April 28, 2010

Shrinking Packages

When I got my $.99 Peter Pan peanut butter at Festival last night I noticed it wasn't an 18 oz. container. I did a little research and I haven't been paying attention for too long... peanut butter packages shrunk over a year ago! This week Piggly Wiggly has Skippy for $1.49 which isn't a great price and it's made worse by the fact that it is, again, the smaller 16.3 ounce jar.

Companies are trying to cut back and save money. I understand that. Instead of raising prices (which might affect customer loyalty) they lower package sizes and hope customers don't notice. What I don't agree with is the deceptive practices, like making the jar appear the same size while using an large indent in the bottom of the jar to reduce the amount inside. Did you ever notice the manufacturers are always more than happy to point out when a package has "33% more" or "25% more free" but no one points out that containers are now "15% smaller"?

Then manufacturers make up lame excuses for reducing the size. Tropicana says they decreased the size of their juice container so it "poured easier with less spillage and less gurgling." Kraft Foods said they downsized Chips Ahoy cookies to offset the cost of a new package that keeps cookies fresher longer. Well, frankly, I'm sure most people are more concerned about cost than gurgling or special packaging. But maybe I'm out of touch.

Downsized packaging might be a good reason to take a few minutes to send an email to a company and let them know you aren't happy about the change. Who knows what excuse they will give you for the decrease but along with their response you might get a couple coupons to make it worth your time. 

No matter what the reason for the decrease in size is, we as consumers have to continue to pay attention to prices, especially unit prices. Buying groceries is a game and it's two against one, us against the manufacturers and stores.

Have you notice any shrinking packages lately?

Quotes from Yahoo Finance


Anonymous said...

We noticed shrinking packages many years ago when we still had kids in diapers. Just like what you noticed, the price stayed the same but the number of diapers was less.

Kris K

Shelly said...


So true! Diapers are the WORST about decreasing the quantity and keeping (or worse raising) the price. But at least you can see the package is shrinking!

Filling a 96 oz. juice container with 89 oz. is just plain deceptive.

Vivian said...

Most definitely, I've been following these deceptive practices for years and it does get quite under my skin. I first noticed it back in 2003 or 2004 when they shrunk the sugar containers - I had recently been to a sugar packing plant where we discussed 5 lb packages - but a year or so later, they were no longer 5 lbs, but 4 lbs. while you can "see" the difference, most people didn't even realize it. I was probably most angry when the Lloyd's BBQ company put a HUGE dent in the bottom of their container, reducing the size by MANY ounces - so mad I've probably only bought 2 in the past 5 years. They have shrunk the size of candy bars and kept the packaging the same; Reese's for sure are smaller than they used to be. You will notice they even scoot around IN the packaging. I also believe mounds bars are smaller. I've seen it with other stuff too but right now those are the ones that come to mind - it makes me mad for the same reason. It is DECEPTIVE!

ericah78 said...

Finished off a skimpy Skippy jar today and opened a JIF and noticed that they put "18oz." in big bold lettering on the label. Made me chuckle. The jars look exactly the same size, so JIF is trying to point out that they're not skimping. :-)