PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While out grocery shopping, you may notice you’re paying the same price for some items but getting less of the product than you’re used to.
Experts say it’s not a figment of your imagination, but rather something they call “shrinkflation.”
According to the Consumer Price Index, prices across the board increased by 5.4% from June 2020 to June 2021.
“Because we’re in an inflationary period right now, that’s when you see the most downsizing or ‘shrinkflation,'” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, a guide for consumers established nearly three decades ago.
“It’s really been going on for a long time, but it tends to happen more so in times during inflation, he continued.
Dworsky said “shrinkflation” is when a manufacturer downsizes a product but doesn’t change the price to reflect the decrease.
“It’s really a sneaky pricing increase, to shrink the product almost unperceptively. Sometimes the packages look almost identical and you’re paying the same amount of money, but you’re getting less,” Dworsky explained.
According to Dworsky, both the cost of raw materials and the cost to transport the final products are increasing, which are both contributing factors in “shrinkflation.”
“[Manufacturers] are feeling these inflationary pressures. They have to make a decision: ‘do we raise the price, or do we take out a little bit from each product and hope customers don’t notice?” Dworsky said.
He said the most important thing is paying attention to a product’s net weight.
“If you don’t know the exact size of the products you buy, how are you ever going to spot that you’re getting less for your money?” Dworsky asked. “Look at the items you buy all the time, remember what the net weight is, and when you go back to the store, double-check that it hasn’t changed.”
Dworsky called “shrinkflation” a fact of life, saying that if a particular brand downsizes, then look for another that hasn’t. He also suggested shopping store brands, adding that those will most likely be the last to adjust product sizes.