Why Your Cereal Boxes And Ice Cream Cartons Are Shrinking

Posted on 07/29/21 | News Source: CNN

Less cereal in the box. Smaller snack sizes. Ice cream gone missing in a container.

You’re not losing your mind. You are actually paying the same price or more these days for everyday items in your fridge and pantry but running through them more quickly because their sizes have shrunk.
The reason? A tactic known as “shrinkflation,” deployed by consumer product brands and grocery stores. The phenomenon — getting less for your money because a manufacturer has reduced the size of the product— has been going on for decades, but it typically becomes more common when companies’ costs go up like the inflation surge we are seeing today.

When costs rise, manufacturers of consumer goods look for ways to offset the increases they are paying for commodities, transportation, labor and other expenses. In response, they usually raise prices on existing products or whittle down the sizes of their goods, thereby increasing the price per unit of what you’re getting. Those increases are then passed on to shoppers via stores, who purchase products from consumer goods companies.
Consumers are sensitive to price hikes, but they pay less attention to how much a product weighs. While product quantities are printed on labels, few people actually take the time to do the math to figure out exactly what they’re paying per ounce. That means it’s easier for a brand to sneak in a slightly smaller box on the shelf or take a few sheets out of a toilet paper roll than it is to raise prices without consumers reacting and perhaps switching brands or not buying the product.