3 New Victims Of The Grocery Shrink Ray: Cookie Crisp, Oreos, And Finish Detergent

What do Cookie Crisp cereal, Double Stuf Oreos, and Finish dish detergent have in common? None of them are particularly good for you if you eat them, even if the first two are delicious in moderation. Yet all three were recently hit by the Grocery Shrink Ray, making each Finish tablet a tiny bit smaller, reducing the amount of cereal in the box by more than 20%, and giving consumers four fewer Double Stuf Oreos in a package. When will the indignities end?

K. found that Finish, the dishwasher tablets formerly known as Electrasol, shrank ever-so-slightly. At least, the ones available from Costco have.

I purchased the Finish dishwasher detergent tabs from Costco in [redacted]. Both cans contain 100 tabs but the total weight has dropped from 72 ounces to 70.9 ounces.


When Greg noticed that 4.2 ounces had been shaved off a box of Cookie Crisp, but Walmart was still charging $3.50, he promptly fled the country. (Or went back to Canada when his business trip was over…same thing.) A box once containing 19.8 ounces now contains 15.6 ounces. That’s almost 21% less. Ouch.


Then I found a Shrink Ray victim of my own while grocery shopping this past weekend. The Double Stuf Oreos package shrank from 18 ounces to 16.6, meaning that it now contains about four fewer cookies per package.




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  1. myCatCracksMeUp says:

    The constant grocery shrink ray really bugs me. I don’t use any of these products, but it keeps happening to everything. I really wish they’d just increase the price instead.

    The two shrinks that bug me the most are yogurt going from 8 oz to 6 oz, and toilet paper shrinking in width so that it looks funny on the toilet paper holders.

    • CalicoGal says:

      Yeah the yogurt thing really makes me angry…

      • eturowski says:

        But now they can market each container of yogurt as having fewer calories…

        • cheezfri says:

          I just saw some carb-friendly hamburger buns in my local grocery store today. They were smaller and flatter than the regular ones. So yeah, I guess that WOULD make them have less carbs!

          • hbkawachi says:

            Yeah, Pepperidge Farms used to sell this bread for dieters. It was much thinner than regular bread so of course it had less calories!

    • evnmorlo says:

      Tuna and spaghetti sauce shrinkage were also particularly bad

    • nybiker says:

      My GSR pet peeves are:

      1. Tuna cans
      2. Dannon Yogurt
      3. Potato chips (now down to 3.75 ounces per regular size bag). I had to eat 2 bags last night to feel satisfied. Good thing the deli keeps them at 99cents per bag (a sale price).
      4. Ice Cream & fresh OJ no longer in half-gallons. Same for H-D ice cream in 14-ounce ‘pint’ containers. At least Ben & Jerry’s still comes in 16 ounces.
      5. Oreos in general shrinking. My memory of them tells me that a regular cookie had more cream filing than they do now. I think a double-stuff looks like the old-time regular cookie.

      All this writing about snacks has me hungry.

  2. SphinxRB says:

    Nabisco Honey Graham crackers have shrunk twice, in qty and overall size. Don’t these stupid companies realize this stratagy will only go so far. Eventually the box will be empty. If you have to raise the price, raise it, everything goes up anyway. Leave our food alone!

    • UberGeek says:

      Actually, there is no limit to this strategy. You can keep shrinking the larger size to the point it equals what the smaller size used to be, stop producing the smaller size and start selling a new “economy” size. Then continue shrinking. Eventually you’ll have to drop another small size and introduce a new “economy” size again. It is still raising prices, just in a deceitful manner. I think that’s called “marketing”. ;)

  3. Foot_Note says:

    i dont think of it as “grocery shrink ray” but as “screwing the consumer” :(

  4. balthisar says:

    Dish detergent isn’t a grocery item!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It is, since groceries “refer to food and other everyday products that people are used to buying when they shop for food. Groceries include food, beverages, tobacco, home chemical products, household papers, magazines and cosmetics” or “consumer goods sold by a grocer.”

  5. KillerBee says:

    As long as one tab of Finish still adequately washes my dishes, I don’t really care if it’s a hair smaller. I mean, we’re talking about 0.011 ounces per tablet here.

  6. JKulp42757 says:

    I too wish they would just raise the price, instead of making everything smaller.

    However, there is a very good reason why companies are making things smaller, and keeping the price the same.

    The reason at least some companies are doing this, imo, is to make you purchase more.
    For example, let’s say for a dinner, or for company coming over, etc…, you need x amount of an item and no less. Now because of the shrink ray, x is only 80% of what it used to be, so to get the amount of x you need, you have to buy two now….making your total purchase 1.6 of “old x”, instead of the 1.0 you used to buy.

    So in the scenario above, while they haven’t raised the price per package, you are still out more money because you need to purchase an extra package. This effectively raises the price, without raising the price….if that makes sense.

    • Andyb2260 says:

      Prego Pasta Sauce is “guilty” of this. 10 years ago a jar of pasta sauce was 32oz, it then shrank to 30oz then a few years ago it shrank again to 28oz and now a regular jar of pasta sauce is 26oz. The small jar of sauce also shrank from 16oz to 11oz.

  7. spmahn says:

    The smaller sized items, at least as far as cereal go, are usually only stocked by stores to correspond with sales. You can get the smaller sized boxes on sale for about 2 dollars each, or they also offer the larger sized boxes for the usual price for 4 dollars and change. When the cereal isn’t on sale, they don’t offer the smaller size.

  8. Andyb2260 says:

    I think the Cookie Crisp is just two different sizes, it could just be a stocking issue with the store that the guy visited, but I’m almost positive that Cookie Crisp comes in a 12(ok 11.9oz) size, a 15.9oz size and the 19oz size.

  9. Joewithay says:

    I noticed the regular Oreos package shrank from 18 ounces to 16.6 too last time I went shopping. What is the world coming to?

    • MustWarnOthers says:

      Dropping the product from 18 oz to 16.6 is saving the company 1.4 oz per box.

      “That’s 7.7 percent increase in the Oreo bottom line! Ok, that’s enough corporate legwork for one day. Who’s buying lunch?”

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      It’s a MADHOUSE~~~~~~~~

  10. cmdr.sass says:

    Believe it or not, despite the name, Cookie Crisp is nutritionally better than most kid’s breakfast cereals. It’s not as good as Cheerios or Kix, but it beats out most others.Here’s a comparison chart: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/breakfast-cereal.php

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      I sometimes buy the generic from ALDI. It tastes almost exactly the same. And thank you; now I don’t feel so guilty for not always eating Super Bran-Infested Wheat Health Nut Hippie Squares.

      • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

        That’s my wife’s favorite cereal.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I used to eat cookie crisp all the time when I was a kid. It was my favorite cereal. I tried it again a few years ago and it tasted kind of like cardboard.

  11. Silverhawk says:

    I wondered why the Finish tabs were fitting into my dishwasher’s detergent cup better now. I no longer have to place them perfectly to get the door shut.

    This is probably the first grocery shrink ray I’m ok with.

  12. Maximus Pectoralis says:

    The best deal ever was 48-pack boxes of those Finish tabs for ~$3.50 each @ Sams Club due to clearance. I now have enough to last for about 3 years :D The second best was 3-pack of GE BR-30 CFL for ~$2.25 each. Should have enough to last until dimmable LED CFL flood lamps come out for a reasonable price (i.e. not $50+ each)

  13. fsnuffer says:

    I wonder if the Department of Labor calculates the Consumer Price Index on a cost per item basis or a cost per volume basis?

  14. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    I make my own breakfast cookies at home.

  15. sufreak says:

    Did you count the cookies and compare the dishwasher tabs? Does the weight include the packaging? Maybe they reduced some of the materials used?

    I’ve noticed some products are slightly flimsier, which is ok with me.

    • evnmorlo says:

      No, packaging does not count for marked weight or everything would be sold in lead boxes.

    • central_ny_dude says:

      The unit of measure on the package is based on net weight. In other words, weight of the product minus packaging. A lot of packaging now has to do with recycling, and using different materials. Even if they use less material to pack the stuff, it wouldn’t alter the unit measure printed on the package. I know Frito Lay has been doing this with a lot of their product lines.

  16. central_ny_dude says:

    If you look at it from a price standpoint, which would you rather see… increase price for same amount, or same price for smaller amount? Those who buy national brands might look at a price increase as an incentive to switch to a store brand. If you have X dollars to spend on groceries, an increase in price can mean lost sales. Ever notice that prices on things like a “2 Liter of Pepsi” keep going way up? Its because they can’t shrink the “2 liter”.. a “1 3/4 liter” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Raising prices is more easily seen and taken note of, than decrease in product. As a grocery pricing manager, I can tell you increases in price lose more sales than a decrease in product at the same price point.

    • cheezfri says:

      Certain items need to stay the same size, especially if they are being used in a recipe. I had an old pumpkin pie recipe that used a 15 oz can of pumpkin. Now the pumpkin comes in 12 oz in my stores. I had a recipe that uses 1 lb of Jimmy Dean sausage. Now that container comes in 15 oz. And I can’t always find another brand.

