Kraft Wants You To Know That The Grocery Shrink Ray Did NOT Zap Their Italian Dressing!

Reader Max writes in to let us know that Kraft’s Zesty Italian Dressing has (allegedly) not been hit by the dreaded grocery shrink ray– a fact that they proudly display right on the bottle!

Max says:

While I typically do not keep track of either the price or size fluctuations of my ordinary grocery purchases, this label jumped out at me. The label, for Kraft Italian salad dressing, prominently boasts “Still 16oz!”. Whether this is a marketing reacting to the increased awareness of the ‘grocery shrink ray’ I cannot be certain. Unfortunately I do not have the price comparison available to see if Kraft has simply raised the price while keeping the same amount of salad dressing.

Resist, Kraft. Resist!


Edit Your Comment

  1. FatLynn says:

    It is really expensive for companies to change their packaging. If a company raises their price on the existing packaging, I would have to guess that it is less per unit/ounce/pound/whatever than if they charge the same amount for a smaller package.

  2. That’s common when the package shape changes. It’s been going on for years as a way to prevent a small consumer backlash.

    Thought I do appreciate that companies recognize that the shrink ray is going on.

  3. blue_duck says:

    I’m a ranch type of gal myself, but it is nice to know that they’re letting consumers know that they are aware of what’s going on.

  4. ediebeale says:

    This was on the bottle of light ranch I bought last night, and I immediately thought of Consumerist.

  5. seismic007 says:

    Kraft redesigned their mayonnaise packaging a while back, and has more recently changed to a new label design as well. I expected the shrink ray to attack their mayonnaise (with both container and label redesign), but to date I am still purchasing 32oz. mayonnaise containers. Hellman’s (Best on the other side of the Mississippi), on the other hand, has reduced their mayonnaise from 32 oz. to 30 oz. Maybe (just maybe!) Kraft is going to be a little more upfront with rising costs than other manufacturers; increasing price when necessary instead of decreasing product quantity.

  6. I think I know where they’re making up the difference. All of Kraft’s new lines of gourmet and organic dressings, where the price per ounce is well beyond 3x the price the regular dressing. So no need for shrink ray…line expansion FTW!

  7. Kraft recently re-designed their salad dressing bottles, in addition to the new look, they added the bottles were still 16 oz letting the customers know that even though they changed the look of the bottle you still got 16 oz of salad coating goodness.

  8. catcherintheeye says:

    Unfortunately, in addition to changing the packaging, they’ve also created “Fresh New Flavors!” – the new Catalina is downright awful. Anyone had success with the new tastes?

  9. @catcherintheeye: All the non-sweet and non-creamy flavors are pretty good, in my book.

    Asian sesame is outstanding
    Most of the vinaigrette variants range from decent to great
    The vidalia onion is pretty good, too

  10. kerry says:

    @catcherintheeye: Wait, can you not get the old Catalina? That’s one of my favorites because nothing else tastes quite like it. Yeargh, I’m gonna be pissed if they’ve ruined Catalina for good.

  11. EllenRose says:

    I remember “still X ounces” on many packages. Usually it was a prelude to shrinkage. They want to get the “still the same” meme into our heads. Then the contents shrink by Y ounces, and the label shrinks by no longer containing “still”.

  12. bobbleheadr says:

    @Ash78: Definately second on the Vidalia Onion. Im not a big salad eater but its great for a veggie dipper.

  13. jesdynf says:

    Putting aside any questions of quality, what would be wrong if they DID raise the price? The problem with the grocery shrink ray is deception.

    Keeping a 16oz price but subtly shrinking the bottle to 14oz is a wicked thing. Charging whatever they want for the 16oz bottle is not.

  14. fuzzymuffins says:

    “STILL” actually means “we’re going to be changing it very soon”

    always remember as a kid comic books boasted “STILL 25 cents”…. and a a price raise was not far behind.

  15. AZTriGuy says:

    I got some dressing Saturday and saw this same thing, immediately thought of the shrink ray. Saw two different sized ice cream containers too (the 1.75 vs 1.5 quart sizes) . . . got the bigger one of course.

  16. aristan says:

    They’ve been promoting the “Still 16 oz” a lot. It’s definitely because of the package change. The bottle looks a lot less wide, but it’s thicker. The “Still 16 oz” tab (It doesn’t go all the way around the neck of the bottle, it’s just on the front) also serves as the outer seal for the cap.

    When they redid the Mayo Jars, they got a lot of complains because it went from a regular round jar to a rectangle tub. They got a lot of complaints & the “Still 32 oz!” appeared. I guess Kraft learned it’s lesson when it comes to major packaging changes. I like the new mayo container because it fits in the fridge door better & seems to take up less space. Plus it has the little “scraper” lip on one side so I can get all the mayo of the knife.

    Sign up for Kraft’s junk mail magazine. Every time I’ve gotten one (about every 3 months) I get a coupon for a free bottle of Kraft dressing & a bunch of recipes.

