HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >

Discussion

Smaller & Smaller

Ok, Now I'm pissed. I went to Publix here in south Florida and thought I was really getting a great deal on Sunkist white Albacore Tuna in water. It was a 4 pack all wrapped up in pretty blue plastic. I got home and opened it up to make make special tuna salad. Lo & behold, the freekin cans are as skinny as my ex-husband. How freekin' dare them. My 6 oz. can is now 5 oz. Any other tricks to play on us consumers ? Sorry Charlie, you screwed us all.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. the cans are labeled. it's not a *trick*, and they are not *screwing* you. producers are trying to keep costs low in this economy. simply be a more mindful shopper. caveat emptor, all that.

    1. Something similar happened to me last week. I picked up my usual stuff for mac'n'cheese, went home and started making it. Not until I drained the cooked pasta did I notice there was much less of it than usual. I checked the box - it was exactly the same as it had always been except it now said 12oz instead of 16. I think they even made the pasta a little bigger so it wouldn't settle as much and the box would still look full. The higher cheese/pasta ratio was actually very good and I will adjust my recipe accordingly, but it's the principle of the thing!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mordacity

        Get used to it!!! I used to buy coffee in 1Kg cans (We're French up here in Canada you know) :-)
        Now they are 925 gms. They know we won't notice as we can't count that high with our shoes on and it's too cold to go barefoot.
        Oh...I almost forgot...ask me if the price went down.

      2. Yep, same thing happened to me the other night when I fixed dinner. Grabbed the can and thought Wait a MInute!!! This can is tiny! I could tell the difference right away. After, what? Fifty years of 6 1/2 ounce cans?? Mine was Bumble Bee, I think.

        About two weeks ago, I grabbed a so-called "half gallon" of Edy's ice cream. Oops! Why was that so small? There on the side: 1.5 quarts! At least it was on sale that week, but it's right back up to full price now - but not full size.

        Those are some pretty big drops in volume. 16.6% down on the tuna, 25% on the ice cream.
        Yikes!
        Inflation was 1.3% in January. We currently have the lowest inflation rate since 1954 which is when the stock market finally returned to the pre-1929 stock market crash levels, 25 years after the fall.

        10 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense

          Not getting into the specifics of inflation in times of recession, they are not good things.

          All businesses are deciding between size cuts / price same or size same/ price ups. Instead of looking at inflation as an indicator, look at the profits companies are seeing. horrible.

          and in this environment jfood would prefer same prices versus higher. it's a personal choice, not a right / wrong scenario.

          1. re: MakingSense

            Yep on the Bumble Bee and I noticed that the quality of what's in the can has dropped too...I opened a can of the new smaller size solid white this past weekend and almost swore I was opening a can of cat food...it was quite dark and not very solid. I'm going to check out Whole Foods this week; some of their store brand "365" stuff is really good; last time I was there, the tuna was still 6.5 or 6 ounces.

            1. re: Val

              bumble bee has a low sodium that seems to have a higher quality tuna inside.

              1. re: jfood

                Interesting...the only low sodium tuna I can find in the regular grocery store is chunk light...sorry, not having it...but Whole Foods sells a NO-SODIUM solid white tuna! And, it really is great...also, an independent health food store that I also shop at sells Crown Prince no-sodium solid white tuna...they also sell a lovely Crown Prince low-sodium kippered herring. Thank you, jfood!

                1. re: Val

                  V

                  Bumble Bee is "chunk white"

                  Jfood has always been curious as to the difference between the chunk light, chunk white and solid white.

                  Any help appreciated.

                  jfood grew up onthe

                  1. re: jfood

                    LOL jfood! Damned if I know the diff between chunk light vs. chunk white...all I know is that I don't like them and I want solid white! I'm sure a more knowledgeable 'hound will enlighten us!!!

                    1. re: Val

                      Even more confusing, Trader Joe's "solid light" tuna. It's delicious, but what heck IS it? adam

                      1. re: adamshoe

                        OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                        The corporate bashers are now going to come out of the woodwork and blame some corporate scheme for making up names of tuna to charge more.

                        1. re: adamshoe

                          "Solid" and "chunk" refers to whether the fish is in a solid steak or smaller bits (the catfood consistency some people dislike). White is albacore, white light is usually skipjack or tombo.

