Food Makers Tweak Recipes to Cut Costs

Hershey, others quietly substitute cheaper ingredients, fillers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 23, 2008 10:01 AM CDT
Some McDonald's locations are using a single slice of cheese on double cheeseburgers.    (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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(Newser) – Food manufacturers are adjusting their recipes to cut costs as ingredient prices climb, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hershey is replacing some of its cocoa butter with
vegetable oil, while General Mills is dumping pecans for walnuts in one cookie. McCormick, McDonald's, and other companies are making similar moves. But prices are staying the same—or rising—for consumers.

Data released yesterday show that food-makers raised prices 7.3% over 35 product categories from May to  August—an “unprecedented” rise, says one expert. Companies say the cost-saving changes aren’t hurting flavor, but “the risk of tweaking formulas too much is you gradually alter the taste so that after five alterations, you have something that tastes different than it did five years ago,” says an analyst.