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Shrinkflation: What is it? How bad is it?

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  • Staff Report 

Amid rising discussions about shrinkflation—a tactic where products shrink in size but not in price—consumers are finding ways to reclaim their power. Notably, U.S. Senator Bob Casey highlighted a significant increase in corporate profits compared to the rate of inflation, challenging the justification by food manufacturers that rising costs force them to subtly reduce product sizes. Social media platforms like TikTok have become battlegrounds for exposing these practices, with users like @nomoredanny gaining attention for spotlighting how everyday items have quietly diminished in quantity while maintaining or increasing in cost.

The phenomenon has caught the eye of figures as diverse as Cookie Monster, who voiced his dissatisfaction on X, and President Joe Biden, who addressed the issue in a pre-Super Bowl advertisement. Biden’s message underscored the administration’s stance against shrinkflation, advocating for consumer awareness and corporate responsibility. Meanwhile, tangible examples of shrinkflation include popular products like Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, M&M’s sharing size packages, and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, all of which have seen reductions in content while packaging remains misleadingly unchanged.

To combat shrinkflation, consumers are encouraged to adopt several strategies: paying attention to unit prices, opting for store brands over major names, reducing consumption of premade snacks notorious for shrinkflation, and considering warehouse memberships for bulk purchases. These tactics, alongside direct feedback to companies through purchasing choices, offer a pathway for consumers to influence corporate behavior. Recent adjustments by McDonald’s, prompted by a noticeable customer decline due to price increases, demonstrate the potential impact of consumer resistance to shrinkflation.

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