What companies say about shrinking products


Kellogg Canada Inc. (Frosted Flakes)

“Thank you again for contacting the Kellogg Canada Media Hotline. Unfortunately, we’ll have to respectfully decline participation in an on-camera interview. However, please find below for your reference, Kellogg Canada’s statement in response to your inquiry.

“Current economic pressures have had a direct impact on our costs. As a result, we have had to make changes to address the impact and better harmonize our pack sizes within our North American Manufacturing Network. In some cases this includes increasing the size of our packaging, and in other cases it includes reducing the size – for example, reducing Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal from 445g to 425g – to help offset those increased costs associated with manufacturing and distributing our products.”

Kimberly-Clark Corporation (Cottonelle toilet paper)

"In the second quarter of 2013, Kimberly-Clark’s North American Consumer Products group announced a sheet count reduction for both Kleenex facial tissues and Cottonelle bath tissues in its region (Canada included). In each case the sheet count reduction was accompanied by a product improvement that increased the bulk or thickness of each sheet. By adding bulk, consumers were provided with better, stronger facial and bath tissues and needed fewer sheets to get the job done.

“When we took our sheet reduction with Cottonelle and Kleenex in the second quarter of 2013, we did not increase the pricing for retailers. As you know, the price the consumers actually pay for products is up to the retailer…not the manufacturer, so I’m not sure if consumers saw any price increase.

“Again, I want to stress for your story that the sheet count reduction was accompanied by a product improvement that added bulk to the sheets which makes for  thicker, softer and stronger facial and bath sheets, which required fewer sheets to accomplish the job the sheets were designed for.”

Kraft Canada Inc. (Singles, Cheez Whiz, Cracker Barrel, Maxwell House)

“In 2014, the size of Cracker Barrel large block went from 500g to 460g. This is an 8% decrease. In 2013, Cheez Whiz went from 500g to 450g and 1kg to 900g, a 10% decrease. In 2014, Kraft Singles packages went from 500g to 450g and 1kg to 900g. All of these changes were driven by our desire to offer consumers value and quality while managing increased commodity and ingredient costs.

“The [Maxwell House] sizing change happened a long time ago (2008) and was about a different bean.”

Maple Leaf Foods (Maple Leaf Bacon)

“In the spring of 2014, Maple Leaf reduced the amount of bacon per package for two main reasons: The extraordinary effects of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus on the US hog supply led to significantly higher hog and pork prices. PED virus has a substantial economic impact because it is highly contagious and survives well in cold weather, resulting in significant mortality rates in piglets. We also incurred costs associated with the enhanced biosecurity protocols we introduced in order to prevent any impact at our barns. It is very important to understand that this virus has no impact on human health or food safety. By slightly reducing the amount of bacon in a package, we have been able to keep prices at reasonable levels for consumers. We informed consumers through earned media, which you can find via web searches. We also changed the weight measurement on-pack. Secondly, an ageing population, smaller households and people looking to eat healthier are resulting in people changing the way they consume staple items – like bacon. Research told us that that 75% of Canadian households do not eat an entire pack of 500g bacon. It is simply too much for them. By slightly reducing the amount of bacon in a package, we are better aligning our product with our consumers’ needs, while encouraging less food waste.”

McCain Foods (McCain Savoury Wedges)

“I can confirm that McCain reduced the size of some of our packages, including our McCain Savoury Wedges, more than six months ago in response to increased input costs.  We wanted to be able to keep the price the same and in order to do so, we had to reduce the size of some of our packages. At the same time, we also updated our packaging with a new logo and a new look. By reducing the pack size of our Savoury Wedges to 650g from 750g, we were able to maintain the same great product quality that our consumers expect. All McCain products continue to be made with real, wholesome potatoes and contain no artificial colours or flavours.”

Mondelez Canada ( Ritz Crackers, Chips Ahoy Cookies)

“In today’s challenging economic environment, in which consumers have tight budgets, we look at the whole picture and evaluate how we can provide value through price, size and packaging.  Our focus is price consistency, where possible, while maintaining our high quality standards and great taste. That said, the cost of ingredients in the last few years has continued to rise. To keep our price consistent, we sometimes slightly reduce package size.”

