In economics, the term shrinkflation could be characterized as a process in which a product shrinks in size or quantity or even gets its quality lowered, while the price of that product remains the same. In other words, it’s making a certain product cost more without changing its actual price. Sounds unfair? Well, it does for a lot of people. Despite that, various well-known food and beverage companies have been using this strategy for years.
The trickiest thing about this practice is that the change is usually barely noticeable, so only the most attentive customers tend to notice it. And in the long run, even the smallest change ends up saving the company millions of dollars.
Last year, someone on Reddit noticed how a “Bigger Bag, More To Share” pack of Doritos actually had the same amount of chips as the regular size pack. “More air to share,” someone joked in the comments.
In 2016, fans of Pringles started noticing how their beloved chips are now smaller. In addition, some noticed that the tube itself also shrunk, making it harder for some people to reach in. Despite that, the price stayed the same. “Is this Pringles can getting smaller or my arm getting fatter?” a consumer went on Twitter to express their concern. The company explained that the reason behind these changes was that manufacturing shifted from the USA to Malaysia. “The equipment we use in Malaysia is a bit different to our sister factory in the US … you’ll notice that both the chip and the can are a little smaller to fit with the production facility,” the company explained.
Back in 2016, Toblerone announced they were altering the iconic design of their UK bars by adding bigger gaps between the mounds, which meant that the bars were about to have 10% less chocolate for the same price. Apparently, the unfortunate change was due to an increase in the price of the ingredients. People weren’t too happy about it, to say the least. Two years later, the company decided to bring back the original shape. Sadly, the price of the bar had to be raised as well.
For a long time, the clear glass cookware brand Pyrex was known for making fireproof glassware. Ironically, a few years ago, the pans started exploding when they got too hot. Apparently, the manufacturer switched to a cheaper ingredient that strengthened the glass against being dropped but weakened it against thermal shock.
According to Metro, last year, a man named William Knight happened across a “vintage” 1996 Mars bar in the bottom of an old box in his loft. After measuring the old bar against a modern-day one, the man was surprised how much bigger the “vintage” one was. Despite that, the price of the bar has more than doubled since then.
For quite a while now, the length of toilet paper rolls has been shrinking. Apparently, once upon a time, the standard size of a toilet paper roll was 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. Fast forward to now, most rolls are a half-inch shorter than they used to be. Despite that, consumers are still paying the same price.
Throughout the years, a Double Stuf Oreo pack has changed from being 16.6 oz to 15.35 oz and is still being sold for the same price.
Many well-known chocolate bars have been shrunken down over time, but their prices haven’t changed. For instance, a Twix bar is now about 14% smaller than it was back in the day. Apparently, in 2012 Mars, Inc. (who make Twix) announced a 250 calorie cap on all single-serve chocolate bars, and because of that, many of their products have been downsized.
Turns out, some bags of Lay’s potato chips contain fewer chips than others. Lay’s regular “Family Size” packs are 10 oz., but the company’s bags of flavored chips are 9.5 oz, yet both sell for the same price. According to the Associated Press, the difference is equivalent to approximately 5-6 chips.
Customers have been noticing that throughout the years many cereal brands have been reducing the amount of cereal they’re selling in a box while keeping the price the same. Many brands have been making the boxes thinner, so from first sight, it appears to be the same size as it used to be.