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The Incredible shrinking package

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  • swamp Nov 2, 2009 11:39 AM
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I would like to vent and see just how much this bothers other people. Recently I was shopping at my local Kroger when I notice they have now decreased the size of their frozen vegetable packages from 16 ounces to 12 ounces. I sent them a message and told them this is great for them, when they have their 10 for $10 events they make the same amount of money, but of course we get less. They responded and said they are just responding to consumer demands.

So I ask how many consumers out there have asked for smaller packaging for the same price?

It just seems to be a trend which exists only to sell more products. I mean how many recipes call for a 12 ounce bag of something, or 13 ounces of ground beef. They just know by doing this people will by two packages. It just does not seem right. If you give me less, charge me less. Is it just me?

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  1. Oh no, it's not just you. You'll see lots of complaints about package downsizing here.I'm with you. I'd rather have consistent, useful sizes (yeah, I'm talking to you TUNA) and a straightup price increase than this pretense.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dct

      LOL, swamp must have missed the long thread about canned tuna which went from 6 ounces to 5 ounces AND in most cases, the quality also deteriorated...argh!!

      1. re: Val

        I noticed this over the summer. Some recipes are based on a 6oz can and the missing ounce would throw off the recipe. I noticed that brand name tuna now resembled cat food. My only solution was to eat less canned tuna and to buy the fancy Albacore cans in a pack at Sam's Club. They end up being about $1.27 a can but since the regular cans of tuna are nearly a dollar and are awful it was about the only option.

        1. re: blackpointyboots

          Yep, and Whole Foods STILL has their store brand 365 albacore white tuna at 6 ounces...it's VERY good quality, firm and white...and they sell an unsalted variety which I adore!!!! But the price is $1.49 per can...your Sam's deal is better but I'm also trying to eat more sardines and canned salmon instead of tuna which helps for me, anyway.

    2. Agreed; they are just trying to sell more product. I guess they think consumers don't realize what's going on but I shop most of the time based on prices. You would think they know that most people are not spending like they used to and I'd say a good percentage is due to higher prices

      1. Remember back when the price of coffee went up so they changed cans of coffee from a pound to 12 ounces? Now it's standard.

        1. There have been big threads about this before. The reality is that we who rant against downsizing and would rather have the same size but price increase are in the minority. Or, perhaps there are a good portion of us who when finally faced with it do not want what we say we want. Either way, what the stores find works is smaller sizes at the same pricing, as opposed to price increases. While it's true there may be a pretty good chunk of stupid people out there who don't notice the difference, the stores actually don't do this by chance; they pay attention to what is selling, they do focus groups, etc.

          Our vocal minority of stated desire to have the sizing stay the same whatever the price is overruled by the reality of what actually sells.

          As always, I'm awaiting the days of the 3-quart "gallon" of milk, the 12oz "pound" of butter and the 10-egg "dozen".

          1. --"They responded and said they are just responding to consumer demands. "--

            Shrinking the damn product and messing up our attempts to follow recipes is very annoying, but laying BS on us annoys me even more. I am EXTREMELY allergic to BS.

            They should have just come right out and said -- "We had to raise prices, and the geniuses in our Marketing Department decided to do it by getting chintzy with the product size, and hoped we could slip it by you without anyone noticing."

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sharuf

              Don't ask me why, but (generalizing) somehow in a comsumer's mind, a price increase is more painful than a package downsizing. Or so think the manufacturers.

              "They should have just come right out and said -- "We had to raise prices, and the geniuses in our Marketing Department decided to do it by getting chintzy with the product size, and hoped we could slip it by you without anyone noticing."-So true.

            2. Bugs me too, and it’s frustrating when a recipe calls for a 16oz can of “X” and it only comes in 14.5oz cans. Do you buy two or just make do? This tactic is pushing me more and more to fresh ingredients (when available), which is not a bad thing.

              1. Not exactly food-related (well it is actually, but not in the way you like to think about) but Quilted Northern just cut 1/2' off the width of their TP rolls. Looks really weird rattling around on the roller.

                8 Replies
                1. re: BobB

                  Target did this with their store brand rolls. It looks sad on the roller.

                  1. re: blackpointyboots

                    And that's from an esthetic point of view. Never mind the behind point of view.

                  2. re: BobB

                    Now that's just wrong.

                    1. re: BobB

                      is that all their sales or just those they sold briefly at Costco. jfood noticed how silly it looked on the roller and then bought some Cottonelle. Jfood loves the cute little puppy and I have a big crush on him too.

                      1. re: jfood

                        I don't do Costco, it's ubiquitous. In fact I googled it after I noticed the difference and found that's there are quite a few people upset about it. I went so far as to write them a nasty e-mail (for all the good that will do).

                        I will be changing brands with my next purchase.

                        1. re: BobB

                          jfood finds it convenient to shop at a ubiquitous store. He always finds it easier than shopping in a place that is nowhere to be found. :-))

                          on the last trip to Costco, neither Cottonelle or Northern, Jfood went with Charmin. I miss looking at that cute puppy logo.

                          1. re: jfood

                            Yes, ubiquitous stores are the best. Wherever you go, there you are! ;-)

                            1. re: BobB

                              especially in some bad nor'easters. wouldn't be great to have Clio as ubiquitous in the middle of a storm...open the front door and poof

                    2. The BS from the grocery store is just insulting. The truth is that they can slide the change by more people by shrinking the product. This is why they also change the packaging at the same time. It is to make people miss the difference. So many people just dump things in their cart because they are tired, have a pack of screaming kids with them or whatever distraction as they shop that most people won't notice. The ones that do notice are either active consumers that pay attention or people that care more about what they eat.

                      My solution was to shift my purchasing to the food coop where everything is sold by the pound or to buy more fresh foods since they are sold by the pound or piece. I was already on the way to shunning most processed food, the shrink ray just moved that along. I learned to make ketchup and it is so much better I don't want to go back. The same goes for many packaged foods. Each time I learn to make something myself I stop missing the lower quality one the store sells.

                      1. Oh, yes I've noticed and it bothers me a lot. A one pound box of pasta used to be perfect for my family, now I have to open two boxes to get the equivalent of a pound. Annoying.

                        1. My diet pepsi 6 pak downsizing from 20 oz (I think ) to 16 oz (I think) is really pissing me off....

                          1. They can't hold their prices forever, given the economy, and- here's me on my soapbox-

                            They never claimed to be nonprofit, people! Everybody else raised their prices in that food chain, especially the transport companies who raised it when the price of gas was $4/gal and haven't lowered it since.

                            That said, dammit, they should just raise their prices and not change the size of the container when they know that so may recipes call for 1 can of tuna or ground beef or whatever. On the other hand, it's not going to change much if you don't have quite as much tuna or burger in your casserole. Just be aware, and if you think you're being gouged, DON'T BUY IT.

                            1. We made tuna salad last night from our usual Trader Joe's can of tuna and were lucky to make 2 skinny sandwiches for lunch today! Maybe we'll loose those extra 10 pounds we keep talking about but It is very annoying, especially when they mess with staples like tuna.