The Incredible Shrinking Peanut Butter Jar

In these difficult times, manufacturers don't want to raise prices but at the same time they face rising costs, so they elect to shrink the product. But they do so sneakily ... behold the incredible shrinking peanut butter jar:

... a careful look at the jars of Skippy on the shelves may reveal a surprise. The prices are about the same, but the jars are getting smaller.

They don't look different in size or shape. But recently, the jars developed a dimple in the bottom that slices the contents to 16.3 ounces from 18 ounces -- about 10% less peanut butter.

The only way to know you are buying less is to look at the weight on the label and recognize it's lighter than before Unilever, owner of the Skippy brand, switched out containers.

Across the supermarket, manufacturers are trimming packages, nipping a half-ounce off that bar of soap, narrowing the width of toilet paper and shrinking the size of ice cream containers.

Often the changes are so subtle that they create "the illusion that you are buying the same amount," explained Frank Luby, a pricing consultant with Simon-Kucher & Partners of Cambridge, Mass.


(Photo: Steven Senne/AP)

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I like to pretend that there's fewer Cheetos to a package, and that I'm saving a whopping 100 calories per snarfed-in-a-moment-of-weakness bag.

Please don't ask me to prove this. Let me live out my little fantasy.

(I AM peeved that cans of tuna look mysteriously under-filled, however. And more "tuna-looking". It's much more difficult to make into tuna sammiches with their "fresh-looking chunks" as opposed to "pre-cooked fish mush". BRING BACK THE MUSH!)
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Zo- how are the smaller water bottles "more eco friendly" when you are using more plastic to bottle up a gallon of water. For example, a single one gallon bottle of water would use less packaging (i.e. plastic) than would eight, 16 ounce bottles of water. I don't see how this is "more eco-friendly" unless you are talking of the gas savings I would have by lugging around a thinner wallet.
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As long as the weight or volume printed on the label is accurate, this kind of thing doesn't bother me too much.
But changing the serving size on the nutrition label doesn't change the serving size people eat. So it bothers me when companies change it just to appear lo-fat/lo-cal without any reduction in their customers fat/calorie intake.
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