Make Ends Meet: How to handle shrinkflation

It’s something not easily noticed because it’s not boldly marked on a favorite jar of jelly or a favorite bag of chips.
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 2:03 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Struggling families are still feeling the pain of inflation with prices at 40-year highs.

Households are not the only ones struggling. Corporations have faced their fair share of problems too as they also deal with inflated cost and supply chain issues.

All of this leads to a big problem for shoppers, or maybe, a smaller problem. It’s something not easily noticed because it’s not boldly marked on a favorite jar of jelly or a favorite bag of chips.

Shrinkflation, as it’s called, has made some shoppers so mad they have turned to social media to vent their anger and to warn other shoppers to watch out.

Nathan Grant, a finance industry analyst for MoneyTips, said no one ever want to pay more for less, but many have done it before.

“Of course, the whole bag of chips with more air than chips in them,” points out Grant with a laugh.

Many people can remember when a bag of chips was filled with chips, not half filled with air. As Americans fight through persistent inflation, they must now also battle shrinkflation.

“By definition, shrinkflation is the practice of either making packaging smaller or keeping the packaging the same size and putting less product into it, while the price remains the same or even goes up,” Grant explained.

Customers will generally keep up with prices of their favorite products, but maybe not with net weights or number of sheets in a roll of toilet paper.

“They’re so sneaky about it that it does fly under the radar a lot of times,” Grant said.

Grant said people are using TikTok, talking, and and posting their disappointment on Facebook while also sharing their tips.

“Inflation is making it more of an issue, but also we’re just hearing about it more with social media,” Grant said. “There’s been TikTok trends talking about it, highlighting it.”

Amid inflation, some brands are also turning to skimpflation.

“Reformulating recipes to use cheaper ingredients, but keep the price the same or watering down so to speak,” Grant said.

It may take a little time and attention to beat shrinkflation and skimpflation.

“Look at the packaging itself,” Grant said. “Is it thinner? Maybe it’s not as tall as it used to be. You might see an hourglass shape container that use to be a cylinder before. When you get things like a jar of peanut butter and the bottom has like an indentation that goes up into the jar. So on the shelf it looks the same, but technically there’s less space on the inside because of the indentation.”

Read the label. Know how much is in the bag or box you are buying and what is in that box or bag.

“Now people are checking more, noticing changes more because they’re so sneaky about it,” Grant said.

A redesign of a package or slogan is sometimes a tip-off to look for shrinkflation. If a brand has shrunk in size but not in price, try a store brand rather than a name brand. Store brands in general are cheaper.

One last note, products ask for customer feedback on their packaging. Don’t hesitate to reach out and give them feedback. People may at least get a coupon for their trouble.