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What is Shrinkflation? Everything to Know About This Sneaky Cost Increase

What is Shrinkflation? Everything to Know About This Sneaky Cost Increase

American consumers are feeling the effects of high inflation rates on their pocketbooks. For about three years. During the off A peak of 7.5% for all commodities in 2021prices continue to rise about 3% per year, and your dollar is doing a little less for you. On the price-goal shelf, when you see that the price of your favorite snack or your favorite brand of toilet paper has stayed the same.

Without double-checking, you toss your items home, feeling like you've found the bargain of the week… only to find that your chip bag is full of more air than chips and your The toilet paper rolls are suspiciously thin. This is the “shrinkage rate” or when companies shrink their products and packaging instead of raising their prices.

If you've heard a lot about shrinking lately, you're not alone. As more Americans continue to face rising prices, inflation and its cousin contraction are gaining increasing attention from pundits. politician And even Puppets (Or rather, the Muppets).

This attention arrived in prime time. President Joe Biden's 2024 State of the Union Address On March 7, when it cited “corporations that engage in price gouging or deceptive pricing in everything from food to health care to housing.” Biden specifically called out the shrink, saying that “snack companies think you're not going to notice when they charge you the same for the same size bag but with fewer chips. “

Regardless of whether you're well-versed in shrinking, or it's the first time you're hearing about it, we've rounded up everything you need to know about shrinking. Is. For more, here are Best credit card for groceries And Best credit card for everyday use.

What does 'shrinkflation' mean?

Shrinkflation is the process by which companies reduce the size or quantity of a product while maintaining the same price. That might mean fewer chips in the bag, or fewer scoops of ice cream in the container. Basically, the purchase price remains the same but the price per unit increases.

John Gurville, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, says customers may not know what effectively increases prices. “We found that consumers reacted strongly to frequent changes in price, but not at all to frequent (yet systematic) decreases in quantity,” Gorwell said in an interview Back in 2004.

According to Gurville, some companies hide shrinkage by redesigning the package, such as adding dents to the bottom of bottles or making “low calorie” claims.

Is shrinking legal?

Although shrinking is currently legal, as long as companies are indicating that the size has changed on their package, it seems that only eagle-eyed consumers can catch it. However, if the lawmakers have their say, this may not last long.

Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, has introduced legislation that would help crack down on companies that contribute to shrinking inflation. According to Casey's website, the bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission to declare shrinking as an “unfair or deceptive practice or practice (and) … prohibits manufacturers from engaging in shrinking,” and the federal And will enable state authorities to take legal action against these companies. and manufacturers.

How can I prevent contractions?

Consumers pay more attention to product prices than package sizes. Breaking this habit is the most important tip to keep yourself from shrinking: learn package sizes and. Pricing per unit For your favorite products.

If you notice that the number of items included in a product has shrunk or decreased, consider competitors who offer similar products at a lower price per ounce or per item. Compare prices per unit to see which product offers the better deal.

Charmin Ultra Strong Toilet Paper Cases

Charmaine has reportedly reduced the amount of toilet paper in its mega package from 266 sheets per roll to 244.

Oliver Dollery/Getty Images

Shrink inflation also offers an opportunity to wean yourself off packaged foods. Retailers may be able to shrink cereal boxes and granola bars, but they can't shrink a pound of apples.

Consumer advocate Edgar Dorsky has made downsizing (or “downsizing”) a major focus of his website. Mouse printwhich is dedicated to checking the fine print of advertising claims.

Every few months, Dworsky publishes Compilations Of all the products he's found that have recently shrunk in size. He usually posts on Mondays and collects items from his readers to get a complete picture of what products have changed.

Subreddit r/shrinkflation Also serves as a good tool for tracking package size changes for your favorite products. Users post examples of shrinks they've found in their local stores or online, usually with screenshots or photos as proof.

Which products are shrinking?

Consumers have reported shrinking in all types of household products over the past few months, with instances stretching back to the end of last year.

A closer look at Reddit found this Crest 3D White Toothpaste Is Shrank from 3.8 to 3.3 ounces..

Huggies Baby Wipes have lost their wipes from their packages, falling from 768 to 704 wipes in each package.

Hot Tamales Candies have it Shrank from 5 to 4.25 ounces..

Equality liquid hand soap, Walmart's in-house brand, Its volume decreased by 6 ounces, from 56 to 50 ounces.

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