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Pack shrinkage

Is your grocery basket weighing less but costing you the same?

Your favourite brand of toothpaste, chocolate, toilet paper or tomato sauce may be costing you the same, but are you getting the same amount of product for your money?


What is pack shrinkage?

Pack shrinkage is a global consumer issue. Your favourite brand might look the same, but manufacturers have apparently seen fit to decrease the product volume by anything up to 25%. The worst is that there’s no communication informing consumers that they are paying the same price for less value.


While manufacturers are including the new weight or volume on the packet – as per legal requirements – how many consumers check the labels of every item they buy? Or how many remember what the volume was? Manufacturers often hide their handiwork – blowing air into packets and indenting the bottom of containers are some of the subtle ways they downsize their products.



Colgate toothpaste was reduced from 100ml to 75ml. All Gold tomato sauce shrank from 750ml to 700ml and Cadbury’s reduced the volume of its luxury chocolate slabs from 100g to 90g and 200g to 180g. Many cold drinks have also decreased their volumes from 340ml to 330ml.*


What can we do?

Not much, it seems. Luckily for consumers toothpaste company Aquafresh has been incensed enough to run a campaign about pack shrinkage.  GlaxoSmithKline SA bravely entered this fight in November 2011 with a cheeky communication campaign. The result is a tactical and cheeky campaign that draws consumer attention to the issue of pack shinkage, while positioning Aquafresh as an heroic brand which continues to provide good value for money.



  • Look at different brands. Not all manufacturers downsize.
  • Try store brands. House brands are usually 25 to 30 percent cheaper than name brands and are often just as good.


* Source: New packaging packs less at our cost by Maya Fisher-French

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