Less for More

Not only do prices on everything seem to be rising but a whole lot of things are getting smaller as those prices rise.  I’ve noticed that things like canned tuna, some cereals, bars of soap and some candy bars.  I even remember when fabric was really 45″ wide and it surely isn’t any more.

I just happened to have two different rolls of different brands of toilet paper sitting side by side, and noticed that one roll is shorter than the other.

I suppose the question is . . how wide does toilet paper really need to be?  Don’t answer that question!  Don’t even think about that question!  🙂  But, I doubt the cost per roll has gone down but it’s something else to consider when I’m comparing prices of one brand to another.

Have you noticed package sizes getting smaller on items you buy?


    • 1.1

      Chris Wells says

      Coffee in the 80’s was a full 48 ounces or a three pound can, Well the can is 34 ounces or less now. What kills me is the Kroger store can sell coffee name brand cheaper on sale than Walmart can. Not all prices at Sam’s or Walmart are good ones. They vary from store to store also. The coffee 9 miles away in another Walmart is almost $1.20 more per container. They are noted for making prices match other stores in their area.

  1. 2


    Try making chili out of canned beans. The cans are nearly half liquid. Try finding the tuna in a small can after draining. The same goes for Vegetables. My mother served one can of green beans for 4 of us, but now I need two cans, for 3 people. Chef Boyardee ravioli – over half the can is sauce. The cranberry sauce can is shorter. The worst was the brownie mix – the box now says use a 8″ square pan, and it turns out very short. Grated Kraft cheese used to be 2 cups, or 3 cups, now they are 1-3/4 cup. It ruins old recipes!!!! Do they think we won’t notice? Is this so they won’t have to admit that we have inflation? As you can tell – a very sore issue with me.

  2. 3


    Yes, especially with dog food. It used to come in 50 lb bags. Then I switched to a high end brand which was in a 40 lb bag. I have switched a couple of more times and I notice that the brand I use now is in a 28 lb bag! It’s a good thing that my dogs eat less of the higher quality food.

  3. 5

    Freda Henderson says

    The Firestarter we use in our woodstove is noticeably sp? smaller but still costs the same.

  4. 7

    Liz says

    Yes – a lot of things are smaller or thinner or less. I am also looking as to how long it takes me to use up stuff. How can you prep for bad weather, etc if you don’t know how long it lasts. So, I am looking at things and recording when I buy and when I use it up. That way I’ll know if I buy something on sale, it is a month or a 6 month supply of the item.

    I never worried about this before, but I am more aware of sales so I need to be.

  5. 10

    Terri says

    My quilting buds and I were talking about the toilet paper being narrower at breakfast Saturday. I also noticed on Friday that my large ice tea from Wendy’s isn’t as big either. Do they think we won’t notice this? Some marketing genius at work…….

  6. 11

    Terri says

    oh and my ding dang pressure cooker came in broken! I was all excited to use it this weekend but I had to send it back today 🙁 Oh well Amazon is quick maybe I’ll have it for this weekend!

  7. 12


    I noticed the toilet paper last summer – Needless to say, we tracked down some of the older packages, but I think we are down to our last 6 rolls.

  8. 13


    I’ve read a lot of discussion on this topic and Mr. Pirate has opined on it occasionally. The bottom line is …. manufacturing is a business. A business is in existence to make a profit. Profit is the money leftover when all the expenses have been paid. What expenses? Well, everything you need to create your product, overhead and employee expenses.

    If YOU are being charged more for your raw materials you need to create your product, then YOU will need to charge your customers more so that you will retain your profit. If a fabric manufacturer has to pay more for greige goods, that cost is passed along to us. There’s nothing wrong or evil about profit … that’s what entrepreneurs live on and what businesses pay dividends on to their shareholders.

    With respect to fabrics, it seems to me there are two scenarios: keep the width the same (what we are used to: 44″) but increase the price OR reduce the width (anyone remember when fabrics used to be 36″ wide?) and keep the yardage price the same. What can NOT happen is keeping the 44″ wide AND the yardage price.

    Extend this out to every other manufacturer … keep the size the same but increase the price (the consumer screams of price gouging); reduce the size and keep the price the same (the consumer screams of deceptive practices). But if the cost to the manufacturer is going up (and it is), that cost is GOING TO be passed to the consumer. There is no win/win situation. You can’t have it both ways. Sadly, this is just life.

