Helmann’s Spreads It Thin

Provoked by our post on the same, Derrick was enraged that Hellman’s has reduced the size of their mayo jars from 32 to 30 oz, while keeping the same price. He wrote them a letter and here’s how the sandwich Nazis responded:

Hi Derrick,

Thanks for writing!

We apologize for any inconvenience. Hellmann’s/Best Foods has always taken great pride in offering the highest quality products at reasonable and fair prices.

Due to inflationary pressures brought about by the increased costs of raw materials, rather than raise our prices, we chose to reduce the size of the 32 oz quart and 16 oz pint. This is the first time since February 2003 that Hellmann’s/Bestfoods has had to pass along our increase in costs to our consumer.

We appreciate your interest!
Your friends at Hellmann’s

Well, at least they actually read Derrick’s letter and addressed his specific concerns, unlike a certain frosted breakfast treat. Although it is strange that throughout the letter the company is referred to as Hellmann’s/BestFoods, except at the sendoff. Does this mean that BestFoods is/are not our friends?

This is what Derrick originally wrote in the comment box on Hellman’s website:

“Just to let you know, I think it’s horrible that you have “secretly” reduced the size, but not the price, of your 32(now 30) oz Mayo. This is bad marketing, and I’m glad that someone
pointed it out to me. I’ll have to make better choices when I purchase I guess.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. madderhatter says:

    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been “enraged” by the price of mayonaise or the size of the jar.

  2. acceptablerisk says:

    I actually find it commendable that they’re upfront and frank about the concern. They didn’t blow him off or redirect the question. Inflation happens, prices go up. I don’t blame Hellmanns’s for that but I do appreciate it when a company can tell me the truth without trying to shape it though a pile of marketing first.

  3. Mayo is to enrage as T-virus is to zombie.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Two ounces of mayo, what is that, one sandwich?

  5. WMeredith says:

    I find it quite humorous that they’ve worded it as if they are reducing the size of THE quart and THE pint. It’s a little too minitruth for my tastes…

  6. Due to inflationary pressures brought about by the increased costs of raw materials

    Does anyone else find it amusing to hear the use of “inflationary pressures and raw materials” to describe the reason for a price increase in mayo?

    Can’t they just say eggs are more expensive these days or the CEO needs a new yacht or something?

  7. mvigneau says:

    If you buy the Kraft Version with the easy spread lid (the large mouth opening), it says it has 10% more than the leading competitor. And it does at 33oz…so not only do they have a better container that you won’t get your fingers dirty on trying to make a sandwich, they also give you more.

  8. stubar says:

    At the risk of taking on such a trifling issue, I find the Kraft large mouth opening to not be so convenient after all. By nature of the tops design it’s difficult to reach one side of the jar, and the rectangular shape and distinctly raised bottom make complete retrieval nearly impossible. I would conclude with a brazen praise of Hellman’s, but their new supposedly “Easy Out” squeeze bottle doesn’t work at all. Oh well.

  9. But I don’t like Kraft mayo! :(

  10. mschlock says:

    My favorite part of Consumer Reports was always Selling It, on the back cover. This brings back the mem’ries!

    Just like when Dreyer’s decided half gallons weren’t half gallons anymore. Yay!

  11. etinterrapax says:

    WMeredith, I noticed the same thing. It’s as though they’re accomplishing some miracle of geometry, rather than reducing the size of the container, which they are careful not to come right out and admit to doing.

    I confess I find current emphasis on “easy out” mystifying. No one owns a rubber spatula? As far as thrift rewarded by effort is concerned, that’s not a very big pile of effort to expend. Especially not when they’re taking on the BIPM to boot.

  12. Paul D says:

    rather than raise our prices, we chose to reduce the size of the 32 oz quart and 16 oz pint…

    “…which is just a back door way of raising our prices. You’re still getting less for more, sucker.”

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  13. Triteon says:

    New tag line: “Bring out the Hellmann’s and Bring Out 6% Less of the Best!”

  14. mozzer13 says:

    Gee, and here I just thought the concerned folks at Hellmann’s were trying to tell me I’m getting fat. Mayonnaise…mmmmmmm!

  15. Demingite says:

    I appreciated the relative candor of that letter. That candor helps keep my business. (I sure hope the size change is, as they say, a function of inflation in raw materials, and not that the CEO wants another yacht.)

    I agree that Kraft mayonnaise and Hellmann’s mayonnaise are rather different products — I perceive differences in texture, flavor, and appearance.

    Even the rubber spatula trick is messy. Maybe a Nobel prize should go to someone who invents the first truly well-designed mayonnaise jar (or other dispensing vehicle). Although the Nobel committee might not want to reward perfecting the dispensing of a substance that doesn’t exactly support world health.

  16. x23 says:

    “Maybe a Nobel prize should go to someone who invents the first truly well-designed mayonnaise jar (or other dispensing vehicle).”

    seems like the consistency/texture/viscosity of mayo in general would make a toothpaste tube style dispenser applicable. yes? less convenient to store though.

  17. Ishmael says:

    Ooh, I think X23 is on the right track. It could be a bigger tube with a flat, screw-in lid, much like exfoliating creams come in. Then it would stand on end in the fridge, and it could be opaque, so you couldn’t see how much mayo was left inside when you throw it away.

    How many of you are cheap bastards and slit the tube open to get the last little bit?