Forget inflation, now we’re dealing with something called ‘shrinkflation’

Bounty Paper Towels, 9/2014,
Flickr | JeepersMedia

We’ve all heard about inflation this year as the price of homes, cars, steel and even things like chicken wings soar in price.

But another newly relevant term, “shrinkflation,” means that not only are people paying more, but they are often getting less in return.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says year-to-year:

  • Gas prices are up 52%.
  • Airline tickets up 24%.
  • Home prices are up 15%.
  • Hotel rooms are up 7%.
  • Clothing is up 3%.
  • Used cars up a whopping 29%.

Shrinking Products To Keep Costs Down

So what are some companies doing?

They are shrinking versions of their products to keep costs down, known as shrinkflation.

Ed Dworsky, the founder of the money-saving site, said, “consumers are paying more for household staples in ways that don’t show up on receipts, such as thinner rolls, lighter bags, smaller cans.”


“Companies are looking to offset rising labor and materials costs without scaring off customers,” he said.

Dworsky shows several products that have been hit with shrinkflation on his site

Otherwise, that pack of paper towels might suddenly cost $2 more. If the company uses the shrinkflation model, it might just go up by a modest 30 cents, but consumers are getting fewer sheets.

That might leave you saying, “Doesn’t that stink?”

So next time you are looking for paper towels, cereal, crackers or bath products, check the size and price.

While shrinking products are frustrating, companies say many consumers prefer it to higher prices.

As always, don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese

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