The Secret To Avoiding Store Shrinkflation

When you examine that carton of ice cream in the store freezer, a nagging thought occurs to you: Has that thing shrunk recently? antoniodiaz Shutterstock

There’s a good chance your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.According to consumer advocates, shrinkflation, which occurs when the size of a product shrinks while the price remains the same, is on the rise.

This covert method of raising prices on customers isn’t new.When the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data for its Consumer Price Index, Steve Reed, an economist at the BLS, tells ABC News that the BLS tries to account for shrinkflation.The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of what consumers pay for goods and services, and it is used to track inflation.

Shrinkflation has long been a source of contention among consumer advocates.According to Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former Massachusetts assistant attorney general,

In general, if a manufacturer wants to raise prices, they can do so in one of several ways.The standard method is to increase the item’s price.The more devious method is to keep the product package looking similar while putting less in the container.

Companies avoid sticker shock by using shrinkflation instead of raising prices, even though the consumer is paying the same price but getting less for their money, according to Dworsky.

So, how can you avoid shrinkflation? According to Dworsky, the best way is to be more aware of trying to think about prices by weight.

He recommends that you keep track of the net weight of the items you buy on a regular basis.You’ll be more likely to notice a change in the item’s weight if you do it this way.

Look at competitor brands to see what they’re offering if you see an example of shrinkflation.Consider store brands, which, according to Dworsky, are the last to lower unit prices.

Looking at family-size packages of the product can also be beneficial, as these often list the cost per ounce or, in the case of paper towels, per 100 sheets, according to Dworsky.This can help with comparisons.

Check out 5 Product Packages That Have Been Downsized – or Upsized – for some recent real-world shrinkflation examples.

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