9 Shrink-Rayed Products To Mourn

LiveCheap has scoured the grocery aisles to discover 9 products that have been reduced by the ubiquitous grocery shrink ray.

One of the products on the shrinking block is Folgers Coffee, which went from a pound to… less than a pound:

Coffee was the original shrinkage sinner many years ago. Once sold in 16 ounce cans (You know, a “Pound of Coffee!”). The industry got creative with escalating coffee prices. Our friends at Folgers and Maxwell House dropped their coffee from 16 ounces to 13 ounces but conveniently explained that the 13 ounces would make the same amount of coffee as the original package because they “puffed” the granules. Sure, if you just make the coffee weaker, you won’t notice the difference. That wasn’t good enough and now their pound of coffee is a tiny 11 to 11.5 ounces for a whopping 30% reduction. Of course, they didn’t bother to change the size of the can so you just get to pay for more air.

Other victims include Haagen Dazs ice cream, StarKist tuna, Tropicana orange juice and Farmer John sausage links.

Which shrink ray victims bother you the most?

Groceries: 9 Foods That Are Shrinking [LiveCheap]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Etoiles says:

    Ice cream bothers me the most! I want to buy 2 quarts — a half-gallon — of ice cream! First they went to 1.75 quarts and now they’re 1.5 even. BOO! HISS!

    • shalegac says:

      I miss Bryers half gallons.

      • Shoelace says:

        I miss all Breyer’s having a very short list of all-natural, recognizable ingredients. As far as I’m concerned they sold out years ago.

    • DangerMouth says:

      Ice cream is my particular pet peeve, I HATE the whole ‘1.5 quart is the new half gallon’ thing going on. Stew Leonards in CT still has half gallons (for under $4) but it’s not the best..

      Also, it seems more and more that ice cream is full of, mostly, air. Someday I’d like to do a comparison of what the different brands actually weigh, it’s suspiciouisly convienient (for the manufacturers) that cereal is sold by weight, but ice cream is sold by volume.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      target still does chocolate and vanilla, their house brand “market pantry” in regular ice cream by the half gallon.
      i haven’t had the vanilla but the chocolate is actually decent, if boring

      but then “light” flavors cost more and come in the 1.5 gallon size


      • ShadowFalls says:

        I know this sometimes goes without saying, but be sure to check the ingredients on cheaper store brand ice cream. You might find those having cheaper ingredient to go along with the price. Target’s brand stuff though seems to be pretty good overall.

    • lockdog says:

      Blue Bell ice cream still comes in a real 1/2 gallon container. The ingredients are still milk, sugar, eggs and cream, and it isn’t whipped full of air. The cheap store brands are so fluffy I can use a table spoon for a scoop. With Blue Bell and a good ice cream scoop I still need to put some muscle into it…as it should be. The stuff is expensive, so we stock up when it is on sale, but it is worth every penny. What is the point of going half way on dessert.

    • baquwards says:

      and it is whipped full of air! I like to buy vanilla and mix grapenuts into it (no really it is good). I buy the container and scoop it all into my kitchenaid mixer, add the grapenuts, mix and put back in the container only to find that now I have a third less volume because I knocked all of the air out of it!

      This is maddening, it is hard to find a true premium ice cream in a container larger than a pint here in NC.

  2. ArcanaJ says:

    “StarKist tuna”

    Is it just me, or has tuna gone from a can full of solid fish to a can full of teensy little fish bits floating in water?

    • Jonbo298 says:

      I’ve noticed that too. Sometimes it’s hit and miss of a solid amount, then others are just bits.

    • qcgallus says:

      It’s a dietary plan–tuna soup. Cuts calories, you know?

    • oloranya says:

      Sounds like you’re buying chunk tuna. Get the stuff labeled solid for the big pieces.

      If you are buying solid and still getting minced tuna… try a different brand.

    • morlo says:

      Yes, quality has fallen for almost all brands. You might have luck with some store brands, but many of them use the same processors and are now terrible too

    • ashmelev says:

      StarKist tuna was pretty bad for a long time, but lately it got even worse.
      One 6oz can of StarKist solid tuna now contains at least 1/2 can of water, the rest is some kind of tuna mush.
      Other brands are cheating too, I’ve yet to see more than 4 oz of tuna in 6oz can.

  3. That's Consumer007 to you says:

    So what is the “solution” to this? Regulation on Food Manufacturers that they have to put on food labels “reduced from previous size of x” for a certain period of time?

    Separately I’ve always wondered why unlike books and magazines, food items in the store don’t have the Manufacturer’s suggested price on the label. Why should there be any difference, in other words, why should food retailers have much more license to mark up product than book retailers?

