How Much Chicken Is Really In That Can?

I just had to post this. Most all of you realize one of the ways they screw you at the grocery store. Actually, the food manufacturers. Like in this case, the company who package these 12.5 ounce cans of chicken meat. I won’t name this one, because they ALL do it.

They do it with all sorts of canned foods.


For example there is way more liquid “filler” in this can of chicken than you may realize.

One might think that the pictured can of chicken has about 12 ounces of chicken in it, right? After all, the label says so. WRONG!

After you open the can, use the lid to squish out the liquid into the sink… Look way down inside and there’s the meat. Down near the bottom. You’re lucky if it fills a third of the can afterwards!

So, I decided to weigh the actual chicken meat that was left in this 12.5 ounce can after squeezing out the liquid. I pulled out my very accurate digital kitchen scale. Here’s what I found:

Yes, that’s right, your eyes are seeing it correctly… Just a little over 6 ounces of chicken. You’re talking HALF of what the can says.

So as a result, do you know how much that chicken really costs?

First of all, canned chicken costs more than buying it fresh (usually). Why do I buy canned chicken then? It’s just part of my diversified food storage. I know it costs more. But it has its place, and convenience. I also keep “home canned” chicken and fresh chicken which I vacuum seal for the freezers.

With that out of the way, lets say the 12.5 ounce can costs $3.29. Well if you’re only getting 6 ounces of meat, you’re effectively paying almost $9 per pound! Whereas if you thought you were getting 12 ounces it would’ve been about $4.5 a pound.

Anyway, it’s certainly aggravating to watch all of the ways that they “get you”. Playing with the size of packaging. And the “fillers”. Just thought I would share that…


  1. Yep,
    even the chocolate chips from Nestle are less, they even changed the quantities in the cookie dough to account for less chips…

    yippie! New world order is so wunderful

    1. You want to talk about receiving less product, how about receiving nothing at all. I went to the store the other day to buy some items because my grand kids were coming over to spend the weekend, So i bought some packs of koolaid for them, i open up a pack to empty it into a jug to make it for them. When i opened it there was nothing inside it. So i opened up another one, same thing, try 2 more packs, they too are empty. Koolaid is made by Kraft foods, so i called the number on the back of the pack. I get a hold of one of their customer service reps, i tell her about the lack of product inside the Koolaid packs.

      She tells me that they are sorry to hear that i was unhappy with their product. I said i was not unhappy with their product, i just wanted what i paid for. She told me the packs being empty wasn’t a big deal because they only cost me 25 cents each!!!!!! I’m thinking WTF is wrong with corporate America that they feel it’s okay to rip off a customer because the item only cost them 25 cents each.I tell the her what they are doing is stealing, she didn’t care, but she thanked me for my customer input and hung up on me!! Needless to say i won’t be buying any more Kraf

      1. 7th Cav,, keep going up the ladder till you get satisfaction and some free KoolAid. If you have the time to do so that is. I recall when the drink mix was a nickel a pack and had real sugar in it.

  2. Ken, I hear you. The list of less actual product in the packaging (be it canned, bagged or boxed) is across the board. Canned tuna fish is the most well known, can about as thick as a hockey puck now, eh. Price stays the same, product quantity goes down, “people are confused, the is no inflation” stated some pompous a$$ from the government a day or so ago (forgot who from where, since Brittney Spears hair cut was the lead story). Gee thanks for that pearl of wisdom, since I have to by more packages to get the same food volume, maybe not price inflation, certainly is food content deflation, corporation profit margins improve-more cans or packages sold with less product cost per unit, genius, got to love those MBA’s cranking on spreadsheets to squeeze more profit to climb the ladder, watched it being done. Surprised they have not thought of pricing hamburger by the half pound, folks will snap it up. They get four out of five fickle fingers from me.

    1. Went to Trader Joes for the first time last Christmas. Bananas sold individually rather than by the pound, and meat also sold by the piece. Prices, when broken down by weight, were MUCH higher. I think the bananas added up to something like 2$ per pound.

    2. Grey,

      “got to love those MBA’s cranking on spreadsheets to squeeze more profit to climb the ladder,”

      During my last previous career, I worked for a company that eventually went public. From that moment on, it was ridiculous. Upper management got rich with stock options as they began to check out. They were replaced by a rotating batch of MBA’s and such types with all sorts of pedigree. Everything went downhill from there (from the perspective of enjoying my job). From that point on, everything became a “squeeze” for more profit for the next quarterly earnings report.

      1. Ken, so true when the company founders leave, the replacements from other corporations bring the original culture down and replace it with the mature political gravey train riding approach, the original startup employees are branded as “not as skilled as the outsiders who bring in friends and family, eventually down the tubes the whole thing slowly goes. You can only squeeze product so much then move to squeezing suppliers, then outsourcing production moving people out the door (biggest expense), then sell or break up the company taking the gravey bowl home, then do it all again with a new company. I digress, the food quantity reduction to me is a moral and ethical crime.

  3. Negatively entertaining that is says 28% more!!!! and down below it says “Than 9.75 oz can.” Looks like someone knows how to use a calculator for marketing purposes.

  4. Even the bales of hay I’ve been getting are smaller, weigh less, while the price stayed the same.

  5. And, of course my Social Security monthly check increased a meager 1.3% for 2021. Less than last year’s increase. Naturally, Medicare expense went up, making the total increase pretty sad.
    And the beat goes on.

    1. I can’t help wondering what would happen to SS if the salaries of our elected officials were tied to it?

  6. I eat a lot of chicken….especially when I’m adhering to a low carb diet. I buy the bulk bags of leg quarters. They tend to be cheaper, more meat for the money, but………you would be surprised how much water they inject into them before freezing.

    Most time, I cook them in the oven, smothered with sugar free BBQ sauce in a deep pyrex casserole dish covered with foil. About halfway through the cooking process, I have to remove it from the oven and dump some of the accumulated water out of the dish in order to get the golden brown I prefer. That’s not the case with fresh chicken.

    1. Water added to the chicken, hate that. So far Publix does not add water to their chicken.

  7. I think that I reported something sililar a while back with tuna except I had a can from about 5 years ago and a new one. The new one had about an 1oz less than the other one. Then there was the can of pears not to long ago where there was some like 4 pieces of small very small halves.

    I have heard of recipes not coming out quite right because of less product in the can/box.

    1. Yes! It’s when you’re CRAVING a food from your past…. and you finally get hold of the recipe and make it…but sadly after all that waiting, work & expense, it doesn’t taste the same😏. BECAUSE if the recipe called for a ‘can or bag’ of this or that and no measuring was called for…. there’s no way it’s going to taste the same. So sad!

  8. Ok. Here’s an experiment I’ll have to do the next time we can chicken. We fit about 2 lbs of raw chicken into a quart jar. Pressure can it. Then drain and eat. There is always excess juice as the cooking process drives it out of the meat when the proteins shrink. I would bet that commercially canned chicken is also packed raw. I wonder if I would see the same reduction you are measuring.

    1. Be sure to use the chicken broth in the home canned chicken. You can’t get any better chicken broth than that.

    2. +It would be very interesting to see the results. We know that they “=do add water, they admit it on the package, even “fresh” chicken,

  9. We regularly can our chicken at home.There is hardly ever a month goes by that
    one of stories has boneless/skinless breasts for $1.47 per lb.I raw pack with a smidge of bullion and no added liquid in pint jars. We opened a jar recently from
    2015 and it was fine.Next time I’ll weigh the contents and figure out a price as it
    compares to a store can.

    If you are lucky enough to have a Smith’s Foods Store in your area watch their
    weekly adds for boneless pork sirloin roast ( sold whole in bag with 6-7 smaller roasts inside) at &0.99 per lb.How they do that is unknown to me.
    Crock Pot the pork for 8hrs.Shred and mix in cheap BBQ sauce and fill pint jars.
    Follow the Ball Book. Home canned sausage and burger are easy and save a lot
    of money.
    There is no way to know how much water is added to the shank and butt portion
    hams but I bet it’s substantial.

  10. Kirkland at Costco is about 10.00 for 6 of the 12.5 cans. Even at 6.5oz a can that’s 39oz for 10.00 or a little under 4.00 a lb. That’s the brand I stock.

  11. Ken, I would call or contact the company. The label clearly says NET WT. Indicating that should be the weight after removing the liquid. I had bought some canned fruit roughly 2 years ago and I had the same issue. All it said was 15 oz. They removed the NET WT off of the label. Of course I also separated the juice and fruit before weighing both. The fruit was 7.6 oz and the liquid was 7.4 oz. I still called and complained and they told me I could return the cans to the store and get a full refund, even though the words NET WT were removed and by law they did have the correct weight, they let me return the unopened cans as well as the empty cans.

    1. Net weight refers to weight minus the can, not weight minus liquid.

  12. Convenience has a price and it is usually paid for in packaging. The convenience store sell a warm 1 liter of Coke for .99 but a 20oz chilled is $1.59. I’ve noticed more water in canned green beans which reduces the overall amount of actual beans. On many packages a “pound” of bacon is now only 12oz. Only going to get worse when inflation shows up next year.

    1. I noticed the beans too. I remember cooking when I first married in 1969 and had left overs after cooking for 2. Now?? I can eat a can of green beans myself.
      Also, tp rolls. I had an attic packed with stacks of 24 count starting in 2008. I’d buy now and then if a sale happened and you could see the difference in the roll length.
      The rolls continue to get shorter and shorter.