Parmalat Canada (Black Diamond Cheese)

"Given increased production costs, and more specifically with the higher price of ingredients in our industry, we were faced with the choice of increasing prices or producing a more economical package. Like our main competitor, we chose to follow the trend and produce a smaller package.  We have adapted in order to continue to be competitive and maintain jobs in Canada.

"Given increased production costs, and more specifically with the higher price of ingredients in our industry, we were faced with the choice of increasing prices or producing a more economical package.”

PepsiCo Canada ULC (Lay’s potato chips)

“The changes you referenced for Lay’s in Canada are accurate. The first change occurred nearly a year ago and the second change was two years ago.  We haven’t made any changes since then.

“From time to time, we make adjustments to package sizes due to variety of reasons. Package size changes are a common industry practice to manage rising costs, however value and quality for our consumers are our highest priority.”

Procter & Gamble Canada  (Ivory Clean & Simple, Charmin toilet paper)

“For us, the consumer is boss and our simple goal is to continue to provide value to our consumers by delivering products that delight them at the right price point.  While retailers set the final price the consumer pays, we do adjust our pricing to reflect such factors as improvements in product performance and/or the rising costs of raw materials, manufacturing and transportation costs. We make every effort to minimize the impact on consumers by making these changes at the same time as product improvements and by increasing the efficiencies of our own processes but some of it may need to be reflected in either the price or size of the product.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to accept your invite for an on-camera interview. Regarding your additional question, we are unable to disclose our pricing strategies. Pricing on shelf is at the sole discretion of the retailer.”

Unilever Canada (Red Rose Tea)

“Earlier this year (beginning in January), we rolled out nationally with an improved, higher quality Red Rose tea in order to provide our consumer with an even better tea experience – one with a better blend and a better tea bag infusion.  First, our Master Tea Blenders selected a new blend of tea (including fresh pressed tea leaf components) to deliver a higher quality blend with a less bitter flavour. Second, we have a new sheer tea bag material, made from 100% renewable plant material, which infuses our tea better than our previous tea bag material. In changing the tea blend and the infusion, our Master Tea Blenders needed to slightly reduce the amount of tea in each bag by 0.2 grams in order to provide an optimal tea experience for our black tea drinkers. The number of tea bags in each carton remains the same.”

The company also sent a second statement:

“Thanks for reaching out to confirm some of the information that you have gathered. As you have stated, we have changed the amount of tea per tea bag in our Red Rose line – the total weight of the Red Rose 72 count box has changed from 227g to 209g. 

"As we referenced in our earlier correspondence, when we made the changes to our Red Rose tea our objective was to improve our tea blend to create a slightly less bitter tea as well as to make our tea bag biodegradable.  In changing the tea blend and the tea bag, our Master Tea Blenders needed to slightly reduce the amount of tea in each bag in order to provide an optimal tea experience for our consumers. In testing the product, Canadian tea drinkers told us that they liked our new blend.  In addition, we worked to keep the steeping time of each individual tea bag the same so that consumers would not have to change the way they have always brewed their cup of tea. Each box of Red Rose still provides the same number of great cups of tea with the added bonus that the new bags are better for the environment. In addition, all of our black tea is Rainforest Alliance certified so consumers can feel good knowing that the tea they are drinking has been made with tea farmers and the environment in mind.”


Food and Consumer Products of Canada

“Canada’s food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers are proud to offer more product choices on the shelf than ever before.

"That said, these are challenging economic times and manufacturers are facing rising costs on a number of fronts, including for energy, labour, ingredients and production. These factors can all affect the cost of goods manufacturers sell to retail customers. They are also some of the reasons why experts are predicting food prices may rise by almost 3% overall just this year.

"Manufacturers explore all options to manage their rising costs, just as any consumer would do with their own family budget. One of the considerations a company will investigate is slightly altering the product size to manage production costs.”