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Shrinkflation: While prices continue to climb, companies are reducing package sizes

Rosario Vargas
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-24 07:11:29-05

"Shrinkflation" is here. It's a problem that occurs when inflation leads to less product or smaller packaging.

Shoppers say they see it every time they go to the grocery store.

"Bags of chips," Michelle Clark said. "The bag is probably the same size but what is in it is a lot smaller."

Michelle Vogel agrees.

"They feel like they are more air, but the kids love 'em," she said.

Most shoppers know that cereal boxes are smaller than they used to be.

Fruit juice used to be sold in 12-ounce cans. Now, most are 11.5 ounces.

Juice drinks are just one of many products in the store that have gotten smaller in recent months.

Consumer advocate Ed Dworsky is the publisher of Mouseprint.org, which frequently reports on shrinking items.

"There's almost no product except eggs, probably, that have not been downsized in the past years," he said.

Products downsizing in 2022

Mouse Print reports that in just the past few months, some varieties of Crest toothpaste have been downsized.

"Crest 3D White went from 4.1 ounces to 3.8 ounces," he said.

Dworsky says "fun-sized" Milky Way bags have shrunk from 11.24 ounces to 10.65 ounces.

"So there's less fun in every bag," Dworsky said.

He says Gain detergent is not gaining any weight these days, down from 165 ounces to 154 ounces, though the brand claims there's still enough soap to cover the same number of laundry loads.

Dworsky adds that bottles of Aleve pain reliever are down from 100 tablets to 90.

What you can do

Dworsky recommends shoppers look at sizes carefully and compare brands.

"See if a competitor hasn't changed yet," he said. "And certainly, you can go to a store brand. Store brands tend to be the last ones to downsize."

Michelle Clark says "shrinkflation" is hurting everyone.

"It is very frustrating," she said. "We have families to feed."

So check those sizes when you are shopping, and compare with other brands, so you don't waste your money.

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