    • PTB315 says:

      I kinda wish there was a way to enforce standard sizing in these situations. They did this with toilet paper and paper towels at Wegmans here in Central New York. You can’t use the unit pricing to figure out how much you’re getting because it’s all over the place in terms of sheet size. They use “price per 100 sheet count”, but the sheet sizes vary between brands. It makes it extremely difficult to determine what is the best pricing when they’re all different heights AND widths.

      On one hand, people react unreasonably to price increases. On the other, this is a deceitful practice to avoid the unreasonable reaction.

      • ChuckECheese says:

        It’s not unreasonable to get pissed off at greed. An alternate re-write of your comment could be, “Wegmans is using unhelpful unit sizing in order to prevent people from learning they are getting less for more.”

  4. qcgallus says:

    I KNEW Folgers tasted like it had cardboard and other paper bits/dirt mixed in…IT’S THE PUFF!

    You dirty bastards. And Tropicana? Et tu Brute?

  5. Tim says:

    Eh, when my food gets smaller I just eat less of it.

    • TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

      But you’re paying the same amount. For less. Even if you’re eating less as a result (which isn’t necessarily bad) you’re still getting less value for your monies.

    • morlo says:

      Except in the case of Folgers, doing that will kill you

    • ChuckECheese says:

      If you keep that up, our children’s average height will start getting shorter. Or perhaps narrower.

  6. Bohemian says:

    Tuna has to be one of the worst since most recipes are based off of the old standards sized can. Now in order to get a recipe right you need a can and maybe 1/3? Anything that comes in a quantity that is a standard size for many recipes should not be shrunk. Just raise the price.

    Toilet paper has to be the worst. They already started wrapping the rolls looser and giving you less that way. Now the rolls are getting narrower. But toilet paper holders are still the same size and the roll looks pathetic and bangs around on the spindle.

  7. VA_White says:

    The things that bother me most are ingredient items for recipes that call for 1 can of this or that and the recipe assumes a can is 18 ounces but now it’s only 12 and you’ve got to open two cans (probably wasting most of the second can) in order the get the recipe to turn out right.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What really annoys me is when recipes call for “one can” when it doesn’t say how big the one can is. Mom & Pop cookbooks put together by rotary clubs, elementary schools, etc. are the worst at this because they not only use “one can” instead of actual measurements and they put in brand names (one cookbook I have has at least 10 recipes featuring Rotel tomatoes). And a lot of them used processed foods instead of fresh ingredients.

      I didn’t get them willingly…they were my mother in law’s, and there were a few decent recipes. But most of them are duds.

      • Etoiles says:

        I have trouble with some family recipes because of this. Particularly the ones from my husband’s family, which primarily were written two generations ago with brands I never would have heard of (he’s from the south and I’m from Boston). At least his grandmother had the decency to put in an e-mailed version “I look for the 29 oz can,” and while no such thing exists anywhere near me, it tells me the volume I should be aiming for!

        • VA_White says:

          My husband’s grandmother scribbled all that in the margins of her cookbooks. There is still stuff I haven’t figured out precise measurements for but she did write a lot of helpful notes for us. :)

      • floraposte says:

        I’ve got an entertaining one of those from the women’s club in Lae, New Guinea. It’s cool to see what the standard pantry staples would be there and what’s a special treat for the kids.

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        I have an enormous collection of community cookbooks, and quite a few recipes call for a ‘#5 can of [whatever]’ or ‘fifteen cent’s worth of [whatever]’. I’m gradually collecting information about what those numbers actually mean in modern groceries so I (and other people) can give them a go.

      • lockdog says:

        Most of those recipes were probably originally written buy the food processors, perhaps with only limited alteration by Aunt May or whoever the recipe in the cookbook is now attributed too. Processed and canned foods were a relative novelty well into the 1970s, so food processors were always releasing recipes giving consumers suggestions about how to use their products. Most of the are truly awful. A few, like the ubiquitous Thanksgiving green been casserole with durkee onion topping are practically a traditional food now.

  8. oldgraygeek says:

    I buy Kirkland tuna at Costco: it’s better than any other brand I’ve ever tried, and there are still 7 ounces in the can.

  9. FatLynn says:

    This is really a terrible link if I have to click through 9 sites to see the info. I give up.

  10. vladthepaler says:

    I no longer buy Breyer’s ice cream because of the shrinkage. So I guess that’s top of my list.

    Tropicana, for me, is overpriced: i can’t taste a difference between it and Three Buck OJ at Trader Joe’s.

    • lucky929 says:

      I stopped buying ice cream when they started shrinking it, too. It made me feel kind of ripped off when I picked up a carton and realized it was a lot smaller. Now the only time I buy it is when Wegman’s puts it on sale for like 1.99 for Edy’s/Dreyer’s. I love me that French Silk.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I can taste a huge difference in Tropicana compared to the generic store brand. The only store brand OJ I like that I’ve tried is Wegmans.

