Brawny Paper Towels Shrink By 20% While Price Goes up 6%

Yet another common product has been hit with the shrinking ray—this time it’s Brawny paper towels, which Jason noticed recently received a new package design, apparently to disguise that there are now fewer sheets and a higher price.

Today at the store I picked up some Brawny paper towels. Specifically, the 8 roll pick-a-size ones. I try to use paper towels only for really messy stuff like coffee grounds and stuff. These are nice since the area of each towel is smaller than most other ones, so I don’t have to use a big towel for a small spill. Anyway, I noticed they changed the package design, as well as that the price increased from $5.98, which is what it’s been for the 6+ months I’ve been buying this brand, to $6.36.
After I got home I compared the dimensions listed on the package to those listed on the previous package of Brawny 8 roll pick a size paper towels that I purchased. On the previous package of Brawny paper towels that I purchased it says that each roll has 110 2-ply paper towels and a total area of 403.3 square feet. On the new package of Brawny paper towels it says that each roll has 88 2-ply paper towels and a total area of 322.6 square feet. So the price went up 6%, while the number and area of the paper towels on each roll decreased by 20%.
On the package of the new Brawny paper towels it claims that they’re now softer & thicker. I don’t know who cares about the softness of paper towels, and if anything the new ones seem less soft. They do seem slightly thicker, though, although the difference is minimal.

This is one of those small-but-offensive ways companies screw over their customers, by sneaking in price increases disguised as reformulated products or packaging. We know why they do it—so nobody can accuse them of suddenly hiking the price by 25%—but we wish new package designs had to clearly display price/size differences between the new product and the previous for, say, a six month period.

“General Mill Will Decrease The Size Of Cereal Boxes, Raise Prices”
“Dial Full Force Soap Bars Now 10% Smaller”
“New Taller Honey Nut Cheerios Box Is 15 Oz Lighter”
“Cadbury: Our Eggs Aren’t Smaller, You Are Bigger”
“Charmin Rolls Out Shorter Ultra Big Rolls”


Edit Your Comment

  1. meeroom says:

    I want to be the first one to say that I miss the old, mustachioed Brawny man.

  2. Parting says:

    Never heard about this brand ???

  3. mandarin says:


  4. Pro-Pain says:

    More money, less product. No story here, just the same ol same ol. Sad.

  5. mandarin says:

    I just buy the regular Target brand , avoid Brawny

  6. CuriousO says:

    I personally use Viva Paper towels they are the best!

  7. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Yep. Private label WGAS

  8. B says:

    Brawny is more like Scrawny, now.

  9. oakie says:

    why buy name brand for something you’re just gonna throw away anyways?

  10. Maybe this is the diet america needs? I’ve been noticing a lot of food products shrinking too, which is a good thing cause I don’t NEED 64,000 oz of potato chips.

  11. Saboth says:

    Brawny man was investigated by Congress for using illegal steroids. Unfortunately, after getting off the juice, he shrunk a bit.

  12. razremytuxbuddy says:

    Bags of dog food have also been shrinking lately.

  13. evenkevin says:

    At least Hershey’s nickel chocolate bar stayed at 5 cents before it shrank out of existence.

  14. PirateSmurf says:

    use washcloths, not paper towels, its cheaper, re-usable and you save a tree and help reduce trash.

  15. se7a7n7 says:

    They should have a starburst on the package that says “NOW SMALLER & MORE EXPENSIVE!!!”

  16. wickedpixel says:

    Whenever I hear these stories it brings be back to the first time I became aware of product shrinkage. When I was in high school I used to grab a Kudos (granola bar-type snack) on the way out the door to eat on my walk to school. One day I noticed the packaging had changed, boasting “20% less fat!”. I took one from the box and realized the snack bar was smaller. My guess – 20% smaller…

  17. NoWin says:

    @Saboth: +1

  18. joemono says:

    @PirateSmurf: Yes. I know it’s off topic from the idea of shrinking products, but if you have the means to clean cloth towels/napkins, you don’t need paper towels.

