If you’ve picked up a bag of Doritos recently and thought it had less chips in it, you’re not going crazy. Some of America’s favorite snacks have shrunk by up to 20 percent in the last 25 years as companies cost-cut amid rising inflation, a move dubbed ‘shrinkflation‘.
It is not just chips. Fast food, cereals, soda, ice cream and dressings have all been kept at the same price or even made more expensive despite shrinking in size.
Candy industry leaders claim they are reducing product sizes for the good of consumers, saying it helps control sugar and calorie intake.
Domino’s $7.99 box of chicken wings used to contain 10 wings in 2022, but now it only has eight. Cadbury’s creme eggs have decreased more than 14 percent in size from the 1970s to 2015, while the weight of a Toblerone has dropped more than 15 percent since 2010.
Domino’s has made the biggest cuts, reducing their $7.99 chicken wings from 10 pieces to eight pieces. Next is Toblerone, which has gotten more than 15 percent smaller
Inflation hit a 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February, the Labor Department announced Thursday, a figure not seen in nearly 50 years, since the Carter administration. The rising rates, experts say, are to blame for the ‘shrinkflation’ phenomenon
Annual inflation rates in the US peaked in 2021 at seven percent. It now sits at five percent, as economic pressures coming out of the pandemic have cooled off.
In the latest instance of companies downsizing their products chip, giant Frito-Lay revealed last month it had cut down the number of chips in its bags of Doritos.
‘Inflation is hitting everyone,’ a company rep told Quartz of its decision to trim the size of its 9.75ounce bag of the cheesy snack to 9.25 ounces.
This is a reduction of around five chips per package, the spokesperson said. The product’s price, usually around $4.29, has remained the same.
‘We took just a little bit out of the bag so we can give you the same price, and you can keep enjoying your chips,’ the rep responded to questions about the decrease.
Frito-Lay also tinkered with the sizes of other snacks, shrinking their Tostitos with a Hint of Guacamole chips by one ounce, from 12 to 11oz, and their Hint of Lime option from 13 to just 11oz.
Inflation rates reached 7.9 percent in February 2022, the highest point in around 40 years.
Meanwhile, Lays classic chips dropped from 15.25 ounces per packet to 13 ounces — close to a 15 percent decrease.
Before/After: A Frito-Lay company rep confirmed the company’s decision to trim the size of its 9.75 ounce bag of the cheesy snack (seen on the left) to 9.25 ounces, the spokesperson said – blaming inflation for the decrease
Reese’s peanut butter cups started out weighing 1.6oz in the 1980s and 90s. But by the 2010s and 2020s, the packet had decreased slightly to 1.5 ounces. GOOD
Meanwhile, a bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses dropped nearly two ounces from its 18oz pack in 2019 to 16.1oz. The price, however, remained the same.
A single Cadbury’s creme egg weighed 1.4oz in the 1970s, but it has shrunk to 1.2oz since at least 2015.
Cereal maker General Mills shrunk its family-size boxes from 19.3oz to 18.1oz — an almost 10 percent drop in recent years.
And the classic milk chocolate Toblerone has shrunk from 7.1oz to six ounces in 2010.
In January 2009, Haagen-Dazs reduced the size of their ice cream cartons from 16 fluid ounces (fl oz) to 14flo oz. The price for the carton stayed the same, however.
A spokesperson for parent company Nestle told CNBC it was a result of ‘increased costs of energy, dairy and some of our key ingredients’.
They said: ‘Because of the economic downturn, we chose to downsize rather than increase the price or compromise on quality. We were sensitive to the fact that increasing the price would have made Haagen-Dazs unaffordable for many in that economic climate.’
Joining the parade of downsized products is cereal stalwart Honey Bunches of Oats, which has seen the weight of its standard box, previously 14.5 ounces (at left), lessen to 12 ounces (at right) – a reduction of roughly 17 percent
Meanwhile in 2022, Pringles shrunk from 5.5oz to 5.2oz, and Bolthouse Creamy Caesar yogurt dressing shrunk from 14oz to 12oz in the same year.
Sports drink Gatorade Zero also decreased from 32fl oz to 28fl oz.
Joining the parade of downsized products was cereal stalwart Honey Bunches of Oats, which has seen the weight of its standard box, previously 14.5oz, lessen to 12oz — a reduction of roughly 17 percent.
The 2.5oz decrease accounts for roughly two bowls of cereal.
However, only the keenest of shoppers may find themselves aware of that fact, with — apart from the product’s new, labeled net weight and the fact the box is slightly more narrow — the packages are virtually identical.
The price for the product, which varies from store to store and state to state, has largely remained the same.
Meanwhile, Cap’n Crunch’s peanut butter crunch went from 12.5 ounces to 11.4 ounces.
Another downsized product was Keebler Cookies, owned by the Keebler Company.
Its Chips Deluxe with M&Ms option, once coming in an 11.3oz package, has dropped to a 9.75oz — a nearly 15 percent reduction.
Online, Target has the 11.3oz version priced at $2.75, nearly 25 cents less than the reduced rendition, priced at $2.99.
Another popular item ‘shrinkflated’ was Gatorade, owned by The Gatorade Company, which saw its 32fl oz bottles redesigned to hold less beverage – four fluid ounces less, to be exact, to 28fl oz.
Walmart listed the 32oz at $1.29, with the smaller, 28 ounce version priced five cents more, at $1.34.