Please Help Support Consumer World

MrConsumer For 27 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, and independent investigations. It is your generosity (and not advertising alone nor corporate support) that keeps this site and Mouse Print* available as free consumer resources. So MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your support again this year. Your gift will be most appreciated.
Updated every Monday!   Subscribe to free weekly newsletter.

Here We Shrink Again – Early Fall 2022

As inflation continues to take its toll on our pocketbooks, some product manufacturers pass on price increases the sneaky way by downsizing or shrinking their products (“shrinkflation”), tinkering with the ingredients (“skimpflation”), or playing packaging tricks. Here are some of the latest examples. Incidentally, just recently Merriam Webster added the word shrinkflation to its dictionary.

Charmin Ultra Strong Mega Rolls

Charmin finishes this round of downsizing by finally reducing the number of sheets on its red packages – the ultra strong variety. Mega rolls were reduced from 264 sheets to 242 sheets, and Super Mega went from 396 to 363 sheets. The packages below were $14.29 each, purchased in the same store, at the same time, and at the same price. Thanks to our ace shrinkflation sleuth, Richard G., for this find.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Charmin Mega 264-242


Peet’s Coffee

George C. discovered that bags of Peet’s coffee went from 12 ounces down to 10.5 ounces and the price went up. We contacted the company, and it said they made the change a couple of months ago, but kept the price the same. No matter, you are still paying more per ounce with the smaller bag.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Peet's Coffee


Natural Balance Adult Dog Food

Fido may be getting two pounds less in the big bags of Natural Balance adult dry dog food than previously. As often happens, the size reduction occurred at the time the company introduced a new package design. On the company’s website and at Chewy.com attention is called to the design change, but it is up to the shopper to notice the difference in net weight since it is not shown in their illustration [we’ve added it].

*MOUSE PRINT:

Natural Balance dog food

When customer service at Natural Balance was asked why they downsized, the company responded saying, “To offer more consistency in sizing across our portfolio, we are reducing our bag sizes slightly on this formula from 26lbs. to 24lbs.”


Seventh Generation Detergent

As with many laundry detergents, the size of the bottle changes occasionally. This time, the 100-ounce bottles of Seventh Generation downsized to 90 ounces. The bottles below were found in August at a leading supermarket, both scanned $15.99, but the old larger one was offered with an extra dollar off. Thanks to Mim E. for the tip.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Seventh Generation detergent 110-90


Cap’n Crunch

In another cereal downsizing, Grant O. reported to us in July that Cap’n Crunch peanut butter cereal was shrinking from 12.5 ounces to 11.4. So you lost about a bowl of cereal in every box, but the price stayed the same. Both boxes were priced identically in the store where found.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Cap'n Crunch


Huggies Diapers

For several months, consumers have been reporting that there are fewer diapers in some Huggies packages. We recently found these Huggies Snugglers that went from 96 in a box down to only 84. And both boxes scanned at the same $29.99 price.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Huggies


Suave Shampoo

The 30-ounce bottles of Suave Shampoo and their conditioner have been reduced by 25%, but the price has stayed the same. Recently they both were $2.49 at Stop & Shop supermarket in the Boston area. Interestingly, the product is still called “family size.” Perhaps the new product is meant for families where dad is bald.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Suave shampoo


Quaker Instant Oatmeal

Last year, Quaker reduced some flavors of their instant oatmeal packages. This year, some more flavors got the downsizing axe including 10 packet boxes of raisin, date and walnut oatmeal going to eight.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Quaker Raisin Oatmeal packets

To see them side-by-side, they look identical. Only if your turn them sideways can you see that the new boxes are narrower.

Quaker sideways


Next week, we’ll expose some packaging tricks used by other cereal makers, and the week after that we’ll spotlight some products that were recently subject to “skimpflation.”

If you find an item that has been downsized, please take a sharp before and after picture showing the net weight or net contents, and email it to edgar (at symbol) ConsumerWorld.org . Thanks.

Share this story:
All comments are reviewed before being published, and may be edited. Comments that are off-topic, contain personal attacks, or are otherwise inappropriate will be deleted.

17 thoughts on “Here We Shrink Again – Early Fall 2022”

  1. For quite a while, we’ve been seeing such incremental changes. It would be interesting to compare today’s sizes with those from 30 years ago.