  17. catcherintheeye says:

    @Ash78: I’ll have to try those, because Catalina broke my heart.

    @kerry: Nope, new flavor only, at least in Chicago. I’ve resorted to going to dollar stores and WalMarts in hopes of finding expired bottles nobody wants purely so I can have my old Catalina back.

  18. aloe vera says:

    @kerry and @catcherintheeye: I’m bummed about the new Catalina too. One of our favorite chicken recipes involves marinating in Catalina and freshly ground black pepper then grilling.

    Delish. Although, I haven’t noticed a significant difference in taste when eating Catalina this way. I became aware of the new recipe just by looking at the dressing which now contains black specks.

  19. NumberFiveIsAlive says:

    If they put ‘Still (insert weight) one package, I’m going to assume all Kraft products that don’t have that label have had their weight changed.

  20. NumberFiveIsAlive says:

    … ON one package that is.

  21. @fuzzymuffins: “STILL” actually means “we’re going to be changing it very soon”

    At least, it’s not going to stop them from changing it. I almost sent a in a photo of Science Diet Nature’s Best that said “Still 8.5 lbs!”, but that turned out to be nothing but a false assurance before I got around to it. Gotta be careful with bestowing praise on someone who asks for it.

  22. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Wormfather: STILL 10 INCHES!!!

    That’s right, I went there.

  23. randomizer9 says:

    They aren’t the only ones bragging: []

    I have a sudden urge for some Rocky Road

  24. They don’t have to shrink it. They only have to replace expensive additives for crappier ones.

  25. wonderkind says:

    Mayo is disgusting.

  26. ejg930 says:

    @ediebeale: Me too. I had a bottle of Italian, and I knew that this would be up soon. Can’t wait until they DO shrink the package, the backlash will be great.

  27. Sherryness says:

    @catcherintheeye: I’m guessing they upped the high-fructose corn syrup content.

  28. scerwup says:

    Has anyone seen the BlueBell ice cream commercial where they are showing all the products that are now smaller sizes. Then at the end, they show a half gallon of BlueBell and say, BlueBell, the only half-gallon that is always a half-gallon. I like that commercial.

  29. azntg says:

    It’s still 16oz… after we watered down the sauce a bit more, m’kay?

  30. Overheal says:

    Well at least they have a sense of humour.

  31. goodkitty says:

    Oh, this is how the corporate grindstone is going to ‘educate’ consumers on how to be ripped off without making them feel bad.

    1980: We’re giving you 8 extra ounces, FREE!
    1990: We’re giving you 4 extra ounces, FREE for a limited time only.
    2000: We’re still giving you the same amount we always have!
    2010: We’re ripping you off less than everyone else!
    2020: 1 in 3 chance of this bottle being more than half-full, for a limited time only!

  32. TVarmy says:

    What’s this? No obligatory foodie objection to a Kraft food item? Fine, I’ll bite.

    Make your own vinnegarette! Take something acidic, something with emulsifiers, and oil, and you have a great low-fat salad dressing! I personally like white wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Dijon or horseradish mustard. Lemon juice and lime juice are also great options, and feel free to toss in little aromatics, like shallots and herbs. Whisk together, or put them all together in a mason jar and shake. What’s nice with the mason jar is that you can keep it in the fridge like you do with the bottled stuff.

  33. TVarmy says:

    @goodkitty: The basic idea is that the companies want us to buy more of their product while looking competitive with other companies. Supersizing started off so that companies would be able to get people to buy more when prices for the ingredients were lower. Consumers liked this, because they felt they were getting a better deal, and companies liked this as it got customers to buy more, and also subtly encouraged consumers to eat more of the product, especially in the case of single serve containers. Consider sodas. First, there were 8 oz glass bottles, 1 cup, standard size for a drink. When sugar got cheap, the size went up to a 12 oz aluminum can. Nowadays, thanks to very cheap corn syrup, we have 20 oz plastic bottles. Nixon-era subsidiary reforms encouraged a surplus of corn, so now it’s really cheap to make processed foods.

    However, for the first time in a while, food is starting to cost more. Food companies are still loathe to change prices, so now they shrink food rather than enlarging it. This, however, is environmentally irresponsible and hurts consumer confidence. I honestly would understand a price increase, although it would probably influence my buying habits more than a shrunken container I didn’t notice.

    If I had my druthers, everyone would sell everything in mason jars in half gallon, quart, and pint sizes and recycling places would just sell the unbroken containers back to the company.

  34. TVarmy says:

    Hmm, I referenced mason jars twice in one thread. I feel I should make it clear that I am a system administrator at a financial planning firm. I do not, and never intend, to manufacture or sell mason jars. Just thought I should put that out there, what with the new comment policy.

  35. drcate says:

    I think the problem with Kraft Italian dressing goes way beyond the Grocery Shrink you alluded to in your article. The stuff is also killing you. I wrote more about that here: