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Entries in Products (3)

Thursday
Sep132012

Shrinking Products: Paying the Same for Less

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Big brands are selling smaller products for the same price and one of the many consumers noticing the differences and alerting others is not even old enough to drive.

“I usually feel cheated because I’m paying the same price for less of an item,” Jared Goodman, 13, told ABC News.  “I usually look for labels that say ‘new and improved.’  Because that probably means the product’s been downsized.”

Goodman is part of a growing army of shoppers who are fed up with what’s called “downsizing.”  Consumers from all over the country send their tips to Edgar Dworksy, the founder of ConsumerWorld.org, who posts the findings online.

“[Downsizing is] very common,” Dworksy said.  “It’s been going on for years, but there seems to be a surge right now.”

On ABC News’ trip to the supermarket, 14 products were found that had recently gotten smaller.  Here were some of the changes:

  • Kashi cereal had shrunk, with a slightly taller box actually containing less cereal.
  • Boxes of Scott Tissues contained 12 less tissues.
  • There were 48 fewer chocolate chips in Ghirardelli chocolate chips.
  • Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts contained 52 fewer nuts than it had previously.
  • A can of Maxwell House Coffee used to have enough coffee for 270 cups, now it will make only 240. The one thing that didn’t change was the price, it still costs $9.59.
  • Pillsbury Cake mixes were reduced by three ounces. When made as instructed on the package, the old mix made 24 cupcakes; the new one, which costs the same, barely makes 21.
  • Brawny paper towels new roll had four and a half feet fewer paper towels than one of its older rolls.  And again, the price remained the same.

ABC News confronted the manufacturers about the disparity and they said they downsize products because customers prefer that to higher prices.

“We regularly improve Brawny to compete against other well-known towel brands, and last year made Brawny stronger when wet to better meet consumer needs,” Georgia-Pacific, the maker of Brawny, wrote to ABC News.  “To cover the costs of this improvement, we slightly reduced the sheet count and size, and our consumers’ response to these changes have been positive."

“We aim to provide the right value to our consumers -- and may introduce new package sizes or adjust package sizes of our base products (upward or downward) based on delivering the right value,” Lynne Galia from Kraft Foods Corporate Affairs wrote to ABC News.  Kraft makes Maxwell House coffee as well as Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts.

In the end, the power is with the purchaser: consumers can always switch brands, but it’s important to remember that when one brand shrinks, its competitors often do the same.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Beware the 'Amish-Made' Label

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From food to furniture to clothing, more and more goods are showing up in stores with an Amish label attached to their name. The problem: Most of these goods are not Amish and are, in reality, being created without the input or knowledge of the Amish people.

“This is certainly nothing new,” said Brad Igou, president of the Amish Experience, which provides tours of legitimately Amish owned and  operated businesses in Bird-in-Hand, Pa.

“The word Amish implies honesty, integrity and well-made durable goods,” he added as explanation for the popularity of the term. “People who don’t do their homework might be buying things that are not Amish-made.”

The term “Amish Country” is popular among companies that are not selling the genuine article because it refers to a geographical location rather than to the people themselves, warns AmishAmerica.com.

The website quoted one Amish entrepreneur as saying, “I see this in the food industry.  There’s quite a few organizations here locally that will sell using ‘Amish.’  And what they’re trying to do is create the perception that it does come from Amish producers, when it doesn’t.  They don’t explicitly say so, they just say, ‘Amish Country’ this, ‘Amish Country’ that. … ‘Amish’ is big, ‘Country’ is small.  So, the customer that buys this, his perception … is this comes from an Amish farm or an Amish producer.”

Aside from watching it being made or knowing the producer, there’s no way to know for sure. One of the best signs, however, is also the most counterintuitive.

“Most of the time,” Igou said, “Amish do not use the term Amish in the name of their business.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan042011

Products Are Shrinking, Prices Aren't, Finds 'Consumer Reports'

Photo Courtesy - Tim Boyle/Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- A growing number of products, from orange juice to toilet paper, are shrinking in size yet being kept at the same price, according to the latest investigation by Consumer Reports.

The report, featured in the February issue of Consumer Reports magazine, finds that big company names like Tropicana, Häagen-Dazs and Kraft are making subtle changes in how they package their products, reducing their size by up to 20 percent.  Manufacturers cite rising expenses in ingredients, raw materials and energy as the reasons for their downsizing.

Although the products are smaller, companies have not changed their prices for fear of losing consumers to higher prices.

Here are some of the downsized products Consumer Reports found in their investigation:

-- Cartons of Tropicana orange juice shrank 7.8 percent in size from 64 ounces to 59 ounces.

-- Bottles of Ivory dish detergent were reduced to 24 ounces from 30 ounces, a 20 percent difference.

-- Packages of Kraft American cheese now contain 22 slices instead of 24, a reduction of 8.3 percent.

-- Tubs of Häagen-Dazs ice cream were downsized 12.5 percent, from 16 ounces to 14.

-- Packages of Scott toilet tissue paper rolls now total 104.8 square feet, a difference of 9 percent from its previous sum of 115.2 square feet.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio