A couple of months ago I bought a large size Tang at Costco. This last week I bought another one. It has a good shelf life and, why not.

I didn’t notice anything until I put the new one next to the old one.

It’s quite a bit smaller. I noticed both said “Makes 22 Quarts.”

But the old one has 72 ounces of Tang and the new one has just 60 oz.

Is the new Tang more concentrated? Is that how less Tang powder makes the same volume of liquid Tang?

No. The nutritional information shows both with 88 servings (22 quarts). The new one is 70 calories per serving. The old one is 90 calories per serving.


Clearly, Kraft wants you to think you’re getting the same amount of Tang for the price (22 quarts), but the only way they make that happen is by having the customer dilute it about 20% more than before.

They even made the scoop smaller (a serving is half a scoop).

I’ve been reading about food inflation, particularly how some companies are selling packages with slightly less in them at the same price. A few ounces here, a few ounces there. Apparently we just tend to grab the same thing as before, and are more likely to notice a price change than a slight decrease in volume. Particularly if the packaging size stays the same.

But this is the first time I’ve seen a company actually try to pass off less product as not less.

I don’t see how this would differ from a milk producer only filling up 80% of a gallon container with milk, and adding water to make it a full gallon.

Anyway, nothing I’m going to get upset about, but it’s clear that companies are trying just about anything to hide inflation.

42 thoughts on “Tangflation

  1. I think they are doing you a favor, as that stuff is disgusting and not meant for human consumption.

  2. God you really have time.BTW, Nice find.

  3. Max Woolf says:

    The real question is why the Spanish translation of “Nutrition Facts” differs between the two versions.

  4. I used to direct a TV show that we would discover/investigate these type of frauds in Europe. They happen more than you can imagine.

  5. brett stubbs says:

    What if it’s the converse? Perhaps the Costco can is the newer version, and a Costco specific version at that. Costco usually gets the ‘best versions’ of products. What you need to do is find an older grocery store Tang can of the same amount of quarts and compare. Why am I talking about Tang, I’m so thirsty now.

  6. Yeah, just coz you’re in the US doesn’t make you special anymore. In the land downunder, we’re special too. 😉 Cottee’s Cordial (the thing I missed most) is now diluted I’ve learned to my utter dismay. They claim the “New 1L makes the same as the old 2L” It doesn’t 😦 http://www.cottees.com.au/html/PAGES/ProductDetail.aspx?catID=1&pID=8

  7. Notice how the smaller one says “Naranja – Orange” on the label instead of “Orange – Naranja” on the bigger one. I think you just bought the Mexican version. No reason to freak out. Kraft’s been inflating the Mexicans for years.

    • dfooter says:

      You’re on to something. The headers “Delicioso…” and “Delicious…” are also flipped. Costco is selling the Mexican version after previously selling the American.

  8. Alvaro says:

    “The new one is 70 calories per serving. The new one is 90 calories per serving…”

    I guess you mean “old one” the 2nd time.

  9. mr guy says:

    Maybe they realised the packaging was too big for the product inside? Often, when buying potato chips, breakfast cereal etc the box is way bigger than the packet of food inside. Maybe they realised that the benefit of making the product “look bigger” was “outweighed” (excuse the pun) by the additional cost of producing the bigger package? So maybe they are literally cutting back? I agree with Shira anyway, the stuff looks pretty disgusting and unhealthy.

  10. Reuben Studdard says:

    First guy isn’t really that far off. I doubt it’s a cost savings issue. It’s more about form utility. That canister on the right is enormous. At 90 calories/8 oz that is more sugar/oz than a can of coke or most sodas. If anything they probably returned to astronaut era formula sugar content off of 90s diabeetus era highs.

  11. Some countries have laws requiring companies to state on the package whenever there is a reduction in size. I know Brazil has them so I assume others do as well.

  12. You really take ’em expiration dates seriously.

  13. Take a look at the “shrink ray” tag on The Consumerist. This practice is prevasive.


  14. Totally common place in Brazil.

  15. That started happening a lot here in Brazil. I got to the point where a law was passed requiring sellers to put a statement *in the package* anytime the amount of the product decreased.
    Needless to say, a big sign saying “amount on this package was reduced by 20%” on the product kept people from buying it and the behavior diminished (but it still exists).

  16. Phil says:

    I’m really just shocked they still sell this stuff.

  17. John Biggs says:

    Next you’ll be out on your lawn yelling at the kids who drive too fast down your street in their “hot rods.”

  18. Tang is not orange juice, even though since 1965 Kraft has been marketing it as the drink that flew with astronauts. Tang’s ingredients are all synthetic chemicals detrimental to people’s health. They cause obesity, diabetes, and cancer because the body can’t process synthetic chemicals even though on the product label they are listed as vitamins. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as the vitamins from real Fruits and Vegetables.

    Read the Tang Ingredients list -it’s all synthetic: Sugar, Fructose, Citric Acid, Calcium Phosphate, Contains Less than 2% of Orange Juice Solids, Natural Flavor, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Vitamin E Acetate, Niacinamide, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A Palmitate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Beta Carotene, Maltodextrin, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, and Neotame (Sweeteners) Guar and Xanthan Gums (Provide Body) Artificial Color, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, BHA (to Help Protect Flavor)

    The reason why food and beverages contain synthetic vitamins is because the real vitamins in fruits and vegetables are highly perishable – they get destroyed through oxidation and other natural processes within hours and days. Real nutritious food needs to be consumed fresh- that’s the only way it is good for the human health. That obviously doesn’t work for the food manufacturers, who want long shelf life for their products to maximize profits. To create products that have long shelf life, the food industry replaced the real natural vitamins with synthetic chemicals claiming they have the same positive impact on health as real vitamins. That’s not true.

