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Folgers Coffee: Magic Shrink Ray Makes More From Less

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I just bought a can of Folgers Classic Roast coffee from Costco and saw one of the most amazing marketing lies ever. I can understand companies that make packages smaller. We all know fuel and food is more expensive and we can accept paying more for the same products. We can understand when companies charge the same price but give you less. They don’t tell you it’s the same size, they just hit it with the shrink ray and are done with it.

Until today, no one flat out lied about it.

(For those in no mood to watch a video, Folgers’ new can is 4 oz. less in ground coffee but the company claims it produces more actual cups of coffee in big bold lettering – the one on the left is the new can)

Check out this video (if you’re reading through the RSS, you will have to click on the post to see the video):

Here are a high resolution shot of the two cans (newer and smaller can is on the left). You can see the size clearly labeled at the bottom of the can and the ridiculous assertion that the smaller can produces more coffee. Click the image to get a full size version and see for yourself.
Folgers Shrink Ray Main Shot

Here’s the full set of Folgers Shrink Ray photos, it includes multiple shots of each can from the front and the back so you can see that the labels flat out lie.

Amazing isn’t it?

{ 51 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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51 Responses to “Folgers Coffee: Magic Shrink Ray Makes More From Less”

  1. Just wait til they figure out that they can claim a cup of coffee is only 5 ounces.

  2. triple-e says:

    It says 90 more cups than the 39.5 oz size, not more that the 380 cup size. When packages have something like that on there to catch your eye, see if the news is good news or bad news. In this case, it is bad news, because the 380 cup size obviously made more than 90 more cups that the 39.5 oz size.

  3. jim says:

    triple-e: The can on the right is the old one, the 90 more cups isn’t the focus of the picture, it’s the claim of 360 cups. Compare that to the smaller, shrink-ray’d can of coffee that claims 380 cups. That’s the contradiction.

  4. Brandon says:

    I assume Folgers redefined the ounce.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Interesting. Before watching the video I was going to suggest checking the measuring instructions on the back, but you clearly thought of that you smart devil, you.

  6. jim says:

    Haha, I looked at it for a good fifteen minutes because I didn’t want to look like a fool for missing something stupid. I still feel like I’m missing something stupid.

  7. Ken says:

    This makes no sense. Does one say teaspoon and the other tablespoon? I have no idea how that would work.

  8. Old Guy says:

    It is theoretically possible to get more cups out of less coffee because the preparation instructions use volume, whereas the container size is given in weight (and mass). If they can grind the beans to make the grounds less dense then you’ll get more cups of coffee out of a smaller mass of grounded beans.

    I hope you’re counting :)

  9. jim says:

    While it’s now plausible, I find it improbable that they retooled their equipment to grind the coffee less coarser.

    The size difference of 4 oz. on a 3 lb. 4 oz. container is ~7.7% – is the coffee correspondingly less dense to that degree?

    I feel like the OJ Simpson defense team trying to get Folgers off the hook. Where’s Cato?

    • rod says:

      we dont have to retool the equipment..it is an adjustment…same equipment, different settings….and yes, we grind it different and blend it different…whole different recipe than before..

  10. Jeremy says:

    I guess the big question is, how are you going to drink over 700 cups of coffee before it goes stale?

  11. Sheila says:

    Nothing slips past eagle eye jim! :-) Nice catch.

  12. jim says:

    Well, the older can is empty so I only need to drink “up to” 380. :)

    Plus it’s in a magically hermetically self-sealing plastic container, so it’ll stay forever.

  13. Jim says:

    Interesting. To give them the benefit of the doubt before accusing them of lying… Its feasible that they changed how they grind the coffee. Or maybe they changed how exactly they measured the # of cups or teaspoons used. Its even possible they have a typo on their can.

