Sneaky Manufacturers Shrink Packaging, While Keeping Prices the Same

Skippy peanut butter jars now have an inward "dimple" on the bottom to reduce the amount they hold. (Source: CNN)Prices of your favorite grocery items are skyrocketing, but you probably don't know it. Many companies are using a sneaky way to raise prices without driving customers to less expensive brands: they are shrinking their packaging. A jar of Skippy peanut butter, for example, is the same height and circumference it has always been, but now has a hidden, inward "dimple" on the bottom that decreases the amount the jar holds by two ounces. Boxes of breakfast cereal appear to be the same height and width they've always been, but manufacturers have reduced the boxes' depth from front to back, decreasing the amount of cereal they hold. Rolls of Scott toilet tissue contain the same number of sheets as always (1,000), but the length of each sheet has been cut from 4 to 3.7 inches. A "six ounce" can of Starkist Tuna now holds just five ounces. When asked about the shrinkage, most companies point to higher costs for ingredients, manufacturing and fuel. Dan Howard, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University, says the only way consumers can fight back against this sneaky way of increasing costs is to refuse to buy from manufacturers who engage in this deceptive tactic.


Where has all of the intelligence gone? I think the original poster is talking the dishonesty of the manufacturers. The decreases are so slight as to fool the consumer.....they can't tell at first glance that the packaging is smaller. Sure, they have always shown the price per oz, etc., but they aren't putting a sign on the store shelf that says the ounces, quarts, pounds are getting smaller. Even the "eco" companies like Seventh Generation, Stoneyfield and California Baby are doing it. Where is the sustainability in creating MORE packaging to go into the landfills (smaller packaging means we have to buy more often). We are all being duped and they are all sitting in their McMansions laughing.

I remember back in the 50's, when the candy bar went from 5 cents to 10 cents. The candy bars started becoming smaller.

The US Social Security Administration has a "Shopping Cart" with which it judges inflation for SS cost of living adjustments. For 2 years running there has been no adjustment. I'll bet if they weighed and measured this "Cart""in ounces, inches, etc, it would be a lot smaller.
Do we have recourse ?

Jon makes an interesting point.
Why hasn't there been an adjustment by the US SSA? Maybe none of those employed by this department have to buy grocieries.

Yo-plait yogurt has been doing this for years, theres basically a fake bottom and its pretty substantial.

Deli sandwiches are the worst, I wont buy them anymore. They cut the sandwich in half then face the cut side towards the customer. But what they do is take the meat and pile it high facing you. When you get it home you find that the meat needs to be spread out to cover the whole sandwich and ends up looking nothing like the piled high version sold to you.

I recently had to buy a new printer and had to wade through the language tricks used to expound the wonders of ink cartridges. Do a day or two of research and don't compromise what you need, fancy is not better. Spend these two days calculating one thing: COST PER PAGE. Thats it, nothing else. My study ranged from .02c to .11c per copy.

I like to get my peanut butter in the bulk section of WinCo (I don't know if other places do this too) and I get it by weight. I watch the peanuts go in, and peanut butter come out. :D

The manufacturers have 2 choices: keep the price the same and sell a smaller amount per package, or sell the same size package and charge more for it. Their costs are going up. In order to make money (which is what businesses exist to do) they must pass on their costs. The only real way for you to save money on peanut butter is to grow your own peanuts and make your own peanut butter. Or use less peanut butter. Or just quit buying peanut butter. But whatever you substitute for peanut butter is increasing in cost as well.

Like the industries who say they "have to" slash wages and benefits to stay competitive, or who say they "have to" relocate to some banana republic where the local tyranny doesn't care what a multi-national does with their waste products or workers lives, the idea that businesses "have to" pass on to the consumer every expense or go bull**it. They no more "have to" pass on every cost than they are likewise forced to lower prices when that particular manufacturing cost increase can no longer be justified by high sugar-cane (for example) prices.

That's a myth, just like the others the Kochs or USCofC have their Walkers out selling to the gullible. It's merely one of another like the supposed inability to observe US environmental/safety regs while paying workers what they always have; or how the "invisible hand" of capitalism ensures businesses do the right thing - even in the absence of laws requiring them to do....something they insist makes the need to monitor tindustry, or have such laws on the books, unneccesary of course; or the one about low/no taxes on industry being the best way to increase their hiring capacity....that and government subsidies covering plant construction costs, resource mining costs, etc., also being a "great" job stimulus too!!
These are such blatant, obvious, self-serrving myths that it seems incredible they would even dare to pass them off. But they know their target audience only too well. A half-century of Cold War rhetoric has Americans, alone of the world's developed economies, refusing more and cheaper health-care for themselves and their own children. A literal display of the bumper-sticker logic that has it we are "better dead than Red"..or apprently even /slightly/ socialist. Fools.

I wish we had a like button or a thumbs up icon to click for great comments.

Ok so costs go up, prices have to go up, fine, be honest and raise the price outright. Don't raise the price then try to cover up the increase by deceptive packaging, that just makes us feel cheated.