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Shoppers Say These 6 Grocery Items Have Majorly Shrunk in Size

You’ll be reading the fine print on the box after seeing this.
FACT CHECKED BY Amanda McDonald

By now, shoppers have become well acquainted with this year's rising grocery prices. With supply chain delays, the decreased labor market, and production shortages, costs of goods have increased—and they aren't expected to go down anytime soon. In fact, one supermarket CEO predicted another 10% spike in food prices before the end of 2021.

But there's another way that food suppliers are eating away at your budget that you may not have even noticed. It's called "shrinkflation." Instead of explicitly marking up prices, companies deliver a slightly smaller product for the same dollar amount. According to News Nation Now, it's one method for avoiding shortages when production costs are high, an indirect form of rationing.

Consumers saw product shrinkage in the first half of 2021. But as inflation ticks up, businesses still have to decide how to best provide their goods to consumers. We noted six popular grocery items that have shed a few ounces in recent months.

Related: Grocery Shoppers Say These 5 Items Are Cheaper Than Meat Right Now

1

Cereal

cereal aisle at grocery store
Shutterstock

If your box of Rice Krispies seems to be disappearing faster than usual, you're not imagining it.

Consumer advocate and founder of consumerworld.org Edgar Dworsky discovered evidence of General Mills downsizing their cereal boxes in July 2021, NPR says. The family-sized packages of Cocoa Puffs and Cheerios had new designs but were missing 1.2 ounces (from 19.3 to 18.1 ounces). Meanwhile, the checkout price remained the same.

Revamped packaging can disguise shrinkage. According to the article by NPR, another shopper posted on social media that a brand-new version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch was taller than the old one, but even this box had lost half an ounce.

General Mills' press statement at the end of June 2021 explained their measures to combat an expected 7% inflation for cost of goods in 2022 through these "pricing actions."

2

Tostitos Tortilla Chips

tostitos
Shutterstock

Dworsky found another Frito-Lay downsize in August. According to his blog mouseprint.org, a bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime cut its regular 13 ounces to 11, and Hint of Guacamole dropped from 13 to 12 ounces.

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3

Bounty Paper Towels

Shutterstock

In June 2021, Costco lovers noticed a reduced sheet count in Kirkland Paper Towels, along with other quality and quantity changes in several products sold at the bulk warehouse.

Now Bounty is cutting back on their paper goods. Dworsky reported in August at mouseprint.org that the "quicker-picker-upper" removed 8 paper towels per roll. "Last winter, paper products manufacturers alerted shoppers that prices would go up this past June because of higher manufacturing and distribution costs," he wrote.

4

Metropolis Coffee

Metropolis Coffee
Courtesy of Metropolis Coffee

Twitter user @WallStreetSilv put two bags of Metropolis Coffee Company's blend of Xeno's Decaf side by side to compare the whole bean roasts. The previous package held 12 ounces, but the new one has only 10.5 ounces. The company began in Chicago in 2003.

Since May 2021, there have been coffee shortages from Brazil due to lower levels of rainfall. As one of the world's largest producers of the caffeinated beans, the decreased supply may have pushed coffee distributors to make up the cost one way or another.

Related: Coffee Habits That Are Aging You Faster, Says Dietitian

5

Barilla Pasta

Barilla Rigatoni
Courtesy of Instacart

A box of Barilla Rigatoni used to make a full pound (about 454 grams) of pasta. Redditor u/Emander712 picked up the new box that Barilla stocked on shelves in September—only, this one was 44 grams lighter.

6

Pearl Milling Company Maple Syrup

pearl milling company pancakes
Courtesy of PepsiCo, Inc.

The October 2021 rebranding of Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup presented consumers with a taller, thinner bottle. However, as noted by the Reddit user u/RocketGoBoom, this included Pearl Milling Company filling the container with just 710 milliliters of golden syrup, meaning technically the bottle at the grocery store shrunk. That's 40 milliliters less syrup than the original.

The Aunt Jemima brand was retired in June 2020 to distance the product from its "racist origins", according to CNN. The new label, Pearl Milling Company, is named as a tribute to the Missouri flour mill that created the original Aunt Jemima pancake mix.

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Sarah Wong
Sarah studied at Northwestern University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and experimented with mixing tech and journalism. Read more