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Shrinkflation: Gatorade gets a waistline and other examples of product downsizing

“It’s a backdoor price increase, a sneaky price increase” said Consumer Advocate Edgar Dworsky. “It’s kind of a nasty price increase if you ask me.”

HOUSTON — It’s not your imagination, products are getting smaller. 

Some manufacturers are shrinking items but charging the same price. And some are charging more for less. 

Most of the changes are small and sometimes come with a package design to mask the downsizing.

“It’s a backdoor price increase, a sneaky price increase” said Consumer Advocate Edgar Dworsky. “It’s kind of a nasty price increase if you ask me.”

As founder and editor of website Consumer World, Dworsky has a shopping list of examples.

Keebler Chips Deluxe Cookies shrunk from 11.3 ounces to 9.75 ounces.

“Gatorade recently changed from 32 ounces to 28,” Dworsky said while holding up both bottles. “This is the new bottle here you can see it has a little waistline and of course the company says well now it’s easier to grip.”

It’s not just drinks and snacks either.

Charmin is getting the squeeze. Its Ultra Soft Mega pack used to be 264 sheets per roll. Now it’s 244.

Shrinkflation is creeping into products and consumers are starting to notice. 

Jacinta George finds it all the time.  

“The paper towels and toilet paper,” she said. “Even the paper plates.”

So, how do you get your money’s worth?

Jorge Barro from the Baker Institute at Rice University says you have to become a savvy shopper and look beyond price.

“You might be able to overcome any tricks that companies might play like reducing the amount inside any package by looking at the price per unit,” he said.

You can find the price per unit or net weight amount next to the total price. That’s the easiest way to spot shrinkflation. Some grocery stores also include it on their websites.

If you’re comparing prices, don’t forget to look at store brands too. When it comes to downsizing, generic products tend to be the last to shrink.