of being zapped by the patented Grocery Shrink Ray.

The packaging confirms that you are indeed getting both less caramel and popcorn than you were before.

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  1. Blueskylaw says:

    We listened to our customer demands.

  2. sirwired says:

    Actually you are getting the same amount of corn… notice the grams remained unchanged at 62. It looks like they simply no longer round up to 2.2 oz; they present the more exact value of 2.18oz.

    • Marlin says:

      127g – 13.3oz – 378g

      to

      102.05g – 11.57oz – 328g

      Something is smaller/less.

    • dolemite says:

      Well the “pouches” went down from 4.5 to 3.6…so less caramel to put on your popcorn?

    • CrazyEyed says:

      You missed the difference in pouches though. Original was at 127g and new at a considerably less 102.05g. The overall weight is significantly different. Either they used lighter packaging, reduced the amount of product or both.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        He said the amount of corn is the same. He didn’t dispute the amount of caramel had changed.

        • CrazyEyed says:

          Consumerist says corn and caramel is less yet he says the amount of corn is the same by highlighting the slight difference in bags. I think he was incorrectly attributing the bag size to amounts of corn. Seems as if the bag size has gone unchanged but the pouch (internal contents) has reduced, hense why consumerist would conclude that corn and caramel has decreased.

          • MutantMonkey says:

            What are you talking about? The amount of corn in each of the two packages is 62 grams as per the images above.

            • CrazyEyed says:

              Again you are attributing bag size to amount of corn when its the pouch that has decreased significantly.

              • MutantMonkey says:

                The bag of corn has not decreased in size.

                No one is arguing that the amount of caramel has not decreased in size.

                • CrazyEyed says:

                  I think we are confusing eachother. The bag that the corn is contained in has not changed and we both have finally agreed on that I disagreed when sirwired said “Actually you are getting the same amount of corn.” You are not getting the same amount of corn. The bag is the same size which gives the illusion you are getting the same corn when the net weight clearly shows the contents within that bag have decreased.

                • CrazyEyed says:

                  Wait, wait a second. I see what you are saying. The caramel comes in a different package from the popcorn meaning you have the poor the caramel separate? I always thought caramel popcorn was already premixed thats why I was arguing the case for less contents all together (corn and caramel). I retract my previous arguments.

          • sirwired says:

            The “pouch” refers to the caramel, the “bag” refers to the corn. The caramel is applied to the corn after popping, so it is in a separate pouch. (If the caramel was microwaved, it’d burn.)

      • MutantMonkey says:

        What makes you think he missed anything. He qualified what he was talking about, corn, because the Consumerist post says, “The packaging confirms that you are indeed getting both less caramel and popcorn than you were before.”

  3. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    At least it’s 100% Whole Grain Popcorn

    Seriously, they felt the need to add that its WHOLE GRAIN? *headdesk*

    • Anathema777 says:

      Honestly, they probably did marketing tests and realized that there were those who didn’t realize that popcorn is a whole grain. It’s smart to advertise it.

      • Anachronism says:

        Many people don’t realize corn is a grain, period. I didn’t- I was even more surprised to find that popcorn is a whole grain.

        That said, that doesn’t magically make popcorn heathly.

        • CrazyEyed says:

          Popcorn itself is pretty healthy. Even with butter, you can get a decent amount around 100 calories. Still one of the healthier snack foods around.

        • OutPastPluto says:

          Of course popcorn is “whole grain”. It’s the entire corn kernel.

          The fact that you blow it up and slather butter on it doesn’t change this fact.

        • Peri Duncan says:

          Actually, popcorn is pretty healthy. It’s what you put on it, and how much, that can change that fact.

  4. HomerSimpson says:

    It’s even worse with some of their gourmet varieties…4 bags in a box but each of them is less than half the size of a normal bag of popcorn (so in essence they took one whole bag away)

  5. longfeltwant says:

    When this came up in my Google Reader, I was confused because the BEFORE and AFTER pics were switched. The BEFORE pic showed the smaller portions. I assume Consumerist realized and fixed the mistake.

