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Products getting smaller? Price still the same? It’s shrinkflation

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:01 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You may have noticed some products are getting smaller, but the price stays the same.

“For example, the Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. To look at the two boxes head-on, one is 14-and-a-half ounces, one is 12 ounces. You lost 17 percent of the product, but the boxes look identical,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder, consumerworld.org.

That phenomenon is called shrinkflation.

“We tend to see it come in waves, and now with inflation, we’re in the middle of a tidal wave,” said Dworsky.

It’s because production and shipping costs are going up, but many companies don’t want the bad public relations of raising their prices. They’ll stay the same, but shrink the amount you get.

Some north country shoppers have caught on.

“They’re making them look like you’re still getting what you’re used to, but the boxes are thinner, still tall,” said Karen Tarzia, shopper.

A majority of shoppers who spoke with 7 News off-camera said they haven’t noticed the products they’re buying are getting smaller. Dworsky says that’s the point.”

“Manufacturers will boast, 20-percent more sheets, 20-percent larger, when they increase the size of their product. But when they take away some of the product, you’re not going to see something that says 20 percent less right on the package,” said Dworsky.

Whether you’ve noticed the change or not, shoppers admit there’s not much they can do.

“I’m gonna be more aware, but you still have to purchase the food, ya know? It doesn’t really matter,” said Tarzia.

Dworsky says once a product shrinks, it very rarely goes back to the size it was before. In fact, he says the shrinking will likely continue as the years go by.

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