Grocery Growth Ray To Hit Ketchup, Chips

A grocery growth ray is set to hit a popular condiment and several kinds of baked corn with names ending “tos.” To push the brands as being good values, Heinz will be selling slightly larger ketchup bottles, and Frito-Lay is adding 20% to Tostitos, Fritos, Cheetos and Doritos – without raising the price. Unlike the grocery shrink ray, you can bet this change will be loudly trumpeted on the package.

Consumer-Goods Makers Heed ‘Paycheck Cycle’ [WSJ] (Thanks to RandomHookup!)


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  1. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Here’s to good news first thing in the morning!

    [Raises cup of coffee to America]

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Don’t they put it on the package regardless to make you *think* you’re getting a better deal. It’s marketing working against you because you think “Oh well they’d never advertise a smaller size!”

    We’ve seen plenty of examples of products with “New! Now 10.5 ounces!” which makes you think oh, it must’ve been 10 before, when in actuality it was 12.

  3. boxjockey68 says:

    Good news indeed!
    I will be inclined to buy the larger sizes…as long as it’s a good deal.

  4. CyrusOpeth says:

    And Target will raise the price by 10% for each when they put them on the shelves as a “buy two and save!” item.

  5. Acolyte says:

    It’s a trap everybody run while you still can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    So three months ago, the ketchup bottle was 12 ounces for $3. Two months ago, it was shrunk to 10.5 ounces for $3. Now it will be increased to 12 ounces and the package will say NEW LARGER SIZE and the price will go to $3.50. Sneaky marketers

  7. shepd says:

    This will be an easy way to add 20% to the bottle while adding 50% to the price tag.

    I stopped buying “real” ketchup a long time ago, about the time the generics became less than 1/4 of the price of the real thing. Sure, they’re not as nice, but I’ve found all you need to do is add some salt. Or sometimes vinegar. And for the price difference, I just don’t mind that much.

    My personal favourite subs: Aylmer’s and Hunts. Unfortunately, the grocers only sell these when Heniz product price breaks the $4 mark on the most popular size (can’t remember, but I think it’s something like 750 mL to 1 L).

    • Pibbs says:

      @shepd: I just grab the packets from McDonalds.

      • shepd says:


        All the McDonald’s (and pretty much everywhere else) here have been hiding them behind the counter. You have to ask for them, and then you have to specify just how many you want if you don’t just want one or two. They’d balk at giving you 10 or 20, or if you’re not a take-out customer. :)

        For those wondering how everyone gets ketchup with their eat-in meals, they usually have those gross condiment pumps (which are usually empty) and sample cups.

        Actually, for ketchup, it’s been so long since I’ve found “restaurants” with packets, I bought a box of packets (~500 for $8… I still can’t figure out why they hide them, can’t be the price) for my desk at work. Stays fresher longer than a bottle and it’s still 4L, so it’s still a reasonably good value in this case.

    • SJActress says:


      I don’t mind Hunts ketchup, but the jerks managed to squeeze gluten into it, so now I can’t buy it anymore.

    • orlo says:

      @shepd: Make your own. Not the same, but better.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @orlo: While I’m at it…I’ll grow a farm for my food needs, a timber forest for my paper needs, and I’ll chisel a car for myself out of a block of steel made from melted down paper clips….

        That or I’ll take a second to realize that the thing that makes modern society great is the whole division of labor thing.

  8. starrion says:

    More Fritos…..

    This is good news indeed.

  9. savdavid says:

    They will probably claim they are trying to help Americans out in these tough times, bless their hearts. However, in a year or two watch the companies slowly and quietly reduce the sizes again.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is great news. Companies have continued to down-size packaging claiming that it maintains sales volume by keeping a ‘price point’. I’ve had my fill of these HIDDEN price increases and have stopped buying tuna and ice cream for just that reason. The consumers only recourse is to speak with your feet.

  11. Blueskylaw says:

    This will be like the store close to me that raised the price of white american cheese from $3.99 to $5.99 then trumpeted a great sale at $4.99 a little later on.

  12. bohemian says:

    They probably changed the ketchup formula again. Probably more corn syrup and water along with some tomato flavoring added.

    I quit buying ketchup after the last bottle. It didn’t even taste like ketchup, more like vinegar laced goo. There are some decent make your own ketchup recipes out there and much tastier.

    As for the growth ray, what is the catch? I am guessing it was the shrink ray then the un-shrink ray marketed as growth.

    • Beerad says:

      @bohemian: “vinegar laced goo”

      Yep, that’s about right, and it’s what makes ketchup the finest condiment in history. It’s allegedly one of the few rare substances to tingle all five of the taste sensations simultaneously, including the mysterious “umami.” I loves me some ketchup. Who needs tomatoes?

  13. mariospants says:

    Damn, I read “Grocery Growth Ray to Hit Ketchup Chips”, and as anyone else who’s a fan knows, you can’t have enough Ketchup Chips.

  14. brendanm14 says:

    is this a permanent thing? Otherwise these are just bonus pack (10% more for FREE!) items that will only be around for a short term to gain some share away from other brands.