  17. Emperor Norton I says:

    Does anyone know if the government is adjusting the Consumer Price Index based on the shrink ray?
    If they aren’t, then the CPI is seriously out of whack & it may take a major lawsuit to straighten it out.
    There are a huge number of seniors & disabled whose Social Security payments won’t rise again for the second year in a row because of this!

  18. Howie411 says:

    Even if the Finish Tabs are smaller, Costco still has a great deal once a year, they do a buy 1 box get 1 free. You essentially pay $13 (used to be $9) for 200 tabs. Go to the grocery store and its like $6 for 40 tabs.

  19. 8TrackMind says:

    In the case of foodstuffs, why don’t you guys call it the “belly shrink ray” or the “diabetes reduction ray”? These companies are actually doing you a favour, reducing the amount of sodium, HFCS and Xanthax Gum you’re ingesting.

  20. Spook Man says:

    I have a new one. I recently separated from my ex. My son (who’s 3) loves the Fisher Price GeoTrax. He has a whole-lotta tracks at his mothers home. So I decided to get him a track for where I’m staying.

    Looking at the box, it looked the same as the first set we bought him about a year ago. Same packaging, price, everything. Except for one thing.

    The new “version” comes with a push only train where-as before it came with one of the remote control versions. How much for the remote control types? $22.

    Freaking cost-cutting.. UGH.. Pushing the train around the track is not as much fun for him as being able to use the remote control and sending the train back and forth..

  21. AllanG54 says:

    Shit. I was always happy with a package of Oreos and a gallon of milk. I guess now I’ll only need half a gallon.

  22. MaxPower says:

    I wonder what the overhead cost is to make new packaging everytime they want to shrink something?

  23. Caged Wisdom says:

    I must be terribly behind the times – when did Cookie Crisp stop using the jailbird/thief guy and his dog?

  24. HeadlessCow says:

    Am I the only one that is concerned by the lack of four oreos in a container that holds 3 oreo columns? How will they balance this out?!

  25. Michael S. says:

    I do not know the weight or ounces that Reese’s Cups candy used to be but they are sure smaller, sure the cost at Wal-Mart is $1.00 or so for eight cups, but I need to eat 2 or 3 to satisfy my sweet tooth when in the day one would it!!

  26. anonyname says:

    Cookie Crisp shrunk from one of their standard box sizes to another of their standard box sizes…no different than thinking a Coke 2-liter bottle had shrunk to 20 ounces after seeing a 20 ounce bottle. Amazon shows both sizes:

  27. kingoftheroad40 says:

    I called Nabisco told them of the article and coupons are on the way .
    8006224726 tell them what you think ,I did and got coupons :)

  28. central_ny_dude says:

    A big reason why you see decreases in product, instead of increases in price, lies in the hands of the number 1 retailer. The cost of production increases, but Walmart demands to only pay $X cost per case. The manufacturers have to either lose money on product or reduce the amount of product in a package. Walmart is big enough, and has enough buying leverage to be able to make demands on costs like that. I’m sure that the top grocery wholesale distributors can make similar demands for the product at a cost. Nabisco can’t pass their increased production costs on to the consumer, while keeping a constant size, because the buyers in the middle wont allow it. Most wholesalers do it, but Walmart has the widespread reputation for being a bully to producers in order to get lower prices on the retail end. You can whine all you want to the producing company, but their hands are fairly well tied up. The buyers look at one figure, cost per case. They don’t care how much of a product is in that case they buy, only the $ figures and profit margins. If you really want to make a difference, you have to go to the companies that are buying the stuff. They hold the power, not the producers.

  29. icepick method says:

    michael angelo’s eggplant parm is another victim, they’ve got both a 12oz and a newer 11oz both sitting in the freezer of my local grocer. suddenly minus 1oz takes it from “servings per container: 2” down to 1 serving.

  30. EriicaLynn says:

    I have been eating Oreo’s since I can remember, 6 a day every night with some milk. Originally there were 36 in a pack. A few months ago they cut 3 cookies out leaving only 33, now within the last few weeks of buying the cookies they cut out 3 more leaving 30. So in total they are cutting out 6, not 4 (I know it was an estimate but I’m just letting everyone know). It’s just so great to know they keep shrink raying the size of the packs, and I’m not sure where everyone else is shopping, but the prices have gone up too! It now costs around 5 dollars just for a pack of oreos. This is getting ridicules. Can’t even describe how disappointed I am in the company that has been getting my business for years.