                2. re: Val

                  I'm replying to myself here but wanted to give an update on the size of the 365 brand can of tuna...it is still 6 ounces (costs $1.49); haven't opened it yet to see if quality is the same as I remember but I will be having tuna salad sometime this week for sure.

              2. As a business owner, we are always faced with price increases and our rule of thumb is to keep things constant while raising the price, rather than taking something aware from the consumer. Consumers understand price increase, more than giving them less for that same price because then you are taking something from them that they have become accustomed to. I personally would rather have what I know and want to stay the same, but pay more (if I have to choose between keeping same price but reducing the size, time, etc.)

                It's sneaky to try to fool the customer in thinking you aren't taking more from them by giving less, and paying the same.

                But that is marketing isn't it?

                1. Please refer to recent thread re: Haagen Dazs and shrinkage. This has been chapping my hide for years, not so much because of the size decrease, but because lots of older (and newer) recipes call for a 32 oz. jar of mayo, or a 16 oz. package of egg noodles, etc. You can't even make 2 sammiches from a frakkin' 5 or 4 1/2 oz. can of tuna! I realize that prices go up....Duh!!! Just don't change my 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips to 10 oz. because you are frakking w/ my recipes!!! Charge me more, for chrissakes!, I will deal with it. A gallon of gas was 30 cents when I was a tyke in 1969; prices go up, but QUANTITY should remain constant. Just who ARE these focus group morons that determine what the rest of us wind up with? (I can answer that, but mama always said "if you can't say anything nice....) Rant over, Adam

                  1. Coming soon: 3 oz quarter pounders, 10.5 inch feet, and a new season of "22."

                    1. The other side of the reduced quantity is that the ratio of packaging to product goes up. There is more waste produced by the reduced quantity items.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: NVJims

                        Not if they reduce the size of the package.

                        1. re: jfood

                          Even with reduced package size the ratio goes up... A 5 oz can of tuna uses less packaging than a 6 oz can, but not proportionately less.

                          1. re: mpjmph

                            with a can you are correct because of the squaring of the area of the round side. Minus-5 for jfood's test.

                            1. re: jfood

                              Not just with cans either... the surface area to volume ratio increases as size decreases for all shapes. So the smaller ice cream carton has more packaging relative to ounces of ice cream than the larger one, same for the box of cookies and the bag of chips. And that's not even factoring in attempts to make the newly-smaller package looks as big as it used to be.

                              1. re: mpjmph

                                jfood totally unfocused and did not write the formulae to review before posting. Dolt!

                                1. re: jfood

                                  No worries, I'm just a geek who took chemistry and physics for no reason other than personal enjoyment :)

                      2. If you are upset about it, write to the company. get your friends to write. call them, bug them let them know their "focus" groups need new lenses. tell them in explicit terms (as people here have been doing) why they have made a mistake.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          Are you going to stop buying the ice cream and tuna?
                          Didn't think so.
                          Neither will most consumers.
                          While we CHs may be more likely to "read the fine print," most consumers simply look at the "big carton" as opposed to the "little carton" of ice cream and the regular can of tuna without noticing the actual size. They see what's called the "price point."
                          On the grocery shelf, most similar products have similar prices. In our market currently, all of the national ice cream brands are priced at about $5.89 to $5.99. If anyone leaps to $6.49, even of their size is larger, they'll lose market share, and lose money.
                          Watch for someone to break out at some future date with a marketing ploy: "new family size!!" or some similar way to to supersize, increase price, perceived value, and their market share.
                          Everyone else will race to match them and a new higher price point will be established for the new standard size of the "big carton" of ice cream in stores.

                          Those focus groups have sharper vison than we give them credit for.

                        2. Well, here in South America, the tuna cans have stayed the same size; the amount of tuna has decreased; and the amount of water has increased. I was recently shocked in the US at the high amount of tuna relative to water.

                          1. If you're worried about volume, why not wait until they do a BOGO. Sheesh, it seems like it's half price about every six weeks.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bkhuna

                              This reminds me of a situation I was in about six months ago at my local 'Chili's Restaurant'...

                              I ordered steak fajitas, which are described on the menu as 'a half pound of our sizzling steak'. When the sizzling steak came out, it was a rather small portion - about enough for two fajitas, rather than three or four. I mentioned this to the waitress, who called over the manager.

                              The manager looked at my dinner and said "That's the right size - all our meats are pre-portioned."