    The bad image is still available here:

    http://consumerist.com/assets_c/2012/06/Orvillebeforeafter-thumb-650×336-59883.png

    Note that BEFORE the sizes are 2.18, 3.6 and 11.57 OZ, whereas AFTER are 2.2, 4.5, and 13.3 OZ.

  6. AllanG54 says:

    They’re just beating Bloomberg to the punch. After he gets the soda size reduced he’s working on snack foods.

  7. BigHeadEd says:

    But is there corn syrup, I mean corn sugar, in the caramel? That is more important to me than portion size.

    On an related note, my all time favorite sneak-past-the-censors move was when Orville himself said in one of his first commercials “there’s no old maids in here, they’re all popped.”

  8. Schildkrote says:

    Ten days! This may be the longest span between Grocery Shrink Ray filler posts yet.

  9. voogru says:

    These are the results of inflation.

  10. gman863 says:

    Orville Redenbacher – Now With 20% Fewer Calories Per Bag!

  11. u1itn0w2day says:

    Dollar store popcorn has gone from a 4 bag 11oz package to a 3 bag 8 oz package. They also used to sell 14oz bag of premade popcorn then reduced that to 11oz and now it’s a 9oz. I suspect most popcorn comes out of the same factories using the same suppliers.

  12. vliam says:

    I’d just like to know where Norm found this stuff.

    I live in Indiana about 45 miles from a ConAgra plant that packages Orville Redenbacher products. None of the local groceries carry microwavable caramel corn.

    In Texas, every store I went to had it.

    Indiana blows. The fact that you can’t buy a locally produced product probably explains the problems with the economy here.

  13. scurvycapn says:

    Protip: Stop buying microwave popcorn. I just bought a new jar of Orville Redenbacher because I am almost out, and it is the same size as the jar purchased last year (30oz). It’s a lot cheaper by the ounce as well compared to the microwave variety.

    • OutPastPluto says:

      I had a real hoot when Alton Brown on Good Eats was seeking out the perfect bowl of popcorn. The solution turned out to be a little overwrought but essentially was the same process as we used when I was a kid growing up in the trailer park.

      The foodie goes full circle.

    • vliam says:

      I could save a lot more by bicycling to work.

      /also, not gonna happen

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      I buy popcorn kernels in a bag, and pop them in my air popper, adding real butter butter, and a little garlic powder. Yumm!

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Better yet, get it from the bulk bin at Whole Foods or other market with bulk bins and pay 1/2 what you pay for a jar. Then, proceed to pop it in a bit of coconut oil in a heavy pot with a lid. Top with a little real butter, salt, pepper, and parm and you have something really special. It’s a treat for sure, but it’s about the best popcorn you will ever taste.

  14. sp4rxx says:

    State Fair is another company blasted by the ‘shrink ray’.

    I recently had a craving for corn dogs, as I hadn’t had them for awhile. I went to the store, bought the big 20 or 24 pack and took them home. When I opened the package, All the corn dogs SHRUNK!!! It wasn’t just some malformed dog on a stick with breading – they were literally about 20-25% smaller than they used to be.

    I’m kind of getting sick of this – especially when they charge the same amount of money for less food. It wouldn’t be so bad if they lowered costs too, but GEESH!

  15. craftman says:

    I guess they could have reduced the suggested retail price accordingly, but maybe the original size of the caramel pouch was just too much for how much popcorn there was? Should have figured that out during product development, but who knows, maybe there were a lot of customers with a big pool of un-absorbed caramel at the bottom of their bowls?

  16. Deeya says:

    I’m willing to bet this is an attempt to hide those sneaky trans fats (2g, if I recall) that each serving of this popcorn contains. I loved it, until I checked the label. :(

  17. dush says:

    Since they are giving you less sugary caramel to dump on I’m surprised they aren’t advertising this as healthier.

  18. human_shield says:

    This happened months ago with their Extreme Butter version. They changed to this crappy “pop bowl”, and of course reduced the size of the bags. It prompted me to buy a Whirley Pop and some big bags of popcorn kernels and I haven’t looked back!