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Sneaky Product Downsizing


Toliver
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Moderators, If this has been discussed before (and I think it has), please feel free to merge it.

Recently I was invited to a party and was asked to bring the artichoke dip I usually make for such gatherings. I make a double batch, a mild version and a spicy version. The recipe calls for one cup of mayonnaise so I always buy the small jars of mayo which contain 16 ounces, enough for both batches.

Or, at least, they used to contain 16 ounces.

I noticed that the mayo label now reads 15 ounces. 15 ounces?! I need 16 ounces.

Whatzupwitdat?! :angry:

Fortunately, I had the remains of another jar on hand so the recipe turned out well.

Think of all those countless number of recipes, handed down from one generation to another, calling for a "small jar of mayo" or a "small box of Jello" but, thanks to sneaky corporate product downsizing, that small jar or that small box no longer contains the proper amount of ingredients to make the recipe a success.

The downsizing of ice cream containers is well known. The half-gallon is no longer a half-gallon and the pint size hasn't been a pint for quite sometime. This is just the tip of the shrinking iceberg. It's a crime, I tell ya!

It's a win-win situation for the companies making the products. They're selling us less product for the same amount of money (or more) and if we notice the product downsizing, we end up having to buy more of the product or buy the next larger size so they get more money from us that way.

So the next time you make a batch of your Aunt Bertha's Famous Fudge and it doesn't turn out right, don't blame yourself. Your ingredients could have been quietly downsized on you. :hmmm:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Moderators, If this has been discussed before (and I think it has), please feel free to merge it.

Recently I was invited to a party and was asked to bring the artichoke dip I usually make for such gatherings. I make a double batch, a mild version and a spicy version. The recipe calls for one cup of mayonnaise so I always buy the small jars of mayo which contain 16 ounces, enough for both batches.

Or, at least, they used to contain 16 ounces.

I noticed that the mayo label now reads 15 ounces. 15 ounces?! I need 16 ounces.

Whatzupwitdat?!  :angry:

Fortunately, I had the remains of another jar on hand so the recipe turned out well.

Think of all those countless number of recipes, handed down from one generation to another, calling for a "small jar of mayo" or a "small box of Jello" but, thanks to sneaky corporate product downsizing, that small jar or that small box no longer contains the proper amount of ingredients to make the recipe a success. 

The downsizing of ice cream containers is well known. The half-gallon is no longer a half-gallon and the pint size hasn't been a pint for quite sometime. This is just the tip of the shrinking iceberg. It's a crime, I tell ya!

It's a win-win situation for the companies making the products. They're selling us less product for the same amount of money (or more) and if we notice the product downsizing, we end up having to buy more of the product or buy the next larger size so they get more money from us that way.

So the next time you make a batch of your Aunt Bertha's Famous Fudge and it doesn't turn out right, don't blame yourself. Your ingredients could have been quietly downsized on you. :hmmm:

This has been going on with coffee for at least twenty years.

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This has been going on with coffee for at least twenty years.

Are you saying, 'a pound of coffee does not weigh 11 oz'? :shock:

"It's like Betty Crocker and Charles Manson had a love child" - Anthony Bourdain
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  • 2 weeks later...

It just came to me. Dove Bars. Lordy, lordy, lordy. When they first came out, I became a rabid fan. I would first meticulously eat the chocolate coating that enrobed the silky vanilla ice cream and only after the chocolate was completely gone would I start in on that wonderful ice cream. Sinfully delicious.

They used to come four in a box. :wub:

They now come three in a box. :angry:

Is the day they come two in a box that far off? :sad:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I'd rather pay a bit more and get the full measure.

Last October I was amazed at how small Halloween candy has become. How long before they just sell us the wrappers so the kids can scratch and sniff.

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I'd rather pay a bit more and get the full measure.

Last October I was amazed at how small Halloween candy has become.  How long before they just sell us the wrappers so the kids can scratch and sniff.

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I can see it now..."This is what candy used to smell like."

