Consumer Group Offers Tips to Combat "Shrinkflation"

Advocate Andy

Consumer Federation of America highlights decreasing purchasing power

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says American consumers are being hit with a "double whammy" of inflation and shrinking product sizes.

“Consumers are being hit with a double whammy,” says Jack Gillis, CFA’s Executive Director, “with inflation raising prices and sellers shrinking package contents, ‘shrinkflation’ has now set in.  While some consumers are used to the fact that it’s hard to find a true quart or pint of ice cream, now those shrinking packages are appearing with toilet paper, cereal, and cookies.”

CFA cites the work of consumer advocate Edward Dworsky who notes as examples of product shrinkage:

Kimberly-Clark's Cottonelle Ultra Clean mega rolls of toilet paper have just been reduced from 340 sheets to 312; Keebler's Chips Deluxe with M&Ms packages that used to be 11.3 ounces are now only 9.75 ounces, and Gatorade's 32-ounce bottles just shrank to only 28 ounces. Dworsky offers a full list of downsized products here.

CFA and Dworsky's ConsumerWorld offer tips for combating shrinking products and rising costs:

· Take advantage of unit pricing to truly compare and know what you’re actually paying

· Compare prices in supermarkets’ weekly flyers

· Substitute store brands for the higher-priced brand names

· Check the “day-old rack” for discounted produce and bread

· Use the store’s loyalty card to save on sale items

· Stock-up on sale items when the price is exceptionally good

· Compare the price per serving instead of just the per pound price

· Use grocery apps to get rebates on items you buy anyway

“The best way to cope with ‘shrinkflation’ is to focus on unit pricing (the price per ounce or per 100-count)—that’s the only way to really compare prices and know what you’re paying,” said Gillis.  “What’s particularly insidious, is that while package contents are shrinking, package sizes often look the same—so beware.”

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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