    As David Agus- the oncologist that has treated several Silicon Valley VCs points out in his book “The End of Illness” – there is no scientific proof that Synthetic Vitamins are good for human health, but there is enormous evidence that they have negative side effects. He recommends that people do not consume products that contain synthetic vitamins or ingredients. Check his book out: http://www.amazon.com/The-End-of-Illness-ebook/dp/B004T4KQYS/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359311785&sr=1-1&keywords=the+end+of+illness

    Here is a scientific study on the perishability of vitamin C in orange juice: Fresh Orange Juice loses 50% of its vitamin C in the 1 day after being made. Read more here: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/91897239/PASTEURIZATION-OF-ORANGE-JUICE-BY-MEMBRANE-FILTRATION

    Also as the following post points out “Tang is all about the sugar- 22g of sugar in an 8oz drink are equivalent to 6 teaspoons of sugar in 1 serving”, so in reality, you are drinking sugar water with a lot of synthetic chemicals in it – That’s Diabetes ticking bomb!

    If you like orange juice, the best thing is to make it fresh- it is pretty quick and you know you are drinking something that is good for your health. Any type of juice that comes in a bottle or in a box from the store doesn’t have nutritional value, contains a lot of synthetic junk in it, and is not good for your health.

    If you don’t have time to make fresh orange juice, just eat 1 orange in the morning- that’s easy!

    • Michael Arrington says:

      thanks mom.

    • Ryan Szrama says:

      Sugar isn’t synthetic. And it’s delicious!

    • Jerry Barrington says:

      That statement is complete garbage. Citric acid, whether made in an orange or a test tube, is citric acid. It’s the exact same thing, and no test of the chemical itself can ever distinguish how it was made. “Synthetic” chemicals are no worse for you than the same chemical made biologically.

      Such junk science may sell books, but it’s still junk.

  19. Luis says:

    Per the label, you have 5 less grams of sugar (a little less than a teaspoonful). It also mentions that the serving size is 19g vs 24g in the original (a difference of precisely 5 grams). So, it seems that they are just putting less sugar on it and adjusted the serving scoop to accommodate the difference. Given that the new one seems to be the Mexican variety, it is possible that it is made with sugar from cane, instead of corn fructose). Either way, it is probably “healthier” than the prior one, and if it is made out of sugar cane, probably tastes better also… 🙂

  20. Food is definitely getting expensive (4 kids here) and will just get more so as far as I can see. Maybe investing in the Gladstone Land (LAND) is a good way to play it.

  21. Karl says:

    It’s common industry practice, called “weighting in”.
    Every now and then they are getting caught, retailer slaps them on the wrist or even perhaps some consumer protection agency. Then rinse repeat. It’s a bit like what they do in semiconductors with the tic/toc cadence. Weight-in/price adjustment

  22. Sherna Lee says:

    uncrunched = I WRITE WHAT I WANT. FROM TANG TO TECH. LOL! you drink tang, why!

  23. livewell says:

    In late 1980s, the USSR government did the same thing (started selling smaller and smaller quantities for the same price in the same size jars) … the USSR citizens did not know about (were not aware of) the fact until it was too late, then in [some] republics they started teaching about this in (financial) history books.

  24. H&H says:

    In late 1980s, the USSR government did the same thing (started selling smaller and smaller quantities for the same price in the same size jars) … the USSR citizens did not know about (were not aware of) the fact until it was too late, then in [some] republics they started teaching about this in (financial) history books.

  25. Drew says:

    I feel indignant for you! The milk metaphor is totally true.

    But I think you might want to try this trick for switching to water.
    1) For every glass of tang you have, follow it with an equally big glass of water.
    2) Over 30 days, decrease your tang “treat” little by little, and increase your water. But keep the same system of yummy tang first and boring water after.
    3) After 30 days, Tang = 0. Water = lots.

  26. thenewgreen says:

    Also somewhat interesting is that the new can has the spanish phrasing in front of the english. Could it be that you received the “latin american” version which has always been more diluted?

  27. bevinnefromhevinne says:

    You know they just added more sugar … and did the caloric intake go up or down? I think it went up. 🙂 LOL – sold by weight indeed. Everything is getting smaller or they just add more sugar – which is less expensive for them?!

  28. Adam Edwards says:

    I am surprised that they didn’t call out the watered down, reduced calorie update as a health benefit. I am pretty sure Trop50 is just watered down orange juice for which clueless dieters are willing to pay the same price or more.

  29. uncleglenny says:

    I only fairly recently noticed that standard half-gallon cartons hold less than 60 oz…

  30. Cate says:

    I’ve been noticing that for about 2 years with regards to various products I habitually buy.
    I would tell my girlfriends in hopes that they would be noticing as well, and they would laugh at me saying “you’re crazy, there’s nothing wrong”. When I presented them visual evidence… diced ham that you use for Quiches, etc… before and after… they freaked! Instead of ‘raising’ prices due to inflation… they are changing the amount you get in just about everything. From coffee, to the amount of paper towels on a roll. It’s inflation. They are being ‘cheeky’ about it. And yes!! TANG is one of the last foods we still have that the Astronauts used. (Pop Tarts too!)

  31. Selim says:

    Haagen Dazs did this a while back when they reduced their “pint” ice cream container to only 14 oz and didn’t lower the price accordingly. Ben & Jerry’s shrewdly capitalizes on this by advertising “Still 16oz” on some of their pint container lids. I wonder if this has helped them at all.

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