'Shrinkflation' Is Taking a Big Bite Out of Cereal Boxes

Cereal boxes are shrinking.
Cereal boxes are shrinking. / Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Here’s another reason not to trust the Trix rabbit. Distracted and harried shoppers grabbing their favorite cereal or ice cream may not have noticed a growing trend in the consumer products industry. Manufacturers are offering you less food for more money.

According to CNN writer Nathaniel Meyersohn, the trend is known as “shrinkflation” and comes into play when inflation impacts production costs. To help cover the price of manufacturing and transportation, consumer product companies reduce packaging sizes and raise prices.

Examples of shrinkflation or downsizing include a dwindling supply of Cocoa Puffs, which has gone from 19.3 ounces to 18.1 ounces in its family size box; Cinnamon Toast Crunch dropped from 19.3 ounces to 18.8 ounces. But the price for each remained at $3.99.

It’s not technically misleading—companies will still be transparent about the net weight or volume of the cereal or cookie dough ice cream you drop in your cart. But if you’re used to buying the same brand over and over, you might not notice you’re suddenly getting less of it. If your Cheerios is charging an extra 50 cents per box, however, you’ll know it.

Shrinkflation impacts a lot of products, from snacks to toiletry items. Compare that last bag of chips to your new one, and you might be surprised at how big a bite the manufacturer took out of it.

[h/t The Takeout]