Another product that got downsized...Lipton Onion Soup mix. They used to come four in a box. Now there's only three packages in a box. I've seen them sold in individual packets, too, so maybe they're trying to skip offering two in a box and just sell them one packet at a time. :angry:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Another product that got downsized...Lipton Onion Soup mix. They used to come four in a box. Now there's only three packages in a box. I've seen them sold in individual packets, too, so maybe they're trying to skip offering two in a box and just sell them one packet at a time. :angry:

Yes, but at least they didn't change how much was in a packet. Can you imagine how many church-picnic recipes could be ruined forever if they did? :shock::smile:

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Another product that got downsized...Lipton Onion Soup mix. They used to come four in a box. Now there's only three packages in a box. I've seen them sold in individual packets, too, so maybe they're trying to skip offering two in a box and just sell them one packet at a time. :angry:

Yes, but at least they didn't change how much was in a packet. Can you imagine how many church-picnic recipes could be ruined forever if they did? :shock::smile:

Amen to that! It was one of my dad's "secret" ingredients for his hamburgers (A-1 Sauce is the another secret ingredient). And it was my mom's go-to ingredient when making 7-Bone roast for dinner...a cheap cut of meat made palatable thanks to the onion soup mix.

I tried making it from scratch once. I started with beef boullion and dehydrated onion flakes. I forget what else I threw in there. I came close but something was missing.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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They did this to Marshmallow Creme a few years ago, and ever since we haven't been able to get my mom's fudge exactly the way it used to be. :(

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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This is one of my biggest pet peeves in life. Seriously.

I've been railing against downsizing for years. And these companies have become so sneaky at doing it - most customers don't even realize when it's been done.

Paper towels, tissues, tomato products (canned & jarred), breakfast cereals, yogurt, ready made pudding, orange juice (in the carafe), mayonnaise, etc.

It's just ridiculous already. I've written and called many a company to complain once I see that they've downsized a product. But all you get are platitudes and corporate speak (e.g. "we've now conformed to industry standard" or "surveys have shown that consumers prefer a 6 oz. size rather than an 8 oz. size"). In some cases they'll send you a coupon for a discount off the downsized product. Whoopee.

I think it's a deceptive and sneaky practice. I would prefer to pay a few cents more for the same amount of product. Especially when the size of the product affects my recipes, like so many of you have stated above.

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The 99 cents stores does this.

I noticed it the last week when I went to buy cokes for my dad. Hefty One Zip quart freezer bags came 5 to a box @ 99 cents. The Shasta cokes that I was looking for used to come in a 6 packs for 99 cents, now they have cut them back to 4 for the same price. It's false economy. It's "cheaper" to buy the regular packaged ones at the grocery store, which I did.

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Regarding recipes, I think that's why it would be so much better to work with weight rather than volume. If your recipe were in weights, you could easily scale the rest of the ingredients. If your 16oz jar is now 15oz, just multiply the rest of the ingredient weights by 94% (or 93.75% if you want to be exact). Your recipe should taste exactly the same, except you'd have less of it.

I don't think downsizing is necessarily a bad thing with regards to most foods. If you used to eat an entire 200g bag of potato chips in one sitting and they've now downsized the bag to 150g, isn't that really a good thing? Not for your wallet, but at least for your body. (But if they downsized my precious Old Dutch BBQ chips, someone would be hearing from me!)

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Oh yeah. This one bugs me too.

Not only does this downsizing business throw off recipes and stuff as you all have pointed out ... the odd-sized packages make doing price comparisons that one little bit more tedious. It's annoying enough when the store puts the unit pricing in the wrong units, like unit pricing per ounce on items usually bought by the pint, but then the danged item isin't even a full pint any more. And then they make the large size of the same product not an straightfoward multiple of the small size ... I'm stubborn enough that I'll stand there in the store aisle and figure out which item is the better buy. But I just know most people won't bother, and wind up getting ripped off.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i'm not sure this is exactly the same, but it really bugs me nonetheless!!

