There’s inflation and then there’s shrinkflation.
Inflation is easy to spot: The product you bought last month now costs a dime more.
But shrinkflation is much more nefarious. The product you bought last month is the same price — the package may even appear to be the same size — but there’s less of it. In some cases, a good bit less.
“Notable brands to ‘shrinkflate’ their products in recent months as the American dollar continues to lessen in value include Charmin, Bounty, and Gatorade, which have all been downsized in recent months but have retained their previous prices,” the Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.
“Joining the parade of downsized products is cereal stalwart Honey Bunches of Oats, which has seen the weight of its standard box, previously 14.5 ounces, lessen to 12 ounces — a reduction of roughly 17 percent,” the U.K. paper said.
Angel Soft toilet paper has also reduced its size from 425 sheets per roll to 320, while Bounty paper towels have cut their rolls from 165 sheets per roll to 147 late last year. Gatorade also cut its bottle size from 32 ounces to 28 ounces.
The fascinating thing is that companies often go to great lengths to keep their product containers the same size.
Folger’s coffee has also slashed its amount per canister, drawing controversy .
“Last month, the company elected to dramatically drop the number of ounces displayed on those canisters – previously 51 ounces, now 43.5 ounces – while keeping the number of cups that it says each package will yield, at 400, the same,” the Daily Mail wrote. “When confronted about the 7.5 ounce reduction per canister last month on social media, which should see a decrease of more than a dozen cups of coffee, the company cited a new, more efficient bean pressing technology as to why the cup count has not been changed.”
“We have employed a new, roasting technology that makes the most out of every bean — resulting in lighter-weight coffee grounds that deliver the same taste you love across the same number of brewed cups,” the company wrote on Twitter. “Through the use of this new roasting process, we’re able to get more coffee flavor from each bean while providing the same amount of coffee servings.”
“The total weight of our coffee products will be reduced, but the amount of coffee you receive, by way of total servings, will remain the exact same. Hope this clears up any confusion,” the company continued.
That didn’t go over too well with customers.
Give me a break! A lighter coffee ground? You’re greedy, I’ll switch brands!
— Melbeach (@Melbeach10) June 7, 2022
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.