Shrinkflation & more: why consumers are paying more for less

Shrinkflation & more: why consumers are paying more for less

Have you ever noticed that the picture on the outside of the box often looks nothing like the product on the inside?

This is called deceptive packaging. Although there are laws against this they are pretty fuzzy as to what pertains to deception.

Deceptive packaging along with shrinkflation seems only to be getting worse.

Case in point

Although I personally have nothing against Trader Joe’s – – I was very disappointed with the Mushroom and Black Truffle flatbread with mozzarella cheese (pictured at top of post) that I bought yesterday.

Six dollars seemed like a real bargain according to the mouthwatering picture on the box. My disappointment was immediate upon opening it.

Instead of being rectangular like the box the base was oval–measuring 9 1/2” inches long and 6 inches at the center–tapering to 4 inches at each end–making it smaller than I expected.

Talk about cutting corners.

The frozen flatbread dough came punctuated with white dots of cheese but no visible mushrooms or truffles. And it was really flat – – maybe an eighth of an inch.

Fortunately I had some mozzarella and basil on hamd to kick things up a notch. But even with these additions the finished product looked nothing like the picture on the box.


Shrinkflation is a term made up of two separate words: shrink and inflation. The “shrink” in shrinkflation relates to the change in product size, while the “-flation” part refers to inflation.

It’s happening everywhere.

At restaurants the shrimp cocktail that used to have 5 shrimp now has 3 or 4. But it’s still the same price. The house wine may have been a 6 ounce pour but now it’s 4 ounces.

Things are even worse in the food aisles.

Gatorade has gone from 32 ounces to 28 ounces with the price remaining the same.

Kleenex napkins are down to 60 from 65.

Even though families have not gotten smaller in the past year, the family size cereal boxes have. Cocoa Puffs’ family size box dropped from 19.3 ounces to 18.1 ounces, while Cinnamon Toast Crunch fell from 19.3 ounces to 18.8 ounces.

Wheat Thins thinned down its family size from 16 oz to 14 oz, with about 28 fewer crackers per box.

Even yogurt is decreasing the amount of product in a container. In a rather large decrease, percentage-wise, Choba Flip yogurt has slimmed down to 4.5 from 5.3 ounces.

And it’s not just food products that are shrinking.

Does it seem like your family is going through more paper towels and toilet paper?

Cottonelle’s Ulta Clean Care toilet paper is down to 312 sheets from 340.

Bounty Triples reduced sheet count from 165 sheets to 147.

Even Walmart shoppers have less to rip off. Walmart Great Value Paper Towels are not quite the great value they used to be–now that the sheet count dropped from 168 sheets per roll to 120.

Half full or half empty

I’ve always wondered why a box of cereal or a bag of chips seems to be half empty when you open it. To me this is not only deceptive but wasteful.

Strangely enough, the government allows this saying that the extra space in the boxes and bags keeps the chips and cereal from being damaged, Nothing said about the extra waste

What’s in a name

If the label says watermelon does it have to contain watermelon?

Not always.

Misleading, yes. Surprising, not so much.

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