A new word makes it into Merriam-Webster Dictionary only when its use is frequent, widespread, and long-lasting.
This year shrinkflation was added.
As we already know, Merriam-Webster tells us that shrinkflation means “the practice of reducing a product’s amount or volume per unit while continuing to offer it at the same price.”
There are lots of ways to shrink a product.
Most typically, paper products have fewer sheets. Angel soft toilet paper shrunk a whopping 25 percent from 425 to 320 sheets. Meanwhile, Sparkle paper towels are down to 100 sheets from 116:
Folgers continues to tell us that we can make 400 six ounce cups of coffee from what appears to be the same package. However, the old canister weighed 51 ounces; the new one is 43.5:
Not from 2022 but still one of my favorites is the change to curvy corners from straight ones. With its new shape, the Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar lost almost 10 percent of its chocolate. Even more cleverly, Toblerone increased the space between its triangles. (The decision so horrified chocolate lovers that they reversed the decision two years later.):
But there is more.
To our growing shrinkflation list, we can add cereal, pet food, and fast food. Among cereals, we get less in a box of Quaker’s Life, Post’s Cocoa Pebbles, and most of General Mills’s family size selection. As for our pets, cans of Royal Canin cat food, and some kinds of Pedigree dog food have less in them with no price change, In addition, charged the same amount, we will get fewer Burger King chicken nuggets and Domino’s chicken wings.
Our Bottom Line: Thinking at the Margin
Economists like to tell us that we are always thinking at the margin. Going up or down by a little more or less, our new supply and demand decisions are rarely all or nothing. One example of marginal thinking that flopped takes us to the movies. When Moviepass offered a $10 monthly pass for a film a day, movie going soared and the company sunk into bankruptcy.
At the margin, MoviePass and our groceries are somewhat similar. For all changes at the margin, whether for Folgers or films, our incentives change.
My sources and more: While my go-to website for shrinkflation is Edgar Dworsky’s mouseprint, I did find other good examples at Insider. Also about the margin, the story of MoviePass is here and its 2022 comeback, here.