    We need to be aware of what is going on (and not think this is some business conspiracy to simply take our money) and plan our spending more wisely. Or we need to make more money so we can continue to spend as we always have. Or win the Lotto. 🙂

    • 13.1

      Linda says

      Guess all that would be fine if our income was going up accordingly, but it isn’t and hasn’t for twenty years or more. My DH found some old tax returns during one of his holiday weekend junk rearranging sprees and found it hard to believe he was making more money ten years ago than he is now……never mind all the inflation since then. Good thing our kids are grown up and our house is paid for because we couldn’t afford either otherwise.

      • says

        I agree. We farm and are dependent on what prices the companies give us. I sure wish I noticed an increase but unfortunately I do not. When we get a call saying ‘you’re getting less $ starting next week’, there’s not much you can do.

  9. 14


    I have noticed that we do seem to be getting less for the same amount of money…or in some cases, we’re getting less AND paying more.

    On one hand, I do agree with Shelley that everything we buy is tied to a business and that business’ main goal is to make money. However, many times I find that very hard to swallow when I know the company is making a ton of profit on things.

    The company I work for (which will remain nameless) doesn’t necessarily set a price for our product, but sets a certain amount of profit for that product. Over the past year or two, we have taken drastic measures to reduce the touch-time we have on our product and reducing our company’s cost…however, the company has not reduced the cost to our customer. They are just increasing their profit margin.

    I imagine most large companies are this way, so it really bothers me when everyone realizes this is a crummy economy, but they still say they want 20% profit on everything. If they dropped the profit to 18%, yes they wouldn’t have as much money, but maybe more people would be able to afford the product and still be able to put food on the table or pay their heating bills.

    I guess we have to all win the Lotto. 🙂

  10. 15


    I had always heard of companies doing this instead of raising prices. Now, it seems like they raise prices AND provide less product.

    I remember the first time I really paid attention, though. I had bought two “gallons” of ice cream at the same time a couple of years ago…. The old packaging of Dreyers was 1 gallon and the new packaging for 3/4 gallon. I still get steamed that a gallon of ice cream is no longer a gallon!

  11. 16

    Greg says

    I’ve noticed that Puffs tissues are about 1 1/2″ shorter than the box, so they slide around inside… but on the shelf they appear to be the same size as other brands. Hummmm.

  12. 17

    Linda in NE says

    In the case of ice cream, we are getting less and paying a lot more….$6.55 for a 4 1/2 qt. bucket of store brand. Or maybe I shouldn’t say that because I refuse to pay that and only buy it when it’s on sale. Then there’s the canned fruits and veggies…used to be 16 oz., not they’re 15 oz. I don’t think there’s a single packaged item on store shelves any more that is the same size it was 3-5 yrs ago and the prices have all gone up.

  13. 18


    yes I do — when ever I am pricing things I always use the price per unit as the comparison. Although that only gives you the difference between brands and not the way its gone up over time

  14. 19

    June Piper-Brandon says

    The ice cream containers have gotten smaller but the price has stayed the same, cereal, yogurt, lots of things. I read how many sheets are on a roll when pricing toilet paper, you might think that one is cheaper than the other but they all have different numbers of sheets on a roll, same with paper towels but you have to read it to find out.

  15. 20


    Not only are our prices as consumers going up with less product but as a small business owner I am experiencing increasing cost to do business. Wholesale prices have gone up causing me to raise my prices. Credit card processing has gone up along with more fees and again I must pass that cost on in order to stay healthy business wise. I have tried everything I know to reduce cost to my customers. It’s no wonder we are seeing more quilt shops going out of business. I’ve always been told it’s supply and demand that determine cost. We are hearing that there is a shortage of food world wide. Could that be why food costs are up?

  16. 21

    Chris Wells says

    My theory is that it all reflects around the petroleum prices. The more the gas and fuels the more the products are. It costs to make the plastic bottles your laundry detergent comes in. It is a petroleum product so make them smaller. It has to be delivered to the stores by truck so more gas. It has to be delivered to the landfill more costs or to the recyle places to have more fuel used to process it again. The farmer uses fertilizer which is peroleum based to get more food, then more fuel to get it out of the fields and to the manufacturer and the same process starts all over again. Until we find an alternative to make and maunfacturing products without fuel we will face the higher prices. Not a win- win thing.

