Here's how bad 'shrinkflation' is getting


There are two things you can do to keep tabs on who’s messing with prices and sizes

You may not have caught it during Super Bowl Sunday, but President Joe Biden sat down with an array of snack foods and called an audible. This one…

If we’re to believe Biden’s choice of snacks sitting in his lap, he’s talking about Wheat Thins, Breyers Ice Cream, Turkey Hill Ice Cream, Oreos, Doritos, Keebler’s Chips Deluxe, Goldfish, Gatorade, and (what looks to be) Sabra Guacamole.

Biden went right at those companies for engaging in what he calls a "rip off," urging them to stop shrinking products as a way to offset higher input costs. 

Outside of the snack aisle, those products have a lot of company, too. A lot of shrinkflation has landed in the bread and cereal aisles.

There are also things like Crest toothpaste and paper towels. Crest 3D White 4.1 oz tube shrunk to 3.8 oz. Bounty, according to a representative at Proctor & Gamble, got “better” as it got smaller since the paper towels are more absorbent than they used to be.

One less-bang-for-the-buck move recently got the manufacturer of Snuggle fabric softener slapped with a lawsuit, claiming that the company inflates the number of wash loads you get out of each bottle.

What about dollar stores?

Dollar stores have done a pretty good job setting themselves as a great price alternative to the Kroger’s, Albertsons, and Giant Foods, but they apparently can play this game as well.

Recently, dollar stores were identified as some of the worst offenders of shrinkflation, with their unit prices often being higher compared to larger retailers. The items there aren’t snack food types but rather products like toilet paper, and soap.

Now, it’s not every single dollar store or every single item in a dollar store, but the list of the supposed “shrunken” items is concerning. There have been accusations of:

Household Products

Paper towels: Fewer sheets per roll

Trash bags: Smaller bag sizes and thinner plastic material

Laundry detergent: Smaller bottles or pods with the same or slightly reduced cleaning power

Cleaning wipes: Fewer wipes per container

Personal Care

Toilet paper: Fewer sheets per roll and thinner tissue

Soap bars: Smaller bar sizes

Shampoo and conditioner: Smaller bottles with the same price tag

Razors: Fewer blades per package


Batteries: Reduced number of batteries in a pack

Party supplies: Smaller packages of balloons, decorations, and tableware

School supplies: Fewer items in packs of pens, pencils, and erasers

Two sure-fire methods for keeping shrinkflation in check

Marketers and manufacturers are slick. So slick that the average consumer won’t even notice the difference in size in a bag of shrinkflation chips or a bottle of detergent. That leaves us with two things we can use to compare who’s in and who’s out in the shrinkflation game.

The first is to track package sizes. Keep a record of the weight or volume of products you regularly purchase. This can help you notice when a product's size decreases.

The second is to compare unit prices. Simply look at the unit price on the shelf label, which shows the cost per ounce, liter, or another unit of measure. This can reveal if you're paying more for less product.

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