General Question

jca's avatar

Do you know of any products where the packaging size has remained the same, along with the price, but the amount of food inside was reduced?

Asked by jca (28979 points ) August 11th, 2012

In your grocer’s freezer, everyone has noticed that ice cream boxes are now significantly smaller than they used to be. That is an example of the packaging being smaller while the price remains the same.

However, do you know of any examples offhand where the packaging is still the same size, but the amount inside is less? I was disappointed this morning to open a container of Trader Joe’s Greek Yogurt, which used to be 8 oz, and is now 5.3 oz. When I opened the cup of yogurt, I noticed it was about ⅓ empty, and when I checked the ounces, I noticed they are down but the cup size is the same, which is deceiving. I didn’t think of Trader Joe’s as a deceiving marketer, but I guess I was wrong.

Granted, most other yogurts on the market are no longer 8 oz., but still, the fact that the cup size is the same is deceiving to me. I am aware that Trader Joe’s is not the only company to have “pulled a fast one” in this regard.

Do you know of any other products where the packaging size remained the same, but the amount of food inside was reduced?

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31 Answers

bkcunningham's avatar

I bought this cake mix and started putting the batter into two 9” round buttered and floured pans like I would normally do with a cake. When there wasn’t enough to fill the pans, I looked again. The instructions call for two 8” pans. The mix doesn’t make as much.

So, you’d think the frosting would cover the smaller cake, right? Think again. It took one and a half of the packaged frosting the frost the smaller cake.

chyna's avatar

It seems to me that cereal boxes have remained the same size but the cereal inside doesn’t even fill half the box. What a waste of boxes.

fremen_warrior's avatar

potato chrisps – seems to be 50% air nowadays in most packs… not that I eat them more than a few times a year, but still, worth mentioning

chyna's avatar

@bkcunningham I like how the description states “contains a pouch of real pecans”. Wonder what fake pecans would be made from?

GracieT's avatar

In food served at a takeout place I don’t know about the amount involved, but the packaging for Tim Horton’s fruit and yogurt has gotten smaller. They did this because before there was more unfilled packaging. Now the packaging is filled closer to the top of the package. I can’t help to think that they also reduced the amount of yogurt. I’m not positive but I think that they also raised the price.

bkcunningham's avatar

@chyna, I’d hate to even imagine. lol Good catch. It is a fantastically good cake from a box though.

Patton's avatar

One kind of cheese I buy has to stay wet, so it comes in a sealed pouch. The pouch has stayed the same while the ratio of cheese to liquid has changed.

Mr_Paradox's avatar

Bacon. I mean REALLY PEOPLE. The amount of bacon in one package has declined lately.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Its called the supermarket shrink ray and it fuckin sucks.

digitalimpression's avatar

I’m pretty sure Pringles puts less crisps in these days with the same container.. and the price went up.

ucme's avatar

Wagon Wheels.

Sunny2's avatar

Another Trader Joe product, Lavosh Bread is much smaller than it was by at least 4 square inches. Same package, same price. Irritating at best. Deception is definitely possible. I hate to think that of them, but evidence is evidence.

Judi's avatar

I have to say this. I am pleased that serving sizes are getting smaller and if I’m going to eat the whole yogurt anyway, give me a couple less ounces and maybe I can cut the calories. The last two decades have seen “super size” and “up size” and our bodies have gone up in size too. Really people, I am happy that we are heading more towards the normal portion sizes we had in the 60’s and ‘70s. Now if they would stop using so much darned corn syrup!!

bkcunningham's avatar

Point taken, @Judi, but the real point of the discussion is deceptive packaging. We are paying the same price for less product. We have to be very aware of the package labels. This isn’t a new mechanism of increasing prices. Really, that is all it is about. Price increases.

wilma's avatar

My rolls of toilet paper are not as wide as they used to be. They don’t fill up the roll dispenser/holder like they used to.
I guess that the packaging doesn’t really try to hide this fact, but they don’t announce it either. They still that there are 4 rolls or twelve rolls, but nothing about the rolls being smaller.

