Trips to the grocery store are getting absolutely out of hand. I can’t be the only one who holds their breath as they ring everything up (myself) and waits for the total to display on the screen.
To add insult to injury, you’ve also probably wondered whether or not you’re imagining that products are actually shrinking in size (even though they cost more).
You’re not, though the phenomenon known as “shrinkflation” can be tough to prove.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics registers shrinkflation as a type of price increase, too, and refuse to let companies get away with it, according to economist Steve Reed.
“When pricing a 64-ounce container of orange juice, but we try to price it and it’s only 59 ounces. Maybe it’s the same price, but for 59 ounces instead of 64 ounces, that’ll be computed as a price increase.”
Now a consumer advocate website called Mouse Print is joining the fray, calling out the companies online who they consider to be the worst offenders.
The website, ran by Edgar Dworsky, was named because the fine print on the packaging is so small that “only a mouse could read it.”
They’ve uncovered several fairly egregious examples, from dog food that shrank 6 whole pounds and bottles of detergent that look identical but don’t contain the amount they did previously.
They recently called out “Tricky Cereal Box Names,” discussing the whole “giant” and “family” size labels and how they have changed over time.
“More and more companies are adding size names to breakfast cereal boxes, cookies, and chips. ‘Large Size,’ ‘Party Size,’ ‘Family Size,’ ‘Giant Size,’ and even ‘Mega Size’ are now adorning product packages. In a sense, this is a very clever ploy by manufacturers to teach shoppers to buy a size name rather than by net weight.
There are so many name brands engaging in these types of practices it’s impossible to name them all, but here are a few:
- Scott’s paper towels is giving you 20% less paper
- Hungry Man Chicken Dinners contains 15% less protein
- Smart Balance butter substitute spread now contains 40% less vegetable oil, substituting water instead.
Now that we’re all sure it’s out there and it’s happening, the next step is to figure out what we can do to help make it stop.
I’m ready to do my part – how about you?