    • catnapped says:

      Well unfortunately you’re up the creek with ice cream since most everybody else followed the shrinkage scam.

      I’m figuring the standard size will be down to 40 oz within the next two or three years tops.

      • Bohemian says:

        Ironically this was the thing that caused us to quit buying ice cream. We really should not be eating it on a regular basis anyways. So when everyone started shrinking their products I just quit buying them. Instead we have been making more things like pudding, brownies etc. Not exactly health food but less calories and fat than ice cream.

        So if we want ice cream we either go to Coldstone as an occasional treat or make ice cream with our ice cream maker.

  11. SugarMag says:

    Agree with the tuna and recipe problem.
    Recipes call for 1 or 2 cans (6 or 12 oz). It isn’t like pasta or peas – it really makes a difference if you do not use enough tuna. It will promote waste when addl cans are opened.

    Why dont they just raise the price on stuff? I’d rather pay more, get the same amount, and shop less/use less bags. It is very frustrating that companies choose to go this way instead of just raising the frickin’ price!

    • Dont lump me into your 99%! says:

      Its all about perception, if you dont realize you are getting less, you will be less upset. Ofcourse that back fires when you find out you have been deceived.

      We should all go on hunger strike to protest this practice.

    • bitslammer says:

      I’d actually switch to a company that was honest and just raised the price instead of trying to sneak this shrinkage in or make lame excuses about why they are doing it “for the consumer.”

      I’m actually interesting in how far this can go. Will we eventually be buying yogurt in little thimble sized cups, or will they someday start pumping air bubbles into the product to reduce things. The containers can only go so small before they have to start back over with realistic sizes.

      Luckily I usually buy things in bulk (from Costco/trader Joe’s, etc.) and then portion them out to use or freeze. This seems far cheaper and saves the waste of all that extra packaging.

    • morlo says:

      Most tuna went up 50-100% in price anyway. Don’t know why they hesitated about another 20%

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Substitute salmon for tuna.

      /qu’ils mangent du saumon

  12. LESSTHANKIND says:

    It wouldn’t be as bad if the price at least stayed the same (obviously they wouldn’t lower it), but they reduce the size by 25% AND raise the price. One or the other, people. Not both.

  13. bitslammer says:

    I’d actually switch to a company that was honest and just raised the price instead of trying to sneak this shrinkage in or make lame excuses about why they are doing it “for the consumer.”

    I’m actually interesting in how far this can go. Will we eventually be buying yogurt in little thimble sized cups, or will they someday start pumping air bubbles into the product to reduce things. The containers can only go so small before they have to start back over with realistic sizes.

    Luckily I usually buy things in bulk (from Costco/trader Joe’s, etc.) and then portion them out to use or freeze. This seems far cheaper and saves the waste of all that extra packaging.

    • Cantras says:

      “Will we eventually be buying yogurt in little thimble sized cups, or will they someday start pumping air bubbles into the product to reduce things.”

      You’ve just described any dairy product sold as “whipped” other than whipped cream (which actually has a use).

    • Bohemian says:

      We have shifted more of our purchasing to items that are sold by weight and not packaged. Produce, meat, rice etc. The prices on those things have gone up but you know exactly what your getting and the price increases were less than with things like ice cream.

  14. Geekybiker says:

    I have to agree that the recipe thing is annoying. I was trying to make stuffing for thanksgiving and the recipies called for 16oz of sausage. However several of the tube in store were 12oz when I went looking.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      What kind of sausage were you using? All of the raw sausage you see in the meat section would be in pounds, so you would be able to get 16 oz. What tubes of sausage are you talking about?

  15. heinzs says:

    How about “blog page sizes?” Spreading this out to one item per page to up ad revenue is a ridiculously good example.

    • PTB315 says:

      Great point. I love it when Fark calls sites out for arranging information in this manner, its obnoxious.

  16. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Not a grocery store item, but I walked into a Jersey Mike’s sub shop a few weeks ago and ordered up a “regular number 13” and was not pleased to see them cut a roll in half to start making my sandwich. “I ordered a regular” said I. “This is regular, you can order giant if you want more” I was told. I told them forget it and walked out.

    Time was when a regular was almost enough for two meals. Sigh….

    • JediJohn82 says:

      You must be thinking of Subway. They use an entire roll for their regular.

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        I’m more than positive that I know where I was, especially since I don’t ever go to Subway. (Or Quiznos, or Jimmy Johns . . . )

      • econobiker says:

        People accustomed to subway et al couldn’t handle the name “regular” on the massive full roll sandwich Jersey Mikes makes so hence the change to Regular for Half and Giant for a whole.