  17. 22


    Judy I came to your fair state to see my sister this weekend and am still here…snowed in in Missouri and snowed out in Arkansas! blessings, marlene

  18. 23

    Jolie says

    Oh, yes, I have noticed! Like many have mentioned, the packaging stays the same, but the amount is reduced. You think you are getting the same amount of product by the size of the container. I recently noticed about the tissues being shorter. About a year ago, I noticed that graham crackers were shorter, and seemed thinner. Tuna has been reduced in ounces for quite a while. I understand the need for profit & expect to pay more, even tho I don’t make more money. But, I wish they would reduce the packaging sizes to reflect the contents (this might help to decrease manufacturing costs, too). It does make me feel that they think we are stupid & we don’t notice!

  19. 24

    crystal karley says

    I have noticed this for the last few years. All you have to do is look at package of potato chips. Same size package with more air and less chips inside. Same for shampoo and other things. I don’t like this for two reasons. 1- I think it is deceptive marketing of a product. 2- There is extra packaging going into the landfill that isn’t needed. I have always wondered why the cost of food for example goes up within a couple of days of a shortage announcement when that food shortage is for next years/seasons production run and not for today’s food that has already been processed and bought at the lower price to the company. I have noticed the same thing happens with gas prices.

  20. 25


    It used to be “bundles” were cheaper than buying individually. But recently, I noticed that the bundles for some sponges were actually more expensive than buying individuals! And, this was at WalMart! The same thing happened with Kleenexes yesterday. A 3-pack bundle was actually more expensive than buying 3 separate boxes. And yes, I checked to be sure they were exactly the same. I’m telling you, it was weird! And, I’m going to be more careful about prepackaged bundles from now on.

    • 25.1

      Chris Wells says

      I saw the difference on Kleenex, but the count in each individual box was only 175 not the 200. I got caught in that at Walmart over Christmas. They only had the individual. If it is on sale buy as much as you can and hope for the next sale.

  21. 26

    Pam says

    I haven’t noticed the TP shorter but I know the same brand is not at full as it once was. I keep in a drawer in our bathroom and could only get 6 rolls upright in the drawer. Now I can get 8 rolls in the same amount of space. I agree that there are many examples of decrease in size but price stays same or increases.
    Guess we are “saving the environment.” Won’t get on that soap box!

  22. 27


    I notice this frequently and I really wish they wouldn’t do it. I hate it when I have a recipe that calls for 16 oz of something and now they only sell it in 15 or 14.5 or 12 oz. Everything from canned veggies to froz veggies to jars of spag sauce. I know I could do some of my own and I have tried to do some preserving, but it is very annoying – esp when I don’t realize it until I’m in mid-recipe.

  23. 28

    pat says

    I sure have they even make the jars with the indents in the bottom same jar but look at the bottom indented

    My husband has noticed these changes within the last two years.

  24. 29


    While I am grateful that I can still afford my trips to the diner, but the salad went from having a whole quartered egg, tomato wedges with cheese and garbanzo beans, to diced tomatoes, 1/2 an egg and no cheese or beans. Same price. ~ksp

  25. 30


    I’ve noticed! The first time I saw it with toilet paper was while I was traveling and stopped at a restaurant. I swear the toilet paper was barely wider than the register tape. I was so stunned I brought out a length (clean) to discuss with my companions. Of course they thought I was nuts.

    Hostess Ding Dongs are noticeably smaller – okay, not a food staple, but still.

    And remember when you could buy a FIVE pound bag of sugar? Good luck finding one today, they’re all four pounds.

    I get that prices have to change, but modifying the packaging and contents FEELS deceptive. They were quite proud of themselves when producing larger quantities that they published it all over their packaging. It’s about time I see something that says “NEW! SMALLER! Easier to fit in your mouth Ding Dong” or “Less Paper, Less Waste!”

    Let’s just say it the way it really it is “Yes, stupid consumer, you’re being charged more for less!” And we’re sucking it up without complaint.

  26. 31

    Marilyn Smith says

    Judy, don’t even get me going! Guess you can figure out this really aggravates me!

