I was listening to NPR a couple nights ago on the drive home, and the topic was the changing shape of certain jars of consumer food products.  For example, the once-flat bottom of a jar of Skippy peanut butter is now concave, so that it dimples inward. This change does one main thing reduces the amount of peanut butter in the jar, without changing the overall look of the product.  If you asked Skippy  (or in this case, Unilever) why they did this, they would say that they are trying to keep the price point the same, and that the amount of peanut butter is clearly labeled on the jar.

In response, I think we all know this is about making money.  In my opinion, this practice, which has been documented heavily as of late, is flat out deceptive.  I think that Skippy wants everyone to think they are getting the same thing, and all the while, they are making more for producing less. And unless you are an uber-watcher of Supermarket Sweep, you certainly don’t keep a running tally of the number of ounces in a given product. Give me a break!  This is a con job pure and simple.

Well that’s enough of what I think – What do you think?  Does the responsibility truly lie with the consumer?  Is Skippy sticking it to everyone that buys their product?

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20 Responses

  1. Cary

    I call bullshit on Skippy’s behalf, although one could easily point to the economy and make an easy excuse about the “trying times.” Screw that! I don’t care how skimpy your portfolio, it should not effect my F-ing Peanut Butter. If anything, they should at least throw a sticker on the jar reading “Better Because There’s Less!” or “Enjoy Less Peanut Butter, Fatties!”

  2. marybindc

    It’s something you have to watch wrt recipes. If it calls for a “can” of something you really need to note what size a can is, because it will change over time.

  3. Zac

    I hate to dissent, but who buys peanut butter enough to notice anyway? I go through maybe one or two jars a year.

    And if they are intending to deceive, it’s only a few ounces, right? I know, I get it, if they reduce the amount, they should reduce the price, but this seems like nickel and dime-ing.. Peanut butter used to come in a glass jar and cost 25 cents. Boy does grandpa feel ripped now!

  4. Brian

    Does a jar of Skippy cost the same as it did, say 10 years ago? If so, you know their costs have risen over that time. If they want to keep the same price, they would have to provide less product. Since most consumers don’t look at ounces, you can argue that it is misleading. But would these people be willing to pay more? Most consumers would scoff at a price increase. This way, they are able to keep the price the same with the appearance that the consumer is getting the same amount of product.

    I remember something similar to this with Dreyers ice cream a few years ago. Instead of increasing prices, they made their cartons a little smaller.

  5. Leslie M.

    Same with the Yogurt industry, the ice cream industry and the coffee industry.. I could go on.
    The yogurt one is the one that TICKED me off ROYAL!
    I was so P.O.’d when they went to a 6 oz cup and still charged us for an 8 oz cup. I called every singled yogurt company and complained! I wanted my 6 oz. What a RIP OFF!
    Still the industry NOW is a 6 oz cup. I shop with a coupon and will only buy if it is a bargain.
    PB is the same old story. We are paying MORE and getting LESS.. oh not to mention we are having to shop more often because we are getting LESS PRODUCT!
    Consumers BEWARE!

  6. Eick

    The one that really got me the most was when Labatt Blue went from 12 oz to 11.5 in their bottles of beer. It was so little that you couldn’t tell the bottle had changed slightly, but that just means you might need another 1/2 a beer to get you over the top at the end of the night! Shameful. All bottles should be 12 oz.

  7. Hillary

    While it’s hard to blame Skippy in the present state of the economy for gypping some of us out of extra peanut butter, we all know this is an age old trick on food containers. This strategy of changing the shape and size of the container to maintain the price has been around for awhile and hasn’t newly developed in the face of economic turmoil.

  8. karen

    I agree it’s BS, and lots of companies are doing it, not just the Skippy people. I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that all sorts of products I used to buy now come in smaller packages. For instance, I love Cheez-It crackers. Used to be I could buy a one pound box. Try finding a one pound box now. That box now weighs 13-some ounces. Did they reduce the price to reflect the smaller amount? Heavens no!

    I realize that companies are in business to make profits and I don’t begrudge them that one bit. What I do take issue with is how deceptive it feels.

  9. C

    Um…who is blaming a company for …gasp….attempting to make money. There’s worse things they could do. Their costs are rising in today’s world and some things just have to change. Its reeeally not that big of a difference. get over it

  10. Megan

    container sizes will change and prices will remain or rise…

    what erks me about the inverted bottom: it’s harder to get the rest of the product out when it gets empty.

  11. Louise

    Here we go again, two weeks ago I purchased a 40oz jar of Skippy Peanut butter. This week the same jar, states it has 30% more peanut butter then the small version. Of course it does, different jar sizes and price.

    Only this new jar, same size, not filled to the top is a 36oz and the same price (next week they will raise the price.I guess they think we would not notice. I hate be ripped off. No increase in SS this year but the manufactures are raising all their prices or putting less in their packaging.

    Louise Klimkowski
    6C Indiana Ct
    Matawan, NJ 07747


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