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If you’ve ever thought that your favorite packaged food products have gotten smaller, it’s not in your head — that’s shrinkflation. You’ve heard of inflation, as prices on just about everything have risen over the past year — but shrinkflation is the practice of charging you the same amount for less product. And plenty of brands are doing it to deal with rising manufacturing costs.
Your cereal, yogurt, crackers, chips, cookies, oatmeal, and more are getting smaller. So no, you’re not going crazy. Lots of companies are doing this. We’ll tell you all about shrinkflation, which brands are getting smaller, show you an example of shrinkflation, and what to do about it.
What is shrinkflation?
In short, it’s paying the same amount for less product. It’s a classic game of “Would You Rather?” … would you rather pay more in the checkout line for the product size you’re used to, or would you rather pay the same amount and get less product?
Brands are having to make these kinds of decisions as inflation makes everything more expensive.
In June 2022, food costs were 10.4% up over June 2021. Manufacturers are facing increased costs, too, but they have good reason to shrink products instead of raising prices.
A recent study by Roi Advisers showed that for every 1% a price increases, brands lose 2.6% of their shoppers. To avoid that, companies are instead shrinking their product sizes. Here’s who has made changes:
Shrinkflation example? Gatorade bottles are smaller — but the company is saying it’s a redesign, not shrinkflation.
Pepsi-Co, the company that owns Gatorade, shrank their 32-ounce bottles of Gatorade down to 28 ounces. That’s 14% less Gatorade for the same $1.50 price tag, a classic shrinkflation example.
Pepsi-Co spun the whole thing as a redesign of their bottle. A Pepsi-Co rep said they made the bottle “more aerodynamic, and … easier to grab,” before saying that the bottles were a little more expensive. Gonna need those Gatorade coupons more than ever.
If you’re a Doritos-lover, expect five fewer chips in your next bag.
Another shrinkflation example: Your bag of Doritos might feel a little lighter lately because it’s missing five chips.
In July 2022, a Frito-Lay rep confirmed what some Dorito lovers suspected to be true — there’s a little more air in every bag of Doritos. The chips shrank from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces, and at $4.50, you’re overpaying by $0.23.
Example of Shrinkflation: Post, General Mills, and more are also getting called out for offering up to 42% less for the same price.
Gatorade and Doritos aren’t the only example of shrinkflation we’ve got. We made a list of products that have quietly gotten smaller but still cost the same. We did the work for you and calculated how much it shrank and how much money you’re overspending by:
Burger King is giving you fewer nuggets, and Domino’s is giving you fewer wings.
No, the Burger King worker didn’t eat two of your nuggets — they’re selling fewer of them. In 2021, Burger King announced that they reduced their 10-piece nugget to eight pieces while still keeping the $1 price tag. It’s the first time they’ve ever done this kind of thing.
Back in January 2022, Domino’s did the same thing with their $7.99 chicken wings, going from 10 pieces to eight.
Follow the shrinkflation subreddit to stay on top of what companies are shrinking your stuff.
It’s no surprise that we found a subreddit dedicated to shrinkflation.
One Reddit user posted a picture of their Zaxby’s chicken finger, pointing out that they’re now smaller than the size of their fries. A commenter said their chicken finger size has probably shrunk “over 30%” in the past few years.
Another person discovered that a $2.29 10-count box of Ortega taco shells is now an ounce lighter than before. In a side-by-side shrinkflation example picture, the old shells were bigger than the new box of shells.
Someone else posted how Aldi’s protein bars went from 1.6 ounces to 1.2 ounces since 2021.
Beware — you could spend hours on this Reddit going down the rabbit hole of product shrinkage testimony.
Get a kitchen scale to weigh your food and ensure you’re not getting ripped off.
The best way to ensure you’re not getting shorted on food is to weigh it yourself. Grabbing a scale, weighing your food, and comparing it to the ounce amount on the package will let you know if you might consider changing brands.
Do the same with food from restaurants or fast food spots. With rising food costs, chances are, they’re giving you smaller portions too.
We found some great deals on scales through Amazon Outlet:
- AQwzh White Digital Food Kitchen Scale – $8.69 (regularly $12.99)
- TICWELL Essential Food Scale – $9.79 (regularly $13.99)
- Taylor Kitchen Scale at Costco – regularly $14.97
- Nicewell Food Scale – $8.99 (regularly $24.99)
TIP: Beat grocery stores at their own game with our 14 food savings hacks to save big.