  19. forgottenpassword says:

    Doing things like this is a pretty scummy way to treat your customers.

    I am an advocate against the insane amount of laws on the books, but I kinda wish there were regulations against deceptive practices such as this. I wish manufactureres were made to advertise in BOLD all over their product in a very “stand-out” attention-grabbing fashion when ever they macke a change that offers less product for a more expensive price. A way to shamefully advertise that they are screwing over their customers.

  20. silkyjumbo says:

    Yes, I remember buying Archway cookies and realizing that they’d reduced the number of cookies from 12 to 10. And the price keeps climbing. If I have to stop eating cookies, you will read about my rampage in the news.

  21. Underpants Gnome says:

    403 square feet of pies?! Awesome!

  22. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Food is pretty elastic… you can only eat so much. This is what brought on the “100 calorie packs” and other marketing crap. Selling you smaller servings for the same price under the guise of convenience and knowing that you will buy more frequently. Conveniently, all the size-manipulation allows junk food to be classified as healthy because of the inherently smaller portions.

  23. IamTCM says:

    People paying more for convenience? I’m shocked!

    I thought the lady purchasing 30 individually packaged yogurts at the supermarket was making a smart financial decision!

  24. dorkins says:

    But does he have sleep apnea?

  25. SaraAB87 says:

    I noticed that the marshmallow peeps this year are only coming 2 rows of 5 peeps each to a package instead of 3 rows of 5 peeps each, yet they still cost the same 1$ price that they did last year.

  26. ministan says:

    Get ready for more and more of this. Companies are getting hit HARD by the increase in oil prices. Do you think they’re gonna take it all out of their profits?

  27. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Viva towels smell weird.

    I use the Sam’s Club brand. They are similar to Bounty, but they are considerably cheaper.

  28. reznicek111 says:

    @mandarin: I was at Target last Saturday, and noticed they did the same thing with their store brand towels and toilet paper. The new packages bore a yellow banner reading “New and Improved!” – which in this case meant paying a dollar more for almost a hundred square feet less buttwipe per 6-roll package.

  29. NotATool says:

    @se7a7n7: Exactly. They don’t hesitate to advertise “new and improved” or whenever a product is enhanced. This should go both ways – notify consumers when a product is changed in any way, which would include “NOW SMALLER AND MORE EXPENSIVE!!”

  30. mbz32190 says:

    Just buy the store brand paper towels…even if they are not giving you anything more in terms of quantity, at least the price should be lower.
    I laugh at people who buy “brand name” toilet paper, napkins, laundry detergent, soap, and the like.

  31. ludwigk says:

    Last Halloween, we bought all this candy for the neighborhood kids because we’re cool like that.

    We noticed the “Fun Size” bars are all smaller than they used to be. Just a few years ago, Snickers fun size was almost the same girth as a regular bar, but maybe 1/3 the length. Now, fun size is this thin, anemic little bar that looks like 2 of the tiny square bars (the “midly amusing” size?) put together. Almond Joy fun size now had one almond instead of two. Twix bars were shorter, and the kitkats were oddly short little bars, rather than the sections you get from a full sized bar like it used to be. Kids these days are getting screwed!

  32. SaraAB87 says:

    @ludwigk: We noticed this as well when giving out halloween candy, the fun size bars when I was a kid were so much larger than the ones of today. The ones of today barely give you a bite of candy, especially the Twix bars, you can hardly taste them the portion size is so small.

  33. Gorky says:

    Id rather they leave product sizes the same and jack up the price

  34. mike says:

    This really isn’t anything new. I think this has been going on for at least 10 years.

    I hate it too. It’s sneaky because very few people look at the amount that they actually get. They look at the price.

    Same thing with chips. They say product “may have settled during transit.” But I think it’s because they have taken so much out without changing the size of the bag.

  35. etherealclarity says:

    Everyone seems to be missing the point that this isn’t really the fault of the companies… they’re responding to inflation. Either the product shrinks or the price goes up or both, but it’s not the company cheating you out of your dollar’s worth here, it’s our government.