Judi's avatar

@bkcunningham , agreed. Deceiving us is not good. Full disclosure about what we are actually getting is always best, whether it is decreased contents or genetically modified foods. We should know what we are getting in order to make an informed decision.

bkcunningham's avatar

The sad thing, @Judi, is that I would have known what I was getting and could have made a better informed decision (to use the smaller cake pans) if I had read the package. I suppose there has to be some personal responsibility involved. But to be honest, my mind doesn’t work like it use to either. Maybe I’ve eaten to much genetically modified food over the years. ;-)

filmfann's avatar

Cereal boxes are a little smaller, holding less, for the same price.
The offender that made me the maddest was the Lays potato chips that came in two bags inside the outer bag. The inner bags were almost all air, and ballooned to make you think there were more potato chips inside. You open a huge bag, pour them in the bowl, and you already need to refill it.

Sarah90's avatar

People have mentioned potato chips but the worst of all is $1.75 vending machine potato chips, the bags are small as it is and there’s like 3~4 chips in the bag and he rest is air !!!

bkcunningham's avatar

Good link, @uberbatman. Thank you.

Bill1939's avatar

What was once the price for a pound of Eight o’clock coffee is now for a 12-ounce bag, 10-ounce for Colombian.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t buy according to size of package, but rather by the written amount on the outside of the package. With paper goods, I compare the sq ft of the package, not the size or number of the rolls.

My gripe is the quality of the stuff. Sometimes an equal amount of sq ft does not tell you that one is like tissue paper and the other is nice and absorbent. I recently bought two packages of plastic cups, both the same price and same amount of cups, but one had cups that cracked when you tried to pick them up, and the other had durable cups that can be washed and reused a few times.

jca's avatar

@Judi: Yogurt (my example in the Q) is a perfect example of something that had been 8 oz per serving size since the 1970’s, when yogurt got popular and all these brands came out.

@wilma: Costco is proud to say their Kirkland brand is still the same width as it’s always been. I, too, have noticed many toilet paper brands have gotten narrower, but happily, not Costco.

Jeruba's avatar

Facial tissues. The boxes are less full and the tissues are actually cut shorter. Also the quality has diminished drastically. They didn’t used to fall apart into linty mush, at least not right away. They are thinner and have no tensile strength. Decent tissues used to stand up to a serious sneeze, but not any more.

Boxed oven potato mixes like these used to contain more than 7 ounces of product. They’ve been shrinking for years and now contain about 4½.

A one-pound can of coffee hasn’t contained a pound for a long time.

Just about every canned food product that I can think of has a higher ratio of sauce or juice to solid content than it used to. I avoid these more and more. The amounts of salt and sugar seem to keep going up while real food goes down.

Meanwhile, fresh tomatoes and strawberries get bigger and more flavorless, and chicken breasts are pumped up with water.

How about lumber? How long since a 2×4 actually measured 2” by 4”?

Bellatrix's avatar

I hadn’t bought a Mars bar for years and a couple of months picked one up and I was stunned by how much smaller it was. So, confectionery has shrunk but the price remains the same.

GracieT's avatar

How about the new Hershey’s “Air Delights?” They are touting them as a new, great taste.

jca's avatar

@Jeruba: The one pound can of coffee, is still packed in the same size can, however.

Jeruba's avatar

Yes—that was the question: same package, less product.

If course, the price doesn’t really remain the same. It goes up.

Sunny2's avatar

@Jeruba I took a woodworking class and was told that a 2×4 was never actually 2” x 4”. That was over 30 years ago and I don’t remember what the actual measurement was any more, but the standard was NOT the actual 2×4.

Jeruba's avatar

That’s disappointing somehow, @Sunny2, but ok, lumber doesn’t belong on the list.

wilma's avatar

The two by fours in my house are two by four.
The house was built in the 1890’s.
We have to have them custom milled if we want anything new to match.

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