The makers of shampoo, cereal, frozen pizza and other supermarket staples are working to woo shoppers who are cutting back on spending, as tough economic times set in.

Executives are looking back at the last major recession for tools to keep customers from swapping their brands for cheaper ones from rivals. Nestlé SA—the world’s biggest packaged foods maker—is rolling out new, more affordable pack sizes, while Oreo cookies owner Mondelez International Inc. is narrowing ranges to focus on core products. Kellogg Co. is exploring…

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