    You might want to just email them and ask them whats up. Theres a ‘contact us’ link at the Folgers site:
    http://folgers.custhelp.com/

    Jim

  14. Anas says:

    Class action lawsuit ? lol

  15. You know, Consumer Reports has an end page called “Selling It” that this is ripe material for. It’s obviously wrong and misleading.

  16. Mandy says:

    I noticed the same thing today when I bought the new 380 cup can of Classic Roast at Sam’s. I thought it was larger in some way until I got home and compared it to my old can.??? I can to some degree understand companies making items smaller in order to raise prices without raising prices?? But don’t claim to get more from less.

    Do the math.

    52 ozs = 360 cups of coffee using 1 Tbl
    48 ozs = 380 cups of coffee using 1 Tbl

    The math just don’t add up. You cant get more cups of coffee from less coffee?? Not if they haven’t made the coffee different in way. I don’t see “New Concentrated Formula” on the can.

    Has anyone contacted Folgers about this? I defense of Folgers it may be a misprint, but not likely. I think I will contact them. This actually makes me mad, and makes me feel like they think we as customers are stupid. What did they think we wouldn’t notice?? GRRRRR

  17. BSP says:

    Poked around on the Folgers website. Mystery solved.

    link

  18. jim says:

    BSP: That explains the difference between different varieties, but this is the same variety just a different time. It also doesn’t explain the discrepancy in the number of cups it’s purported to produce.

  19. Becky says:

    The one on the right says 90 more cups (360) than the 34.5 oz. size. I have a 39 oz. size from the regular grocery store that says it makes 270 cups!So are they lying on every one they make and have been for awhile?

  20. Carole says:

    I did the math…

    Servings Ounces Servings per ounce

    360 52 0.144444444
    270 39 0.144444444
    380 48 0.126315789
    332.3077 48 0.144444441

    The 52 ounce can that claims to make 90 more cups than the 39 ounce can is exactly correct.

    If 52 ounce makes 360, and is 90 more than 39 ounce, then 39 ounce makes 270. Someone who commented on the website mentioned their old 39 ounce can stated it makes 270 cups.

    Using the same amount of coffee per serving, the 48 ounce can will only make almost 333 cups. To make 380, you’d use less coffee. But, the instructions state to use the same amount.

  21. Carole says:

    I did the math…

    Servings Ounces Servings/ounce

    360 52 0.144444444
    270 39 0.144444444
    380 48 0.126315789
    332 48 0.144444441

    The 52 ounce can that claims to make 90 more cups than the 39 ounce can is exactly correct.

    If 52 ounce makes 360, and is 90 more than 39 ounce, then 39 ounce makes 270. Someone who commented on the website mentioned their old 39 ounce can stated it makes 270 cups.

    Using the same amount of coffee per serving, the 48 ounce can will only make almost 333 cups. To make 380, you’d use less coffee. But, the instructions state to use the same amount.

  22. mandelbaum says:

    The can with 380cups has a smaller handle. Smaller handle = more volume = more scoops = more cups

  23. Mike says:

    its the way they roast the coffee. the newer one might have less coffee in the canister but it takes less coffee to make a 6 oz cup. So the canister gets smaller but you aren’t losing any coffee. They are able to save materials which is better for the environment.

    • reuben says:

      mike – they did not change the package size (it is exactly the same size) it just has less coffee (by weight) in it. same amount of packaging will go into the landfill because their HDPE can is very difficult to recycle as it has a dark pigment & there are limited post-consumer uses for this type of plastic. maxwell house also recently shrunk their coffee sizes and claim the same yield.

  24. STEVE says:

    I’ve used Folgers for over 20 years. Now they’ve gone to far. I now drink another brand. That’s what Folgers’ market managing has done to brand loyalty. I hope you go bankrupt… JERKS!

  25. Mike says:

    The 34.5 oz can has disappeared and the “Coffee House” series with it now you can only get 27.8 oz cans. So…do not be fooled when you think the price has come down. The old bait and switch is alive and well at Folgers.


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