  15. johnarlington says:

    Of course this will just restore Tostitos to the original size. A few months back, I noticed that Tostitos went from 16 oz to 13.5 oz with no reduction in price.

  16. Hank Scorpio says:

    I really, really hate to continue an annoying internet “meme” (almost as much as I hate that stupid word), but here it is:

    1. Quietly reduce product size.
    2. Return product back to original size, but with “Now X% more FREE!” on package.
    3. Profit.

    • Pumapayam says:

      @Hank Scorpio: That’s exactly what’s happening, you nailed it!

    • dave23 says:

      @Hank Scorpio: Mr. Scorpion, I like the fact that someone finally figured out Phase 2. Now what do I do with all of this underwear?

      • dave23 says:

        “Unlike the grocery shrink ray, you can bet this change will be loudly trumpeted on the package” – When I read this, I laughed out loud with a mental picture of a container of ice cream. The package proudly states; “NOW WITH 25% LESS FOR FREE”

  17. emona says:

    Call me cynical, but I’d rather get a better deal on veggies or eggs.

    Chips and ketchup? No thanks, but how about lowering that $4/gallon milk price?

    I know, I know, it’s not that simple. But still.

    • karlrove says:

      @emona: move to the midwest. it’s under 3 bucks in ohio.

    • Alex Duzik says:

      @emona: I bought a gallon of 2% in Des Moines at a regular grocery store for $2.69 last week. Today, I saw gas for $1.49. Seriously, everything is cheaper here.

      • Fermina Daza says:

        @Alex Duzik: Salaries are probably also lower…

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @Alex Duzik: That’s about what it is in Virginia…and usually everything in VA is way more! Check the Costco by Jordan Creek…they usually have the best deal for decent milk (Iowa Milk > Florida milk, which tastes like water).

        @emona: Eggs are cheep…or would you like them to squeeze a 6th chicken into the battery cage?

    • shepd says:


      $5.49 a “gallon” (actually for a total of 4 L of milk divided into three bags) in most grocery stores when you go across the border. $3.97 in Walmart, but that’s a heavily advertised loss leader, IMHO.

      Of course, I’m lactose intolerant, so I don’t care, but my wife drinks it like it’s going out of style. :(

  18. jamisonfitz says:

    Perhaps with Pepsi and Snapple removing HFCS Heinz decided to give us more of it for our buck, i actually thought i was reading yet another shrink ray post for a minute.

  19. Pibbs says:

    I used to buy nothing but store brand chips, but they strangely started disappearing off of Stop and Shop’s shelves. At least I can still get cheapo chips at Aldi.

    I’m going to stick with the lessons I learned at the Chuck Garabedian Mega-Savings Seminar. Nothing but 33 cent stores and canned plankton for me!

  20. ekthesy says:

    Hooray! More GMO tomatoes, GMO corn and high-fructose corn syrup is just what this country needs.

  21. geeky_reader says:

    When I bought Tostitos for the Super Bowl, I thought all of the bags, or at least the contents, looked smaller than usual. Did the shrink before and now they are de-shrinking?

  22. knightracer says:

    All Frito-Lay brand chips have shrunk every year. So by increasing their current bag sizes, the bags will probably only as big as they were a year ago yet still smaller than what they were 2 years ago.

  23. Fermina Daza says:

    It’s unfortunate that we’re getting a “deal” on chips and ketchup, the junkiest of the junk foods. What about unprocessed food?

    • David Brodbeck says:

      @Fermina Daza: I kind of feel like the “organic” craze made produce and other unprocessed foods seem like luxury items, and the prices went up accordingly.

  24. Vanilla5 says:

    I took this picture in the grocery store the other day. It wasn’t the only bag like that either.

    • nybiker says:

      @Vanilla5: Yeah, but look at all that “air” (or whatever gas it is) you’re getting to keep those NCAA BOWL GAME chips nice and in one piece. You don’t want crumbs with your NCAA BOWL GAME Salsa do you?

  25. fuzzymuffins says:

    it’s always the american way to make worthless calories more palatable to a fat nation.

  26. RandomHookup says:

    It’s like Viagra for consumer packaged goods.

  27. plutonyum says:

    I think the 114oz Heinz ketchup bottle at Costco is $3.79. One of those short squat ones with the 6″ wide lid. There’s value there!

    Doesn’t come with a pump like it should, but I have a paint sprayer that works fabulously. An even coat of ketchup every time.

  28. relax_guy says:

    mmm ketchup chips, a canadian delicacy.

  29. theblackdog says:

    Will this be done for Baked cheetos as well?

  30. MisterE says:

    I think they’ll just increase the size of the bag and puff more air into it.

    • catnapped says:

      @MisterE: Nope, I think they’ll boldly proclaim “same price as smaller size” as a promotional price (and eat the loss), then jack it up within a few months to where it’s higher per ounce than the old one.

  31. Wombatish says:

    The rest of the story (the whole, “cycle of promotions timed around paychecks” thing) was much, much more disturbing/interesting than some packages getting larger.