Unilever Shrinks Its Products Again: Breyers Ice Cream Now 25% Smaller !

Good news for all you dieters!

Containers of Breyers Ice Cream now contain 25% fewer calories, 25% less fat, and 25% less sugar.

How was Breyers / Unilever able to come up with a product that tastes just as good, but which contains fewer calories? They simply made the package smaller. Again. (They also added this secret ingredient).

For the second time recently, Breyers Ice Cream has been downsized by Unilever. Reduced. Shrunk.

For as long as this ice cream lover can remember, Breyers Ice Cream was sold in half-gallon (64 ounce) cartons. First, Unilever downsized the half-gallon carton to 1.75 quarts (56 ounces), which was a 12.5% reduction. Now, they have downsized the 1.75 quart carton to 1.5 quarts (48 ounces). This means the original half-gallon carton of Breyers is now 25% smaller at 1.5 quarts. The 1.25 quart carton of Breyers Ice Cream can’t be too far away.

To make things worse, unless we’re mistaken, the price of a carton of Breyers Ice Cream has gone up while the size has shrunk. But even at the same price per carton, a 25% decrease in product equals a 33% increase in price-per-ounce. For instance, even if the cost of a carton of Breyers held steady at a hypothetical price of $4.00, you used to get 64 ounces for that $4.00. But now, you will pay $5.33 for 64 ounces (one-and-a-third cartons), a 33% price increase. Factor in the increase in the price of a carton, and you’re probably paying 40% or 50% more than you did, say, a year ago.

We knew something was up when we opened the door to the freezer case on a recent shopping trip. The Breyers Ice Cream cartons looked smaller. The cartons look more like funnels than ice cream cartons. But it wasn’t until we looked closer that we realized that Unilever was up to their usual tricks. Breyers cartons proclaim things like “with fresh milk & cream”, “All Natural”, etc, usually as far away from where the carton weight is printed as possible. Wasn’t Breyers always made with fresh milk and cream? Why the attention-getting claims? Because Unilever’s usual way of drawing your attention away from the part of the package that states the shrinking weight of any of their products is to print some attention-getting claim somewhere else on the label. In our opinion, a pretty lame example of Deception Engineering on Unilever’s part.

We’ve written previously about shrinking products. Here’s a post from another blogger who wasn’t too thrilled to learn that Breyers cartons have shrunk again.

Sure enough, their 1.75 quart containers of Breyers are now 1.5 quarts. Sneaky. Very sneaky. But we still noticed, so not sneaky enough. We think everyone else will notice too. If not, that’s why we’re here.

Here’s a photo of the downsized Breyers cartons posted at consumerist.com

We put the Breyers back and bought another brand that offered better value.  If you’re wondering whether you can still find a half-gallon of ice cream that is a full half-gallon, the answer is YES ! You can find it here, and it is still less expensive than the downsized brands.

If Unilever does two more downsizings of one-quarter of a quart each, as they have done recently, you will then be getting one quart instead of a half gallon of ice cream. Even at the same price-per-carton, that will be a cost increase of 100%. That’s double.

…but imagine how much easier it will be to carry those grocery bags home.

Thanks, Unilever.

(Psst… Hey Unilever… You should know that each time you downsize one of your products, there will be more and more of your customers who will simply conclude that it’s no longer worth buying. There’s a tipping point, at which the decline in market share begins to accelerate, and the product never recovers. An example of this is the newspaper publishing business. Ad revenues decline, so publishers cut back on content, number of pages, the size and quality of the paper they use to print the publication, etc, while at the same time raising the cover price. Readership declines, which further erodes advertising revenue. Soon, the publisher realizes it’s a loosing battle. It’s reached the vanishing point. Similar dynamics apply to consumer products.)

- Routing By Rumor

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12 Comments

Filed under Business, Consumerism, Deception Engineering, Food, Health, Home, Life, Money, News, Personal, Retail, Routing by Rumor, Scams, Shopping, Shrinking Products, The Economy, Your Health, Your Money

12 responses to “Unilever Shrinks Its Products Again: Breyers Ice Cream Now 25% Smaller !