Haagen Dazs (vanilla, at least) says on the carton that it contains 4 servings. Actually, it contains **barely more** than 3 servings. 25% is missing!! I know there's some law that says they can be wrong in their estimates by up to some percentage, but they are seriously taking advantage. It's bad enough that it's $4 (or more) for 4 servings, but now it's an obscene price for 3 servings!

(This was one of those harsh, harsh discoveries I made after buying a kitchen scale and weighing my desserts.)

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Haagen Dazs (vanilla, at least) says on the carton that it contains 4 servings.  Actually, it contains **barely more** than 3 servings.  25% is missing!!  I know there's some law that says they can be wrong in their estimates by up to some percentage, but they are seriously taking advantage.  It's bad enough that it's $4 (or more) for 4 servings, but now it's an obscene price for 3 servings!

It might be worth your time to contact the company and complain if you don't harbor any grudges. I once did this after finding a brand of chips I liked was consistently short on servings as measured by their label, and confirmed by counting. I got a note that their packaging was being redesigned (some months later, I verified this) and in the meantime, a slew of coupons for free and discount products.

I beg to differ. The Haagen Dazs cartons contain precisely one serving.  :biggrin:

Truer words were never spoken.

Edited to trim quote and add another.

Edited by DCP (log)

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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I beg to differ. The Haagen Dazs cartons contain precisely one serving.  :biggrin:

AMEN!!!

I was actually thinking that the mayo jars were getting smaller but didn't really check it out.

Seriously, I couldn't agree with you all more about the downsizing business. It's nice to have recipes by weight or volume, but when you're jotting down a recipe from someone else, it often is "one can" and the like.

And it's not like they trumpet "NEW! Smaller size!" on the label so you're aware of the change.

My blog: Rah Cha Chow

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Another product that got downsized...Lipton Onion Soup mix. They used to come four in a box. Now there's only three packages in a box. I've seen them sold in individual packets, too, so maybe they're trying to skip offering two in a box and just sell them one packet at a time. :angry:

Wow. Where have I been? I just opened a new box of Lipton Onion Soup Mix and found only two envelopes inside. This is getting depressing. :sad:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Oh yeah. This one bugs me too.

Not only does this downsizing business throw off recipes and stuff as you all have pointed out ... the odd-sized packages make doing price comparisons that one little bit more tedious. It's annoying enough when the store puts the unit pricing in the wrong units, like unit pricing per ounce on items usually bought by the pint, but then the danged item isin't even a full pint any more. And then they make the large size of the same product not an straightfoward multiple of the small size ... I'm stubborn enough that I'll stand there in the store aisle and figure out which item is the better buy. But I just know most people won't bother, and wind up getting ripped off.

For this very reason many areas now require the price shown on the shelf to not only show the unit price but also the price per ounce. If you take enough time looking at these prices you'll see in many cases the bigger package is not really a bargain!

I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Oh yeah. This one bugs me too.

Not only does this downsizing business throw off recipes and stuff as you all have pointed out ... the odd-sized packages make doing price comparisons that one little bit more tedious. It's annoying enough when the store puts the unit pricing in the wrong units, like unit pricing per ounce on items usually bought by the pint, but then the danged item isin't even a full pint any more. And then they make the large size of the same product not an straightfoward multiple of the small size ... I'm stubborn enough that I'll stand there in the store aisle and figure out which item is the better buy. But I just know most people won't bother, and wind up getting ripped off.

For this very reason many areas now require the price shown on the shelf to not only show the unit price but also the price per ounce. If you take enough time looking at these prices you'll see in many cases the bigger package is not really a bargain!

The problem you can run into that they break items down inconsistently. One item will list price per ounce, another will list price per whole item. It helps to carry a calulator with you.

Usually, the smaller the container, the more expensive it'll be when broken down to the "cost per ounce". Which is why "family-sized" items can be such a deal.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I ran into this last night. I made pasta and I usually make 1 box of pasta with 1 jar of sauce. I mixed both of them together and was thinking that there was less sauce than normal. I went ahead and mixed them and ended up adding more sauce to make it look right.

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