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Holdout Jif shrinks its peanut butter jars, too

Sometimes packages at the grocery store mysteriously shrink, yet prices usually don't. This time, Jif dropped the suggested retail price to keep the per-ounce cost the same.

By MSN Money Partner Jul 10, 2013 12:17PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News. 


MoneyTalksNews logoLess is more? Not at the grocery store.


Eagle eyes over at MousePrint.org noticed new, smaller jars of Jif peanut butter are hitting shelves now.

(© Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

You might not spot the difference because the jars are about the same height as they were before.


But if you measure, as the site did, you'll discover the new jar "had its waistline trimmed by one-half an inch," MousePrint.org says.


Many companies shrink their products over time as costs increase, but Jif is an interesting case for two reasons.


The first is that the brand was a holdout from the shrink ray and proudly touted it on the label for a long time.


About five years ago, Skippy and then Peter Pan shrank their jars, while Jif slapped on a prominent label that said, "We're still 18 oz.," according to MousePrint.org, which provided photographic evidence. (Consumerist also noticed the label change in 2009.)

The second reason it's interesting is that the brand was open about the change, going so far as to post an explanation and advance notice on Facebook in May:
We value you as some of our most loyal consumers and want to let you know ahead of time that we are switching our 18 oz. jars to a 16 oz. jar starting June 1. As a result, we have decreased the suggested retail price so the cost per ounce stays the same as it was prior to the change. There will be absolutely no change to the Jif peanut butter formula you love so much. The change is being made to align with consumer and retailer feedback.

While it's not clear which consumers complained that those jars were just too chock-full of peanut butter, at least the company had the guts to admit the change was coming and adjust the price. It seems more common for companies to tweak the look of the packaging and quietly shrink the contents without shrinking the price, passing on higher costs to consumers.


What do you think of Jif's move, and what else have you seen shrinking at the grocery store lately?


More on Money Talks News:

69Comments
Jul 10, 2013 1:09PM
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My family still eats the same amount of food it did 6 years ago.  Now I buy more packages and feel like we are eating twice as much but we aren't.  I would prefer they just up the darn price and leave the package size alone.
Jul 10, 2013 2:04PM
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everything is shrinking, a gallon of oj is now 89 or 96 ounces, a pound of sausage is 12 to 14 ounces, a 5 pound bag of sugar is down to 4, a 1/2 gallon of ice cream is a quart and a half now and candy bars that used to be 4 bites are down to 2. pretty soon we'll just be getting empty packages at twice the price. i'd rather have the full size and pay more.
Jul 10, 2013 1:20PM
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I like the "change is being made to align with customer and retailer feedback" comment. I mean, seriously?
Jul 10, 2013 2:10PM
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16 is the new 18, as is 14.25 is the new 16, and 6 the new 8. A sign of the times. Shrinking packages, shrinking jobs, shrinking incomes. And swelling budget deficits.
Jul 10, 2013 2:36PM
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AS THE PRICE PER OZ GO UP I BUY LESS OF PRODUCT.  WHEN I DECIDE THING COST TO MUCH I STOP BUYING OR BUY STORE BRANDS. AND WHEN THAT TO HIGH I STOP BUYING AND DO WITH OUT. I DON'T GET FOOD STAMPS.

Jul 10, 2013 1:25PM
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Purely a pricing strategy - must match the price of the competition because the consumer will always grab the cheaper one first!  They must have been doing that. Duh...
Jul 10, 2013 1:29PM
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If the price is the same per ounce why bother changing it at all?  Isn't it very costly to the company to change the packaging?  I'm sure they could have changed the packaging to be smaller and more environmentally friendly without making any changes to the net weight.
Jul 10, 2013 1:55PM
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While I realize that it's up to the consumer to keep track of what they are paying per unit, the practice of altering the container or amount held within is deceptive to the buyer .... you gotta wonder how long it will be before peanut butter is bought by the thimble-full. I had to buy some eye drops a few years back, and when I figured out the cost of that stuff for an estimated gallon, it came to over $250,000..... someone's making a lot of money!!
Jul 10, 2013 2:02PM
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About 7 months ago, Echrich and other sausage makers cut the size of the smoked sausage from 19 oz to 13 or 14  oz and left it at the same price. I wonder if anyone else caught the change?
Jul 10, 2013 2:26PM
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If the cost per ounce stays the same, why shrink the jar?
Jul 10, 2013 3:11PM
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I wish all companies wee open like this about their practices then what they generally are. Lets give it up for JIF! Other Companies would shrink the product and raise the price to generate more profits so their CEO's and Presidents can get a bigger bonus. Well not JIF. They maybe shrank their product, but at least kept the price per oz the same.

 

Bravo!

Jul 10, 2013 1:19PM
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time to rewrite some on the recipie of some ingrediants.  some say a 16 oz can of this that is now 12 oz or or a 18 oz jar of that which is now 16 oz
Jul 10, 2013 2:56PM
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I agree with the recipe comment. If a recipe calls for "a can" of tuna fish or chicken, it assumes the can is 8 oz. Now that tuna cans are 6 oz, what are you supposed to do? Have two oz less tuna in your casserole, which kind of defeats the purpose of tuna casserole, or buy two cans and have 12 oz in your recipe? Obviously, the tuna company knows what you'd rather do and happily reaps the additional profit on your extra purchase.
Jul 10, 2013 1:53PM
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Orange juice went from 64oz to 59oz!
Jul 10, 2013 3:13PM
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They will quietly raise the price per ounce.
Jul 10, 2013 2:28PM
Jul 10, 2013 2:59PM
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There is not a shortage of peanuts now, so the price should go back down.
Jul 10, 2013 2:50PM
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The "jars" are now made of plastic.....made from petroleum.......less jar = less cost = slightly more profit even if the cost per oz stays the same.
Jul 10, 2013 4:35PM
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In spite of all this evidence to the contrary our Gov. keeps trying to tell us that inflation is only .02 % or some ridiculous number like that.  I have seen cube steak go from $3.99/LB to $5.99/LB in one years time and that is only one of many things I have seen go up like that.

 

They figure inflation on things like cars, Tv's, washer and dryers, etc.  They should be using food, gas bills, electric bills, water bills, gasoline and so on.

Jul 10, 2013 1:23PM
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I cook from scratch with bulk purchases so I really don't notice size changes.

 

The smaller Jif at the same price per ounce is appealing because the contents are fresher and not sitting in the pantry as long before it's gone and a new one is opened.

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