Size surprises

Last reviewed: February 2011

Garden-variety downsizing means taking one product and shrinking it while charging the same price. But there are other ways to create consumer confusion with a combination of product type, price, and packaging. We contacted Folger's, Kraft, and Yoplait for explanations of the cases here. The paired products cost about the same.

Case 1

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Elbows,
7.25 oz., and Spirals, 5.5 oz.

Difference: -24%

Reason A shape is going to be more expensive and in a smaller box than an elbow. It's a premium product. The manufacturing process is more difficult and involved. The company makes much more of the elbows (so they can be sold for less).


Case 2

Yoplait Original Yogurt, 6 oz.,
and Whips, 4 oz.

Difference: -33.3%

Reason The product is full of air bubbles because of the whipped consistency. And the air fills up the container. It's the nitrogen that keeps it light and fluffy. If you were to stir it down and break up the air bubbles, it wouldn't fill up the container.


Case 3

Folger's Classic Roast, 11.3 oz.,
and French Roast, 10.3 oz.

Difference: -8.8%

Reason The weight difference is based on the roasting process and the amount of moisture removed from beans. The darker the roast, the more lightweight the coffee. The containers should provide the same number of brewed cups.