The days of bigger candy bars and mega toilet paper rolls are gone. With record inflation comes “shrinkflation,” the term used when companies give you less product for the same price. Instead of more obviously passing on higher prices to customers in the sticker price, companies sneakily trim product quantities, hoping consumers won’t notice. But the widespread practice hitting shelves lately is too obvious for some to ignore. Here are some egregious examples in this week’s Five For Friday.
Wheat Thins now pack 28 fewer crackers into a family-sized box, representing a 14% price increase. Pepsi-Co removed five whole chips from one of its Doritos packages, dropping the weight from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces.
“Inflation is hitting everyone. We took just a little bit out of the bag so we can give you the same price and you can keep enjoying your chips,” a spokesman for the multinational snack-maker told Quartz.
#4: Bread and Cereal
It’s not that the yeast isn’t doing its job…bread packages really are getting smaller while costs stay the same. Bread and cereal manufacturers have used some of the sneakiest tactics in trying to fool the consumer, in some cases putting less product into bigger packaging. Unless you’re paying attention to unit size, it’s easy to miss.
#3: Toilet Paper
Trade website Consumer World uncovered that Cottonelle mega rolls downsized from 340 sheets to 312 sheets, following Charmin’s shrinkage from 264 to 244 double-ply sheets. Basically, it wasn’t your imagination. You really are going through those rolls more quickly.
#2: Tillamook Ice Cream
The Oregon-based creamery actually owns up to the new portion size right on the website, asking its loyal customers, “Are your ice cream containers smaller now?”
While not pointing out the exact reasons, they do talk about supporting their farmer-owners “without sacrificing any of the quality components that got us here.”
Hungry customers at the fast-casual Mexican chain have been complaining for months about slimmer bowls and burritos. The Twitterati have flooded @ChipotleTweets with images of the diminutive portions, and the company has responded by stating it has standard portion sizes. This one might be a blessing in disguise if it means our burritos are no longer bursting at the seams.
SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: REMEMBER THE DAYS OF BIGGER CANDY BARS AND MEGA TOILET PAPER ROLLS? NOT ANYMORE. WITH RECORD INFLATION COMES SHRINKFLATION -WHEN COMPANIES GIVE YOU LESS PRODUCT FOR THE SAME PRICE. AND CUSTOMERS ARE FUMING. CHECK OUT THESE EGREGIOUS EXAMPLES WHERE SIZE REALLY DOES MATTER, IN THIS WEEK’S FIVE FOR FRIDAY. AT NUMBER FIVE – SNACKS LIKE DORITOS, SNYDERS, WHEAT THINS AND CHEX MIX ARE JUST SOME OF THE CULPRITS. PEPSI-CO REMOVED FIVE WHOLE CHIPS FROM AN ALREADY LIGHT BAG OF DORITOS. AND WHEAT THINS NOW PACKS 28 FEWER CRACKERS INTO A FAMILY SIZED BOX – REPRESENTING A 14% PRICE INCREASE! CARLY REILLY FELT “BETRAYED” ENOUGH BY A CHEX MIX PORTION TO TWEET ABOUT THE THREE MEASLY PRETZELS IN HER BAG. SHE ACTUALLY RECEIVED AN APOLOGY FROM THE SNACK MAKER.
OUR NUMBER FOUR IS BREAD. NO, IT’S NOT THAT THE YEAST ISN’T DOING ITS JOB, BREAD PACKAGES REALLY ARE GETTING SMALLER FOR THE SAME COST. AND CONSUMERS ARE CALLING IT OUT. EXHIBIT A – ORLANDO PEREZ’S HAND IS NOW LARGER THAN THIS PACKAGE OF PEPPERIDGE FARM. AND HEY, WHEN DID THAT PUG GET BIGGER THAN THIS LOAF OF BREAD?
AT NUMBER 3, TOILET PAPER. COMPARING ROLL SIZES IS STARTING TO LOOK LIKE A NATIONAL PASTIME. CONSUMER WORLD DOT ORG DETERMINED COTTONELLE MEGA ROLLS WENT FROM 340 1-PLY SHEETS TO JUST 312. AND NEGATIVE BEE ON THE SUBREDDIT IS NONE TOO HAPPY ABOUT COSTCO’S RECENT MAGIC TRICK. DID THEY REALLY THINK WE WOULDN’T NOTICE?
TILLAMOOK SNAGS OUR NUMBER 2 SPOT IN A GOOD WAY BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY OWN UP TO THE NEW PORTION SIZE RIGHT ON THE WEBSITE – “ARE YOUR ICE CREAM CONTAINERS SMALLER NOW?” WHILE NOT POINTING OUT THE EXACT REASONS (IT’S INFLATION), THEY DO TALK ABOUT SUPPORTING FARMER-OWNERS AND NOT SACRIFICING THE QUALITY INGREDIENTS THAT GOT THEM WHERE THEY ARE.
AND THE TOP SHRINKFLATION PERPETRATOR – CHIPOTLE. HUNGRY CUSTOMERS HAVE BEEN COMPLAINING FOR MONTHS ABOUT SLIMMED DOWN BOWLS AND BURRITOS. ALLEN IS USING HIS NAPKIN AS A TAPE MEASURE AS PROOF AND USER ENFERRARI RECENTLY POSTED THIS ON THE CHIPOTLE SUBREDDIT CHIPOTLE SAYS IT’S JUST STICKING TO STANDARD PORTION SIZES,AND HONESTLY, MAYBE OUR BURRITOS WON’T BUST OUT AT THE SEAMS FOR ONCE.
TAKE YOUR INVESTIGATOR EYE WITH YOU THE NEXT TIME YOU’RE AT THE STORE – AND SEE IF YOU CAN SPOT SHRINKFLATION FROM YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTS. THAT’S YOUR FIVE FOR FRIDAY. I’M SIMONE DEL ROSARIO FOR JUST BUSINESS. SEE YOU MONDAY.