Shrinkflation: More companies make products smaller to compensate for rising production costs

Companies are trying to make up for the cost of doing business by not technically raising the prices we’re used to paying for products, but we’re now getting less for the same amount of money.

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It’s called “shrinkflation” and you’ll notice it if you’re paying attention while shopping.

The Associated Press reported that a small box of Kleenex that had 65 tissues a few months ago now has five fewer.

Chobani Flip yogurt came in 5.3-ounce packages but is now 4.5 ounces.

But grocery store products are not the only items that are shrinking.

Restaurants are also making smaller servings.

Bloomberg reported that Domino’s Pizza has taken its 10-piece boneless wings down to eight. Domino’s announced the change in January as a response to the rising cost of chicken. However, the takeout restaurant still charges the same $7.99 carryout price it did for the 10-piece size, the AP reported.

Bloomberg also said that Subway is not serving the same amount of rotisserie chicken in its wraps and sandwiches.

Industry experts say that companies are betting that consumers will accept less product than they would if the items had a higher price tag.

Nailya Ordabayeva, a marketing professor at Boston College, said it’s how our brains process information.

“People tend to underestimate changes in object sizes,” Ordabayeva told Bloomberg. “It’s pretty convenient for companies to actually move size, move around size, more than they do price because people do notice price changes more.”

“It comes in waves. We happen to be in a tidal wave at the moment because of inflation,” Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts, told the AP.

Dworsky actually started noticing shrinkflation in the cereal aisle last fall. Smaller boxes of cereals started appearing on the shelves at that time.

Dworsky said he has also found that seen Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare toilet paper has shrunk from 340 sheets a roll to 312.

Folgers has gone from a 51-ounce container to 43.5 ounces. The coffee company said the containers still make up to 400 cups because they’re using new technology that produces a lighter-weight coffee bean.

Pepsi Co., the parent company of Gatorade, has changed the sports drink from 32-ounce bottles to 28-ounce bottles that are tapered in the middle. The design is meant to be easier to hold and, according to company officials, has been planned for years and is not related to the current economy. But when the AP asked why the drinks are more expensive for less volume, the company did not answer.

Procter & Gamble has changed its Pantene Pro-V Curl from 12 fluid ounces to 10.4 fluid ounces and still charges $3.99 for the smaller bottle, and when asked by the AP about the price discrepancy, did not respond.

Not all companies hide the technical price increase.

Japanese snack company Calbee Inc. announced it was cutting 10% of the weight of products while at the same time raising prices by 10% to offset the rising costs of raw materials, the AP reported.