16 Items That Are Hard to Justify Buying in Our Shrinkflation World

Shrinkflation is one of the most annoying corporate tactics shoppers face. Nothing is worse than feeling tricked, and that’s exactly what shrinkflation does. 

Your favorite cereal, laundry detergent, or ice cream might look just like it did yesterday, but peer a little closer and you might find there are fewer ounces in the same package. Alternatively, a flashy package redesign may disguise a smaller amount of product inside. 

With shrinkflation you pay more for less, and that can be hard to justify. You may not want to give up your favorite snacks, but at some point, they’re just not worth the price. In our opinion, these are some of the top items that have undergone shrinkflation and are hard to justify buying.

1: Cereal 

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Researchers at Deakins University found Kellogg’s, one of the world’s largest cereal manufacturers, has been shrinking seven of its popular cereal packages. At the same time, prices increased. 

Take Fruit Loops, for example. In 2019, the package held 500 grams of cereal. Today, it holds 460 grams. The price increased by 35% in the same time period. 

2: Pretzels 

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Pretzels used to be a snack staple. They go with everything from cheesy dips to peanut butter. In today’s shrinkflation world, though, it’s hard to justify purchasing a package. 

According to an AARP report, Utz Pretzels decreased the size of its jars by two ounces. That’s a 7.1% reduction, which means you’re paying more for significantly less. 

3: Crackers

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Cheese and crackers are a favorite snack, appetizer, or, on particularly lazy nights, a charcuterie-themed dinner. Unfortunately, purchasing certain cracker brands is becoming less justifiable. 

Take Breton Crackers, for example. Their popular multigrain crackers come in a package that’s 17.7% smaller than it was just a few years ago, according to the AARP. 

4: Lemonade

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A refreshing glass of ice-cold lemonade is a real treat on a hot summer day. If you’re planning to purchase it ready-made, though, you might want to think again. 

Popular brands like Simply Made have jumped on the shrinkflation bandwagon. Their 64-ounce carton is now only 52 ounces. At this rate, you’re better off squeezing a few fresh lemons and making the stuff yourself. 

5: Tomatoes 

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If your mother’s chili recipe calls for 15 oz of canned diced tomatoes, you might run into a problem. These days, tomatoes only seem to come in 14.5 oz cans. 

You can bet your mother paid less for the full-size can five years ago, too. Given how easy they are to grow, it might be time to invest in a tomato plant. 

6: Yogurt 

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Believe it or not, snacking yogurt cups used to be 8 ounces. Then, they switched to 6-ounce containers, which seemed reasonable. 

Today, though, popular brands like Chobani come in 4.5-ounce containers. That’s barely a snack! You’re probably better off buying bigger containers of plain yogurt and dressing them up with toppings yourself. 

7: Chips 

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According to Federal Reserve data, a bag of potato chips costs over $6.50 on average. This is up from $4.60 in 2020. 

At the same time, many popular chip brands are shrinking their packages. Frito-Lay, for example, shrank Doritos from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces. Maybe it’s time to find a new favorite snack. 

8: Salad Dressing

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Buying pre-made salad dressing is an easy way to encourage more healthy eating at home. Add some pre-cut lettuce plus whatever veggies you have on hand, and you’ve got a nutrient-dense side dish for any meal. 

Except, now, your favorite salad dressings are probably smaller, even though they cost the same or more than they did last year. For example, Kraft reportedly changed its packaging to reduce salad dressing volume by 10%. Making salad dressing from scratch might be your new go-to. 

9: Coffee

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Coffee has long been sold by the pound. Alternatively, you could get a 227-gram bag, which is very close to a half pound.

Now, many specialty brands are pushing 200-gram bags, which works out to about 7 ounces. We’re not advocating that anyone give up their caffeine habit, but maybe it’s time to switch to black tea. 

10: Spreadable Cheese

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If you were a fan of The Laughing Cow Spreadable Cheese, we have bad news. What used to be a 6 ounce package is down to 5.4 ounces. That’s a 10% decrease! 

There are still eight wedges inside each Laughing Cow container, but each spreadable cheese weighs a little less. And, of course, the price didn’t drop to reflect the update. 

11: Paper Towels

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There’s never been a better time to switch to reusable paper towels. Between 2019 and 2023, household paper products, including paper towels, saw a 35% price increase. 

According to a recent study, 10.3% of that price hike is the result of shrinkflation. Take Kirkland Signature Paper Towels. They used to come in a package containing 1,028 square feet of towels; now they only have 898 square feet for the same price. 

12: Laundry Fresheners 

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Laundry detergent and related products have been a major victim of inflation. While we don’t advocate giving up soap to wash your clothes, it might be a good time to give up some of those other laundry additions. 

For example, Downy Unstopables used to come in a 26.5-ounce package. Now, even though the packaging appears to be the same size, there are only 24 ounces of product inside. 

13: Ice Cream 

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Hagan-Daz ice cream is always a treat, but it’s getting harder to justify buying it. Years ago, they sold 16 ounce cartons, but now you get 14 ounces for the same price. 

It seems Hagan-Daz’s regular ice cream isn’t the only shrinkflation victim. Costco shoppers recently raised the alarm that their Hagan-Daz ice cream bars are significantly smaller. The only benefit is that an ice cream bar now has fewer calories. 

14: Candy Bars 

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You’re not imagining it; candy bars are getting smaller. Many big-name brands, like Mars, are reducing the size of their sweet treats despite rising prices. 

For example, Twix bars shrunk by 15% in 2022. Mars announced the change publicly, citing the rising cost of raw materials as the reason why. 

15: Bagels

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Bagel lovers, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. It appears your bagel holes may be increasing in diameter. 

New York Bagel Co. recently admitted they cut the size of their bagels from 90 grams to 85 grams. Fans of the baked goods noticed the change because they claimed the center hole was growing in size. 

Tips For Fighting Shrinkflation 

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If you want to fight shrinkflation and show big corporations how you feel about their smaller packages, there are a couple of things you can do. You can start opting for store brands, which are less likely to cut back an ounce or two of product. 

You can also stop buying pre-made snacks. Snack and candy companies are the biggest shrinkflation culprits. Giving up those products where possible is among the best ways to take a stand against shrinkflation.

25 Discontinued Foods That Americans Miss Seeing on the Shelf

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Every once in a while, big-name brands pull products with huge followings off the shelf, saddening Americans across the country. These are the foods Americans want back the most.

25 Discontinued Foods That Americans Miss Seeing on the Shelf

24 Old-Fashioned Candies That Need To Make a Comeback

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From childhood classics to forgotten chocolates, these treats bring back memories of simpler times. Rediscover the joy of beloved confections that deserve to make a comeback.   

24 Old-Fashioned Candies That Need To Make a Comeback


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