Consumer Watch: Product amounts shrink while prices remain steady


by Andy Treinen

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 4:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 12 at 5:01 PM

(WHAS11) -- A heads up for consumers to pay special attention to claims a product is new and improved. As a one teenager consumer found out, new and improved is not always and improvement for you wallet.

Fellow shoppers across the country are finding out the amount of product inside boxes is shrinking while prices stay aren’t. So, it's a manufacturer issue more than a store issue, but the bottom line is we're now getting less for more.

Jared Goodman, half-teenager and half shopping sleuth, scours grocery stores catching big brands making products smaller for the same price.

Goodman uncovered a surprising clue – claims of the product being new and improved. Consumer advocates found at least 14 products have recently gotten smaller, including Maxwell House coffee.
That “good to the last drop" of coffee comes a lot sooner these days as the old can made 270 cups and the new makes just 240.

Pillsbury cake mixes recently shrank by 3 ounces.  When tester followed the instructions for making cupcakes, the old mix made 24, but, at the same price, the new barely stretches to make 21.

Manufacturers presented with the findings said they downsize products because customers prefer smaller products to higher prices.

And remember that tip from the 13-year-old detective? He's right.

When a product says "new and improved," there's no legal definition of that claim, so it often means “smaller but just as expensive."

If you have a consumer tip, send an email to