Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

KJuneBug's picture

We've had this conversation before.... So, I happened to just be looking at our new tub of Gold 'n soft margarine and first noticed that it didn't seem to be as full as usual.  It was a new tub.  Then I looked at the labelling and YEP! the company is only putting 15 oz of margarine in the same old  16oz tub!  This was a filler until we could get to the store that sells the 5lb tubs, we picked one of those up today, YEP! it has 76oz or 4lb 12oz.  I feel so cheated, not to mention what if I was making a very precise recipe that called for one 16 oz tub of margarine and I didn't notice before I started?  I would have wondered why the result of my recipe is different.  I just think that is a real sneaky way for these companies to be treating us consumers.  If we walked into the store and "took" an ounce of something we would go to jail!!!

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

It is frustrating as can be, but I suppose I can see the flip-side.  Costs of everything has gone up, so instead of raising prices they take a little bit out and keep prices the same.  I recently watched something on the news about this, and that is what the companies they contacted told them. 

The thing that frustrates me the most is when they ALTER the packaging to make it look like it has more in it, when it actually has less.  The best example of this is cups of yogurt.  They indent the bottom of the cup (to where it is sitting on a rim, instead of flat), and a largish looking portion is actually not as big as you think. 

Another thing that frustrates me is coupons.  I love them, use them all of the time, etc.  BUT it seems anymore that 90% of the coupons have so many stipulations to them.  You often have to buy 2 or more of a product to get the cents-off...and unless there is a good sale going on and I am stocking up, that doesn't help me save any money!

KJuneBug's picture

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

Luv, I used to try to use coupons regularly; but found the same frustration.  Now I only use the store coupons that our Fred Meyer (part of Kroger) stores print weekly. 

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

how right you are, spaghetti sauce used to be sold in quart jars, now its twenty eight ounces, coffee used to come in pound cans, now its thirteen ounces, and so on and so on, and i am not sure, but doesn't campbells soup seem to be in a smaller can also????/

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

Ah but the difference is that right on the container we are told that there is now less. If we are too busy or foolish to pay attention, after so much discussion from the media and even mention here, the fault is ours -- unfortunately. And it does take longer to shop when you have to check each container to see if it still has enough to make the recipe you want!

Tuna fish cans are now 5 instead of 6 ounces. [At restaurants, I appreciate the smaller servings with less calories and fat, even if I don't like the price.] What would you do if it was your company that sold packaged products and were trying not to go out of business?

I remember years ago when containers were designed to curve way up on the bottom, so that it looked like a big package, but there so wasn't much in it -- again it had the actual amount on the outside, but people buy with their eyes not with their minds. I don't like it but I understand it. A statistic I got the other day. US families avarage about 10% of income for food, other countries 15% and more. So now when I am whining about food costs, and I do, I also feel a little bit guilty with it.

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

I get all of this....Everyone else is citing examples, so I will to:  Breyer's ice cream has shrunk their package instead of their price.  I understand why they are doing it.  I may or may not like it, but I understand.   Here's an example of what I DON'T like:   I had a conversation not too long ago with the head of the Cheer brand of laundry detergent which is owned by P & G in Cincinnati.  The boxes of Cheer have been getting steadily smaller.  Well, he had the tumerity to suggest to me that they were "responding to customer demand."  Excuse me?   Yes, I am sure so many customers were clamoring for small Cheer boxes (insert sarcasm) If you have to raise prices, shrink packages, whatever...fine..I get it, but DO NOT BLAME THE CUSTOMER. Sheesh, I would far rather a company just come out, level with us, explain their reasoning...we may not like it, but most of us can grasp it......

KJuneBug's picture

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

So I had been thinking about calling the company that makes Gold n Soft since this started, I did and what a bunch of whimps!  They don't even answer the phones, they expect us to leave our name and phone number with a message.  I didn't go that route- instead I sent a pointed email.  We will see what the response is.  Here is what I said:

To Whom it May Concern:
 
Just a note to say I've noticed!  Noticed that you have reduced the amount of product in the same old containers!  (15oz of Gold N Soft in a 16oz and 76oz in an 80oz tubs)  As a consumer, I feel scammed.  I am tired of you big mega food producers crying wolf and claiming that costs have increased, therefore you are going to pass it along to us consumers, either by increasing the price or reducing the amount of product, and keeping the price the same, which is still cheating us.  Your not doing us any favors, and we aren't asking for less product, so don't try and justify this in that way. 
 
You'll make proud claims of some % free! Why aren't you so open when it goes the other way????  5% less!!!!
 
What about our recipes??  That call for 2 cups of butter or margarine???  It's just standard that butter/margarine is sold in the proper portions for recipes, so your single-handedly changing that too???
 
I'll be waiting for your interesting response.
 
An American Consumer,
(my name here) *******
I challenge all of you to do this, keep those companies on their toes, let them know we are smart and savy.
Yep, Kevin, with a family of seven I'd be asking for less detergent!!!! Ha Ha!!
We get the cheap Costco brand, they changed their packaging here this past fall, too....   

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

Interesting comments KJunebug. Will look forward to seeing what their respnse is.  Probably won't be very similar to my third paragraph :)

When I worked at a card shop people would complain all the time about Christmas ornaments on display in July.  Of course if people hadn't bought them, the stores wouldn't have put them out so early.

1. If I were to think like most grocery suppliers my objective is MAKE MONEY. Everything else is secondary (including, if you are the supplier Peanut Corp, even peoples health and lives).  2. If I raise the price, lots of people won't buy - I don't make money then, so that isn't an option. 3. My purpose in any ways I advertise, like % free, is to swing purchases my way.  I don't list anything that would make them decide not to purchase -- remember my first objective, increase profit.  4. If I lower the quanity, many people won't notice - I meet my objective and make money.  5  If I lower the quanity, some people will be mad and some will even complain but they won't change their behavior and buy a different type of product (e.g. sticks of hard margarine instead of tubs of soft, make their own speghetti sauce, buy fresh tuna instead of canned), so I continue to make money. 6. And if the consumer now has to buy 2 of my items to make a recipe -- you got it, I make money (and if they don't use up all of the second container before it goes bad - more money for me).  7. And if consumers keep buying, I don't care if they hate me, I'm making money.

The place I first noticed this kind of playing with the price was college tuition.  So that a college would look good compared to other colleges, they moved increases to "fees" instead of tuition.

Another business that does this is tire sales.  No longer is the listed price what it costs to get the tire - you have to add mounting and removal and disposal and environmental fees, etc. It is also done with phone charges, they quote you the price, but then you see a bill and it is nearly double because of everything they label as a fee, that used to be part of the price.  It is now to the point that you need to ask not what the "price" is but what is the "cost to you" for what you want.  Just some of the ways other companies are doing what the grocery people are.

It is no wonder that I left retail long ago and won't go back.  -Kay

eggcetra_farms's picture

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

This one really gets my blood boiling too.  

Re: Downsizing? Less Weight, Same Old Containers

Oh man, are you ever right. Look at chip bags, detergent containers, cookie pkgs., just about anything that you buy. The net weight has decreased, but the price has either stayed the same or increased!! What the heck?!? You are so right, if we did such things, it would be criminal. I wonder if we "Jane or Joe Publics" all got together to complain to the government if it would do any good. President Obama, are you listening..do you here us??? Excellent food for thought, KJuneBug!

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