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Shrinkage is nothing new and has been going on since the 1950s, according to Edgar Dworsky, a consumer lawyer and founder of the website Consumer World, who has been speaking out against shrinkage for decades.
These tactics tend to become more prevalent during times of high inflation, Dworsky said.
As prices on grocery store shelves and elsewhere have skyrocketed, many consumers are now more sensitive to the value they get for their money.
Shrinkflation videos are trending on TikTok. Meanwhile, a 2022 Morning Consult poll found that 64% of all adults said they were worried about this.
The president is the new critic in Washington of the contraction in inflation.
In December, Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., spoke out against the practice, releasing a report detailing its effects.
“This corporate greed is one of the reasons Americans are frustrated by expensive grocery bills,” Casey said in a December statement.
Household paper products saw the largest increase, with a measured price increase of 10.3% attributable to the contraction in inflation, according to the Casey report, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. United.
Snacks are the next category, with a 9.8% increase attributable to the contraction in inflation; next come household cleaning products, 7.3%; coffee, 7.2%; and candy and chewing gum, as well as ice cream and related products, each with 7%.
Dworsky said he currently has a list of about nine item changes that he has been tracking since December. One of its surveys last year found consumers were being shortchanged over the number of chocolates in heart-shaped cardboard boxes for Valentine’s Day.
“I hope that as inflation goes down we will see fewer examples, but it will never go away,” Dworsky said.
The best approach consumers can take is to remain aware of the problem, Dworsky said.
For products you buy regularly, watch the net weight. If a tube of toothpaste shrinks from 3.9 ounces to 3.5 ounces, you may want to consider buying a competing brand that hasn’t yet reduced its size, Dworsky said.
Also keep in mind that gravitating toward certain sizes of products with names like “fun size” or “family size” may cause you to continue purchasing a product out of habit, even after it has Shrunk.
If you write a letter to the manufacturer to complain, you’re unlikely to get it reverted to the old size, he said.
“You can get coupons in the mail, which is always nice,” Dworsky said.
Still, Dworsky said he was thrilled when Biden’s video was posted online Sunday.
“To see the president trying to educate the public about shrinkage and calling on manufacturers to voluntarily reduce the practice, what more could you ask for?” Dworsky said.
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