  13. We pressure can our own chicken and turkey in quart jars. We used to buy Costco canned chicken but found it to be pretty tasteless. We recently bought a 40 # case of boneless/skinless chicken breast at Smart food service, it was only .94 cents per pound. We canned it for the pantry.
    Labels are designed to sell the product and I don’t think most folks take the time to read the label.

  14. OK, I see in 20,000 words or more how corporate america is ripping us off. Does anyone know of companies or products that give us as much or more than we expected? Post some positive reviews.

    1. AS a cook, I have found most everything the ALDIs store sells to be outstanding in quality and quantity…for CHEAP! Especially, the various ALDI exclusive products, which are German created, or reproduced. Any of their canned goods…are cheap and good. Their Apple pie filling is the best I have ever found, as is their Cherry filling. They even sell Morello Cherries, seasonally, every
      Xmas time…in glass jars.

      I just bought 25 pounds of top quality, smoked, spiral-sliced, Ham for .95 cents a pound.

      If you have never been to one…investigate one. They are owned by the same people as Trader Joes.

    2. Politics aside, North Face equipment. Had summit series tent mama and I used regularly. When boys old enough to join us, got a new summit and put the boys in the old one. Old worked for two trips then started leaking. Sent in to North Face for seam seal, they sent me a brand new tent, stakes and poles, FREE. Their explanation was they could see well used and cared for equipment and appreciated loyal customers. Was already, but even more so now.

  15. A little off subject, but I’m a potato chip connoisseur. I’ve noticed name brand chips are pale and flavorless because the makers are saving money with the product spending less time in the fryer or lower oil temperature. Remember when chips used to be a light amber color instead of off white?

    1. I noticed it on the round crackers my DH insists on for part of his packed lunch. Figured they were speeding up the production line. I think they’ve lost flavor as well.

  16. Ken now that you’ve had an article on chicken, how about one just on Rice Recipes. Over half the world’s population, lives just on rice, it’s cheap and has a long shelf life. I’m not a big rice fan but it would interesting to see the many ways your readers prepare and serve rice. Just a thought. Trekker Out

    1. Mountain Trekker
      . . . .
      You could start with all the shrimp recipes that Bubba lists in the movie Forrest Gump and substitute “rice” for “shrimp.”

      1. Ken ,Thanks for the update, checked it out and lots of got ideas. Trekker Out

  17. I know for a fact that, when I can boneless chicken breasts, there is one pound of chicken in a pint. It’s definitely worth the effort to do it myself.

    1. Agree Chipmunk. When we butcher our chickens and can them I KNOW for a fact I have 2.25 pounds of meat per quart! Clean, solid chicken chunks….YUM…minimal fat, no water, a tad of salt and pepper added only!

    2. Chipmunk, Yes, i do all kinds of poultry deboned…can get at least a lb, and possibly another ounce/pint, depending on the cut.If precooked slightly more than a lb.+ Like PW, more than 2.2 lbs per quart/ deboned..When i debone/cook. I minimally season, just lightly salt,as placed n canning jars.. Tried it with adding green chili and garlic.- just doesn’t work in all recipes.then use the bones and skin to further process for bone broth and to skim fat and can it for future gravy projects..

  18. How about blatant reductions? Reese’s peanut butter cups advertise ‘we made them thinner’ like it is a good thing and then say ‘not sorry.’

    1. sam, I know some will disagree, but that’s about like some of the adds I now see, about grass feed beef, like it’s something new and a good thing. I guess it’s all in the marketing. Trekker Out

  19. Prices are going to go up, portions are going to go down.None of us can change that.

    But there is a way to reduce or even reverse it’s effect on you.

    The way to do it is to make more money so the higher cost doesn’t effect you.

    I’m self-employed (home-repair, remodeling, rental property maintenance) so it’s easy to do a few extra jobs and bring in quite a bit more money to offset higher prices.

    But really everyone can come up with a side-job, side business or work a bit more to make extra money.

    I’m semi-retired (60-years old) and only work 3 to 4-days a week most of the year. But if I feel I need more money I can always do an extra job to pull in more money.

    I’m doing OK with my 3 or 4-days as everything I own is paid for, and I’m happy with part-time work. I also hiked my prices for jobs because there is a real shortage of handymen. I turn down several jobs each week. I like my free-time too much to let work get in the way of a good, happy life.

    Anyone with any kind of repair skills should easily be able to pull in a lot of extra money to offset the increase (greed) in consumer prices.

    (almost) Everyone has some skill they should be able to turn into money.

  20. Costos’ canned chicken at least tells you its 12.5 oz but meat weight is 7.5oz. When the COVID rush initially happened, they had a replacement that was a 12 oz can with 5 oz meat. I bought at the time, but weighed it myself and then took all of them back and swapped them out with the “good stuff” was back in. crazy.

  21. I think in Mexico most canned have both Net weight and Drained weight listed. It is very helpful.

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