Metric Downsizing

Metric downsizing occurs when manufacturers reduce product quantity when converting from imperial to metric sizes. Metric reduction goes beyond trimming off a few grams to prevent odd numbers, such as adjusting 454g to 450g. Research shows that metric conversion is usually accompanied by much larger reductions, with no comparable decreases in price.

Cidre by Stella Artois: the bottle to the left contains 568ml (one pint), but its metric replacement contains 500ml, a reduction of 12%.

Cadbury’s Roses were previously sold in 1lb boxes (454g), shown left; they were reduced to 400 grams boxes, and then reduced again to 350 grams, shown on the right.

Dairygate milk: two almost identical cartons, but one a pint, the other 500ml.

Fox’s Glacier Mints: 227 gram bag (8 ounces) on the left, and the smaller metric replacement bag of 200 grams, to the right.

Schwartz Cayenne Pepper: these three jars show the metrication process; “28g” is placed alongside “1 oz”; the reference to 1oz is removed; and the item is reduced to 26 grams.

Birds Eye Garden Peas: the following three images show the downsizing process: “454g 1lb”; “454g”; “400g”.

The bag of Birds Eye Garden Peas to the left is “907g/2lb”; the bag to the right is its metric replacement of 800 grams.

Pringles: reduced from 56 grams (2 ounces) to 50 grams.

Express Dairy: a four pint plastic carton, equivalent to 2.272 litres, and the smaller metric 2 litre carton.

Bulmers Cider: the bottle to the left is 568ml (one pint); to the right is the downsized metric bottle of 500ml. 

Buchanans of Scotland changed their confectionery bags of Half Pounders (8 ounces/227 grams), priced £1.09, to One Pounders (i.e. £1). The weight of the One Pounders, however, was 180 grams, meaning a 21% drop in quantity, exceeding the 8% reduction in price.

A “full pint” of Bombardier ale next to the smaller metric 500ml bottle that replaced it.

Wiseman milk: a pint carton, and the smaller metric carton.

The English Provender Company downsized its dressings and sauces from 12 fl oz to 250g (8.8 fl oz), a 27% reduction in content alongside a price reduction of only 11%, meaning a price rise in real terms of 16%.

Spot the difference: the Tesco Christmas pudding on the left is 454 grams, equivalent to 1 lb; the Christmas pudding on the right is its metric replacement of 400 grams.