  27. 32


    This post kinda makes me laugh…I buy giant 48 roll packs at Sam’s, about 4 of them at a time(can you tell I hate to buy this everyweek at the grocery store?!) Anyway, I also noticed that the rolls are not as wide. In fact, I have kept three of the wider ones still in the plastic just so someday I can take a picture and either do a post on it(thanks, you’ve saved me the trouble!)or take a picture and complain to the company about it…which I’m sure they care, right?!
    This also reminds me of how the ‘fun-sized’ candy bars have shrunk over the years…Used to be one was a nice little snack…now you need two or maybe three just to get a taste of them.

  28. 33


    Well, I hate to say it, but I see fabric following just the same path – all those little Moda packets – honey bun, etc (drives me crazy) are really only clever ways to sell that fabric for a higher price… has anyone calculated how much per yard those packets are? Will there come a day when they only sell fabric in small little packets… it could happen! sorry to be a downer…

  29. 34

    Eileen Keane says

    What I hate most is the fact that these manufacturers don’t tell us what they’re doing!! It’s almost a bait and switch tactic!
    It makes me laugh when I see the package say that there’s “extra servings”. What they mean is that its got the old amount and we should be excited about it.

  30. 35

    Linda H says

    Bottom line: when the prices have gone too high for the smaller sizes, the sales will slow or cease. This is already happening in my home. I often can make do or do without. Case in point: the local restaurants have always had high prices here compared to other locales, but for the past couple of years the prices charged for sub-quality meals has become ridiculous. Sooo, they don’t get our business anymore. We eat wonderful meals by candlelight with romantic background music in our own home.

    Some of us have thin budgets and cannot continue to pay the increasing prices for products. Surely at some point, the businesses will pick up on that. Is it better to sell 50 of something at $XXXX or 150 at $XX ? Decisions, decisions.

  31. 37

    Sibyl says

    I see that they are downsizing so very many things. Really makes you upset when things used to be one size and now another. What is bad is when you use a recipe that was written years ago, and it says to use a certain size can or carton of such and such. And you look at yours, and it is maybe as much as 1/3 small than what was the norm back then.

    On the toilet paper, we were discussing this on a forum I am on, because we embroider on it. And with it being smaller some of the designs just do not fit on it as well. Not a good thing.

  32. 38

    Cheryl L says

    I just bought what I thought was the 2cup bag of Kraft shredded cheese that I usually buy. I was more than just a bit irritated when I realized it is no longer 2cups, but 1 3/4. The price was the same as before. I’ll be switching to another brand. Sorry Kraft, you just lost a customer. I may soon have no options but to buy my own cow!

  33. 40


    I love tuna. Have eaten it nearly every day since I was a kid. When I got married (1973) a 6 oz can of BumbleBee tuna was 39 cents. I can still find it sometimes for 39 cents a can but it’s usually more like 79 cents. Of course it’s 5 oz now but still. I wonder if anyone can find a product that has stayed as close to the same price for 35+ years.

  34. 41


    Oh yes. I’ve noticed.
    Pasta doesn’t come in a pound box anymore and the price has certainly gone up.
    I also remember when my children were younger I would mix a can of tuna fish and make sandwiches for all 4 of us. Even though the volume hasn’t gone down much I think there is a lot more water included in that weight because I can barely get 2 sandwiches out of a can now.
    And what’s up with whole berry cranberry sauce? Over the holidays we had a number of cans with our various meals and you were lucky if you could find an actual berry. The sugar, juice and pectin must be much cheaper.

  35. 42

    myrna sossner says

    I have read 41 comments and say: Ditto, Ditto, Ditto … and THEN “they” have the nerve to say “No Cost of Living Adjustment” for us retirees! I don’t know how the COLA is arrived at but I sure am experiencing a cost of living increase!

  36. 43


    I totally noticed the toilet paper was narrower last year at work. We ordered a large quantity of TP rolls, and when we put them on the holders, they fell out because they weren’t wide enough. (We don’t have the rod that goes all the way through the hole, just side prongs that hold the sides.) It took us forever to get through those so we could order a different brand that was normal width.

    I’ve also noticed that some canned items have less ounces – hard to use in the old recipes as someone else noted here.

  37. 44

    Suzanne Smith says

    Up here in Canada I noticed that 10pounds of potatoes were now 7pounds at the same price……no wonder the bag of spuds didn’t go as far!