    • econobiker says:

      They changed that a while ago. Just go back to ordering a half or full and you will be ok. It still is alot better than the Subway anorexically made sandwiches…

      econobiker: proud patron of Jersey Mikes #1 in Point Pleasant, NJ

  17. Patriot says:

    One of the most disturbing shrink ray jobs I’ve seen this holiday season has been that of cranberry sauce! Shame on Ocean Spray for shrinking their standard 16 ounce can to a 14 ounce can. The store brand where I shop has (so far) kept their can size at 16 ounces (and is cheaper to boot) so from here on out I’m going with the store brand.

  18. Nogard13 says:

    I don’t care if they shrink an item or not. I’m comparing brands by cost per unit. So long as all vendors don’t do it, those that sell their units cheaper will get my business.

    As an example, I walked into a grocery store the other day to purchase some orange juice. I compared all brands and found that the Tropicana was cheaper per ounce, even though it was only 59 ounces in the carton, so I went with them.

  19. Blueskylaw says:

    If you have seen the “new” Tropicana orange juice container with only 59 ounces instead of 64 it just looks wrong. When you reduce a tin can to 15 ounces from 16 the can stays the same but when I’ve been looking at half gallon containers for a few decades now and they suddenly make it smaller it really puts me off from buying them anymore, even if they’re on sale.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Here in Phoenix they are marketing (test marketing? i don’t know) Coke products in 2-packs of 50 oz bottles. I will guess that these 2 bottles cost slightly less than 2 – 64 oz bottles, but considerably more per ounce.

  20. MaytagRepairman says:

    I have a favorite recipe for a cream cheese frosting that takes two packages of a size that has been around for years but if I can still find it in that size it is much more expensive than buying a larger brick of cream cheese and cutting the ounce or two I don’t need off of the end and eating it spread out on crackers.

  21. mobilene says:

    I mind the shrinkage less than the deception. I understand that there is a psychological component to pricing and the shrink ray is a way of sidestepping it. But I don’t like how it always feels like they’re trying to get a fast one by me when they use the shrink ray.

  22. The_Red_Monkey says:

    Just raise the darn prices. People are stupid and they will whine but everyone has to do it. If it were me running the ice cream company I would make it a half gallon again and raise the price and advertise it as a “New Bigger Size”!

  23. driver905 says:

    It is a tie between breakfast cereal and pasta.
    We have recipes which use either a pound or a half pound of noodles – what the f do you do with a 12oz box of noodles?!?
    I also really hate those tall, but really thin, 8.9 oz boxes of cereal. What a massive waste of packaging and overabundance of landfill fodder!
    The shrink ray is not just bad for consumers pocketbook, but hell on the environment too.

  24. Bryan Price says:

    Dreamfields Pasta. It still talks as if there’s a pound of pasta in the box, but there’s only 13 oz now.

  25. Total Casual says:

    I’ve simply stopped buying ice cream in cartons-I’m not interested in buying a product where the price-per-unit is constantly increasing. Klondike bars on the other hand-maybe they’re shrinking too, but there’s still six in a pack!

    Something I’ve wondered about-when different agencies release data about inflation in consumer goods prices, are they taking into account the Shrink Ray effect? Prices in dollars stay about the same but the consumer gets less product-so inflation is actually occurring, right?

  26. kelmeister says:

    I don’t know if they changed the size of the bottle or not, but I just bought some Ajax dish soap and it seems like they watered it down. I’ve gone through a third of the bottle in just a couple of weeks, because when I tip the bottle up, the soap just pours out. I always end up getting way more than I need. I could swear it used to have the consistency of a thin gel. I’ve been thinking about getting a pump dispenser to try and cut down on the waste.

  27. bulljargon says:

    We just need to call the companies and leave sincere, yet hilarious, complaints like Randy Taylor did here: https://consumerist.com/2007/11/devoted-customer-upset-jimmy-dean-downsized-sausage-16oz-to-12oz-but-charges-same-price.html

  28. BrianneG78 says:

    Dutch Boy paint fits on this list. You get slightly less than a gallon now.

  29. theblackdog says:

    This is why I make my own cookies at home.

  30. jd74 says:

    Personally, I’m kind of glad about the Hagen Daas shrinkage. Less calories and fat per each container. Yes, I’m on a per-container basis.

  31. dotkat says:

    Kroger shortbread Christmas cookies! Not only did they apply the shrink ray to the box as a whole; they also shrunk the size of the cookie. Of course, the price stayed the same as last year’s larger cookie and box. Sigh.

  32. sybann says:

    …the ones that aren’t working on my waistline.

  33. Chargeback says:

    Where is that Jimmy Dean Sausage guy, you know the Texas man :)

  34. weedpindle says:

    Hellmann’s Mayonnaise is now whipped. Was a separate product labeled as whipped, now it doesn’t say whipped but it is. Less product in the jar, sold as liquid measurement, not weight.