  1. Larry Graves

    I finally decided to see how many were complaining about the big Ice Cream Scam.
    I love ice cream and have always been addicted. At age 62 I don’t eat as much as I used to for health reasons but still maintain the saying ” I’ve never stopped eating ice cream because I didn’t want anymore.
    Over the years I have developed a keen sense of sight, taste, and feel for ice cream quality. The comments about Bryers are spot on. Quantity and quality have gone to hell. This is true with other brands as well. What makes ice cream truly rich and creamy is the butterfat content. I would love to see a before and after comparison on all brands.
    I contend that most of them have made sly changes to their formulas to increase profits.
    Keep in mind that the Government is currently paying dairy farmers to dump milk due to a continuing surpluss, so the price of milk is not an issue.
    The ice cream companys are doing this to consumers easily….. because they can.
    We should boycott all brands that are ripping us off to remind them that increased prices and decreased quality will not result in increased profit very long.

    – Florence, South Carolina

  2. I join the army of angry villagers with pitchfork (or ice cream scoop) held high.

    I also wrote Breyer’s about a year ago to complain about (1) the radical downsizing, and (2) the addition of various gums to the product. They told me the gum was added to help stabilize the product during shipping and temperature variations. I told them I am no longer willing to pay a premium price for something that is no longer a premium brand.

    Am I just really old, or does anyone else remember those TV commercials with the cute little kids trying to read the ingredients on competitors’ cartons, then one little kid read the Breyer’s label: “Cream, Sugar, Eggs, Vanilla.” Period. Those adds are what turned me on to the awesome flavor of Breyers, and opened my eyes to the fact that all ice creams are NOT created equal.

    Aside from the rip-off of downsizing, what’s really sad is that I don’t know of a “pure” ice cream brand any more. Also, the “whipping” in of air is a further insult. Breyer’s used to be rock-hard out of the freezer. Now it’s got so much air and “Tara Gum” in it that it’s barely frozen. It is NOT the creamy, delicous product it used to be. They have also skimped dramatically on the Vanilla bean specks, once featured prominently on the front of the carton, now not even mentioned in the ingredients, except as “Other natural flavors.” This IS insulting to my intelligence. Boycott Breyer’s. It is no better than other generic lower-cost “Ice Creams”.

    Bravo, RBR, for providing this forum for us disaffected ice cream afficionados! Thanks, and keep voting with your wallet!

    – Middleton, Wisconsin

  3. Michelle

    I have been a long time consumer of Breyers Ice Cream, but no more. I refuse to buy it for the same price at 1.5 quarts. This is absolutely robbing the consumers. I am going to write Unilever if they don’t change it back then, they have lost another customer.

    – Turks and Caicos Islands

  4. Bobbi

    I loved Breyers Deluce De Leche ice cream. It WAS always in my grocery cart, but no more. The carton size went down, and the price went up to just shy of $6.00. What they are doing is a crime. Unfortunately there is no actual law against it. Add me to the list of former customers.

  5. Patrick Nelis

    The same low life ##!@#$ who destroyed the taste of Bryers Ice Cream have taken over Bertolli, and are in the process of destroying that great brand. Try signing up for the discount coupons on Bertolli products. After they collect your information, the coupon fails to print. In my book, that is theft. Just as presenting a great name like Bryers, and not delivering the ice cream is theft.

    The Unilevers of this world are more responsible for the loss of confidence in the markets than all the recent bank frauds.

    With luck, there is a place in Hell deeper than anything Dante saw, and it is reserved for the scoundrels in Unilever.

    The only response these thieves will understand, is to stop buying their products. I for one will do so, and I hope a lot of others join in boycotting these @#$%^&&.

  6. My goodness. Now I understand my favorite ice cream manufacturer’s current advertising campaign.

    Bluebell, which is produced in Brenham, Texas and distributed primarily in Tx/Ok/La/Ak, has been running an ad campaign that’s short and sweet: “Bluebell – still a half gallon”. My brand loyalty is so strong I don’t even look at other ice cream, so I didn’t have a clue why that might be important. Now I know.

  7. Dolores

    So? What are we going to do about it?

    Exactly. Nothing.

    When I first noticed the phenomenon of the shrinking carton, with Dannon yogurt, I called the company and expressed my outrage.

    Oh, our consumers wanted less product.

    Huh, wha? And they sent me coupons.

    Then, I noticed the ice cream crooks were making the container smaller and keeping the prices intact. So I called them. Oh, we changed our carton setup in our machines.

    Huh, wha? Of COURSE you did, in order to steal from us! And they sent me coupons.