                              I then asked her how much did the steak weigh before cooking in the pre-portion? She went back to the kitchen and returned a few minutes later, with the visiting 'general manager'. He proudly informed me that the fajita steak was pre-portioned at 'a generous' five ounces!

                              I laughed in amazement, and told both of them that was three ounces short of what I was being charged, since the menu stated a half pound - which is eight ounces! They were dumbfounded, and didn't know what to say.

                              The GM then told me I would not be charged for my dinner, and he would let the 'district manager' know the mistake. I haven't ordered them since, so I have no idea whether they corrected their mistake or not - I assume they didn't since they have obviously gotten away with it.

                              Imagine the number of unsuspecting people they are ripping off by pulling this?

                              1. re: OOliver

                                VERY interesting, OOliver! False advertising. Does it still say a half pound on the menu?

                                1. re: OOliver

                                  ooliver, if they are products of some of our great public education institutions, they might think 5 oz. *is* half a pound -- esp. if sysco tells them so! ;-).

                              2. I've observed over the years as a tuna can went from 6.5 to 6.25 to 6.125 to now 6 oz. Funny thing is, the price goes up while the size of can goes down. And the 5 lb. bag of sugar's now a 4 lb. bag of sugar, and what used to be a 20 lb. bag of dog food's now a 17.6 lb or even 16 lb bag of dog food while the price goes up. Not that I'm advocating eating dog food, but my dogs are concerned about the lack of value.
                                I have a similar problem with our local grocery chain, Dillons, where they advertise "Buy one get one free", and if I just bought the item the week before at the posted "regular price" of $1, the next week when it's BOGO, the posted "regular price" is $1.89. So a week later, I can get two of the item for a savings of 5.5% each. Whoopie, what a savings!

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: podunkboy

                                  hottoynoodle....Nothing irritates me more than someone that defends big business..Like you did.....They are screwing us......How many look at the package weights . I don't. I thought I was getting my usual 6oz can of tuna. You must be in big business out to screw the people that trust "YOU"....I am giving a 3.5 in my foodie book, sorry, that's my rule

                                  1. re: HotMelly

                                    Really? do you really think they are sitting in some room somewhere twirling their handlebar mustache and laughing maniaclly? what would you like them to do? put a huge flashing light and siren on a display in front of the tuna cans that screams " WE HAVE DECREASED THE AMOUNT IN THE CAN.......WE HAVE DECREASED THE AMOUNT IN THE CAN!!!"
                                    they did warn you by the way, its right there on the label. See it, down there on the bottom right..........

                                    1. re: HotMelly

                                      Add jfood to the list of people that probably irritate you. He agrees with nkeane that all those Dastardly Whiplashes are NOT hanging out and trying to screw you. they are trying to keep their business profitable for people who invested in them, keep their employees employed, and place a reasonable product in the hands of the consumer.

                                      If you do not like what a company is doing write them an email or do not buy their product. The last time jfood checked, the price and the quantity was right there in your hand to look at.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        thank you nkeane and jfood. i didn't have the energy.... ;-).

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          np, you owe us one. rare that nkeane and jfood are squarely together. had to take advantage of it.

                                      2. re: HotMelly

                                        and nothing irritates me more than people with poor reading comprehension skills. in no way did i advocate anything other than mindful shopping. jeepers. the cans/bags/boxes are all labelled, and weights clearly stated.

                                        they'd be screwing you if you got the can home and it had cotton balls in it, ya know?

                                    2. My aggravation with this takes a different turn. If I'm making something that calls for a 15 oz can, which the author is assuming is a standard size, and they have now been downsized to 12 oz., I'm now forced to buy 2 cans just to get back to my original amount.

                                      ugh.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: lilinjun

                                        why can you not reduce the other amounts? 15 oz of tuna is many portions, and if you're feeding 4 or 5 people with it, i can't see how 3 oz, divided by that many diners, will make a huge difference in the dish.

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                          if your working with a recipe with many ingredients and it calls for 3 * 15 oz cans of tuna - yes, those of us that love math can most likely convert all the other ingredients but as lilinjun says "it's aggravating"!

                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                            My biggest pet peeve is canned pumpkin. Most recipes for pumpkin pie call for a 16 ounce can, and cans are now 15 ounces. If I were to reduce all the other amounts, which I probably could do, although my math skills are pretty pathetic, I'd also have to reduce the size of the standard 9" pie pan. Just charge me more for the 16 ounces and be done with it. This is not a huge deal, but still.