  2. I think a good skimpflation product to investigate would be Doritos… They taste horrid and according to Reddit I’m not the only one. But I cannot find anywhere that they changed their formula and it doesn’t say anywhere on the bag that they did but it taste like powder like they super granulated stuff or mixed in something that was super granulated like cellulose or some thing it’s awful. I think it totally must be is skimpflation type item, because the other large group on Reddit noted it’s several of their products by the manufacture not just limited to Doritos

  3. Thanks for reviewing this Edgar. I really appreciate these breakdowns as it helps me keep an eye out. Buying Kirkland toilet paper and paper towels has consistently been the best plan in order to avoid shrinkflation. The price has gone up, but the one time the package changed since I’ve bought it, they announced it.

    I think the Seventh Generation change is particularly telling. For a company that is supposed to be all about being better to the environment, there’s now 10% more plastic, 10% more packaging waste, and 10% more fuel required for them to service the same number of customers.

  4. Don’t you think this has something to do with the inflation we are experiencing? It will only get worse. Are you recommending that prices be raised as an alternative? If you want to stop this, stop inflation!

    • Sure inflation has something do it. Toilet Paper size changes have been brutal on your wallet and your fanny over the past couple of years.

    • Yes, Alan. Raising the prices is more honest than sneakily shrinking the package. You can blame inflation if you want, but this surreptitious package shrinking has been going on for at least 10 years, most of which was a time of extremely low inflation.

  5. It’s great once the shopper memorizes the unit pricing for items he/she buys. That shows the value, and if price is right for purchase.

    Then, it’s like “what’s the package size?” Don’t care!
    “What’s the scan price?” Don’t care!

    And, never need to worry about shrinkflation or whatever because package size doesn’t matter.

    • Shopping by unit price is only really great if you want to swap brands a lot.

      Buying the biggest size item can give the lowest per unit cost but as toilet paper and diapers have shown the per unit cost is still only going up.

  6. I can afford a price increase so this shrinking practice is just a major annoyance. Beside making me shop more often this also results in more packing waste.

    Shame on you Charmin. 🙁

    • The naughty bears at Charmin have been a multi time offender of shrinkflation since at least 2013 and the so called old packaging with the size change that came with it did not even last 2 years.

  7. It’s not just cutting back on the number of sheets. Not that long ago, Charmin toilet paper individual sheets were square. Now they are rectangular and the roll is not as wide — the tube takes up less space on the holder than in the past.

  8. Well, the Charmin downsizing finally came to the ultra-strong/super mega package. I usually buy the bulk size (18 rolls) from Amazon. My last package was also a little over two dollars more. I didn’t notice at first that the ‘new’ rolls width had also changed by a quarter of an inch. I wrote to P & G in the beginning about the reduction of sheet amounts per roll & the price hike. They were conciliatory & said they would send me a $15.00 debit card. They also said that they had nothing to do with the price hike and that the sellers of their product can charge whatever they want to for the product. When I noticed the width had changed a couple of days later, I wrote them again & they said they hadn’t changed the width in three years! I took a photo of the old & the new, sent it to them & they were surprised & would turn it over to quality control.

  9. I would like to play devil’s advocate, and I am not a stockholder in any of these companies. What choices do they have? Either raise prices or shrink the size of their product. They are not exempt from the rising cost of doing business. This would include raw materials, manufacturing the product and distribution. Additionally, add in employee salaries, benefits, workman’s compensation, Social Security contributions, etc. They are fighting to remain competitive in a marketplace driven by the final retail price. I see the problem as we expect “steak and champaign” but only want to pay (or can afford) “pretzels and beer” prices.

    • Paul,

      I don’t think it is anyone’s attempt to demonize these companies for needing to make a profit on what the sell. The biggest issue people have with shrinkflation is how dishonest it is. I remember Cadbury had this whole campaign about, “It isn’t getting smaller, you’re getting bigger.” and then it was proven that the Cadbury creme egg was actually getting smaller. The thing most people have an issue with is how deceptive the packages are changed to hide the fact that there is less in the box.

    • Not only the dishonesty, but the needless excess packaging, since the packages containing less product are often still the same size, or very nearly the same size.

  10. Le Croix sparkling water has gone from 12 cans to 8 cans and ArtNaturals hylauronic Enhance Hydration + Moisturizing Formula has gone from 1oz fl to .33 fl oz.

Comments are closed.