    And now the 56 oz. is a soon to be distant memory, to be replaced by 48 oz. With the exception of Turkey Hill, which still has ‘certain’ ice creams in 56 oz. Cleverly, they have put their fancy schmancy ice cream in 48 oz. containers. The old three card monty trick. While you’re looking at the pretty containers, they will lower the plain Jane containers too.

    There is still Blue Bell, of course, but they don’t go above the Mason Dixon line. They will, however, mail some of their wonderful product, still in half gallons (for how long?) to you for a price of $119. for four containers. Notice I say ‘containers’ now, aren’t I a good little consumer?

    Oh, and something else — the half gallons of Blue Bell are filled clear to the outer edges of the container, you can hardly get your spoon in there. Try that with Breyers, which has what, air and guar gum in it? Before you can blink an eye, that 48 oz. is gone.

    Sad, ain’t it? Of COURSE it is.

    So, what are YOU going to do about it?

    Yup.

    Exactly.

    Response from Routing By Rumor…

    We believe that people do vote with their wallet. If, as you and Shoreacres (below) have commented, there’s a manufacturer such as BlueBell that provides consumers with better value for their hard-earned dollar, people will flock to that product. Methinks this is what free enterprise is all about. “Build a better mousetrap, and people will beat a path to your door”, or something to that effect. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time…”.

  8. Marc S. Glasser

    The problem with resolving not to buy the brand that is engaging in this form of “deception engineering” (and by the way, thanks for coining that term) is that we who even notice are part of a tiny minority who hardly make a dent in the sales chart. The rest of the customers keep on buying, apathetic or oblivious–and then when it becomes apparent that the brand has gotten away with it, competing brand after competing brand follows suit or even raises (lowers?) the stakes further. I can’t find any real half-gallons of ice cream at the supermarkets any more, except for a few of the generic store brands. Next items to watch: 6-ounce bags of potato chips shrinking to 5 ounces, and 18-ounce jars of peanut butter shrinking to 16 and a fraction.

  9. The bean counters have shot themselves in the foot this time. This has cost them another customer !

  10. Ell Westcott

    I bought Breyer’s Coffee Ice Cream.

    1. It’s now only 3/8 of a gallon. That perturbs me to start with. If I want 1/2 gallon, I want 1/2 gallon. If they left it at 1/2 gallon and raised the price, it still would be the same per ounce, ergo they’re just trying to fool the consumer. Not smart!

    2. It states on the box “Real Ice Cream”. Look at the ingredients – the 1st ingredient is milk, not cream. It’s thin and almost watery in consistency

    3. The flavor is almost non-existent.

    4. If they think I’ll continue to buy their product, they’re sadly mistaken.

  11. ronrange54

    Locally, Huntsville AL, several stores which sell Breyers list the price per ounce. Krogers for one lists 48 ounce containers for the bargain price of $2.37. The sad part is that the containers only weigh 1.87 pounds total. (That is less than 32 ounces.)

    Figure that one. There is no indication on the package as to the weight. Contents are listed by volume.

    Maybe we should purchase gas by the ounce too.
    DUH????

    Response from RoutingByRumor…

    Ahh… You’ve touched on what has to be one of the most confusing issues facing consumers.

    Although we feel that many companies, especially Unilever (Breyers Ice Cream), are guilty of deceiving consumers, this volume versus weight thing can’t be blamed on them or your local retailer.

    Traditionally, dairy products, as well as most other liquids, are sold by the fluid ounce or some other “wet” measure of volume, and not by weight. When you buy a quart of milk in the U.S., it says it contains one quart / 32 fluid ounces (which is a measure of volume), but it never says how much it weighs ! While you can do the conversion between fluid ounces (volume) and dry ounces (weight), it really doesn’t buy you anything in terms of understanding which product might be a better value, as long as you are comparing volumes (wet measure).

    In addition to wet versus dry measure, there is the U.S. system, versus the Imperial system, versus the Metric system (also called “SI”, for System International). Refer to these articles on United States customary units, conversion of units from one system to another, and comparing the U.S. and Imperial measurement systems.

    Hope that clears things up, but most readers will probably be even more confused after reading about wet versus dry and U.S. versus Imperial versus Metric. Here’s an example: 1 U.S. fluid quart is substantially less than one Liter, but one U.S. dry quart is slightly more than one Liter.

    Just enjoy the ice cream.

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