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Valley consumers start to notice 'shrinkflation'

thumbnail_Dawn dish soap.png
Posted at 9:24 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 10:43:29-04

Some Valley consumers have noticed they're not only paying more for certain products amid inflation, but some packaging has changed to smaller sizes. Paying more, but getting less.

“We don’t go out to eat,” said Mary of South Phoenix while she loaded groceries into her car. “I can’t even take my daughter school shopping.”

She’s already made cutbacks in spending now that gas and groceries cost more. Now she’s questioning if some consumer products have gotten smaller with no decrease in price.

“Dishwashing tablets and stuff like that. That packaging looks smaller,” she said.

She’s not the only one to notice.

“I’ve always said I know if I see a carton of eggs and there's only 11 inside, then I know it’s gone too far,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumer World.

Dworsky calls it ‘shrinkflation.’

That’s when companies cut their goods by a small amount but keep the same price, or in some cases raise the price. Consumers share examples they've identified while shopping, then Dworsky posts them online.

For example, Life Cereal not only changed its packaging from 'giant size' to 'family size,' but reduced the amount of cereal by 2.5 ounces.

Pedigree dry food was reported by Consumer World as having six pounds less in some packaging for the same price.

“[Makers] know if a consumer price increases they may switch to another brand, they may complain, if [makers] can do it on the sly, which is what downsizing and shrinkflation is all about, they may get away with it,” said Edgar.

ABC15 was able to find an example of ‘shrinkflation’ on the shelves of a major retailer. Dawn dish soap is priced at $1.19 for 6.5 fluid ounces near the front the shelf. However a bottle at the back of the shelf, the same size bottle for the same price, was labeled to have 7 ounces.

We reached out to all the makers of products mentioned in this article. Only the makers of Dawn dish soap replied saying, “We’re committed to continually improving the performance of our products to better meet your needs. We recently made improvements to Dawn Ultra & Dawn Ultra Platinum to fight grease better than ever. In order to do this, we had to make a tough choice. Rather than increasing the cost of our products, we have changed some of the bottle sizes.”

“It’s been going on periodically for years,” said Dworsky.

On trying to avoid ‘shrinkflation,’ Dworsky gives these tips:

  • Look closely at the net weight or count of the product for changes.
  • Generic store brands often are the last to downsize.
  • Compare unit pricing on the shelf.