Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Shrinkflation? It's a real thing

You thought inflation was bad? Worried about the rather awkwardly-named stagflation? Well, prepare yourselves for the smoke-and-mirrors of "shrinkflation".

Shrinkflation is when products and packages shrink in size, but the price remains the same. It's inflation through the back door. It's duplicitous and disingenuous, and it's downright sneaky. Rather than putting prices up and calling attention to their actions during this period of unaccustomed inflation, many stores and manufacturers are choosing to quietly reduce the size of what they sell, hoping that no-one will notice. But the effect is the same: shoppers get less for the same price, or the same amount for more. Same difference.

Some manufacturers are openly admitting that they have been forced to do it; most are hoping no-one notices. Yet others are really grasping the bull by the horms and reducing the size of their products AND increasing the price. Ouch!

Here are just a few examples from recent weeks and months:

  • Cottonelle Ultra Clean Care toilet paper now has 312 sheets per roll instead of 340. Same price.
  • Kleenex Ultra Soft tissues now has 60 tissues in a pack, whereas it used to be 65 tissues. Same price.
  • Folgers coffee now sells in 43.5 oz cans instead of 51 oz. Same price.
  • A large bottle of Gatorade used to mean 32 fl ozs but now it seems to mean 28 fl ozs. The price remains the same.
  • Pantene Pro-V Curl Protection conditioner now comes in a 10.4 fl oz bottle, although it used to be 12 fl ozs. The price has not changed. 
  • A pack of Earth's Best Sunny Day Snack Bars used to contain 8 bars but now contains only 7. Yup, same price.
  • Domino's Pizza's 10-piece chicken wings are now only 8 pieces, for the same price.
  • Fritos Party Size Scoops used to contain 18 ozs, and is now 15.5 ozs. The price went UP.
  • Japanese snack maker Calbee announced a 10% decrease in the weight of its packets of chips and crispy snacks AND a 10% percent increase in price (but at least they were up-front about it).

We get it, manufacturers are feeling the pain from more expensive ingredients due to global inflation amd supply chain problems. Costs are up, but customers are not willing (or able) to pay more for their food and supplies. They need to do something if they want to keep up the obscene profits many of them make for their shareholders. But don't try to hide it. Don't cheat the already beleaguered consumers.

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