SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) – From peanut butter to toilet paper, more and more products you buy at the grocery store are losing ounces and inches.

With the cost of fuel on the rise, food prices are expected to increase. But that’s not all, Consumer Reports found several food items and household goods are slimming down.

For instance Tropicana orange juice was once 64 ounces. Now it’s 59 ounces, 5 ounces lighter. The reason: last year Florida’s freeze left the company with two decisions: hike their prices or slim down their product. Marketing expert Kathleen Kusek said often time manufactures prefer not to increase their prices.

“The manufacturer has to make some sort of a profit on what they’re selling and times are tough on their end too,” she said.

Kusek adds the high fuel prices and the tough economy are to blame for smaller sizes throughout the grocery store. But Kusek said the trick for manufactures is save money without losing customers. “It’s very dangerous for marketers to leave their consumers feeling duped,” she said.

Some customers are also feeling the shortage in household items such as toilet paper. For instance, Scott’s toilet paper may be 10 percent stronger but it’s 9 percent shorter.

There are other products also slimming down. What used to be a 5 pound bag of sugar is now 4 pounds. Some manufacturers have also added an indent in their products such as peanut butter and Campbell’s soup.

But Kusek said consumers can fight back. “Consumers have the ultimate power in the relationship because they will decide what they continue to buy overtime,” she said.

Experts also suggest buying different brands, comparing the price of a unit, ounce and pound. It also helps to contact the manufacturer. Most are willing to give out coupons.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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