Shrinkflation: Instead of higher prices, NC shoppers see reduced quantity

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, NC (WJZY) – As the economy rebounds, companies are paying more to attract workers, but there is a flip side to the raises.

Inflation is causing the price of products to increase at the quickest rate since 2008.

The price of washing machines, furniture, and TVs have all see an increase.

While some companies are choosing to charge customers more for products, others are keeping prices the same but giving customers less for their dollar.  Bags of chips, boxes of cereal, and toilet paper are being sold at grocery stores across the US with less product inside the packaging.

“Businesses face costs just like consumers face costs. When those business costs go up, businesses have to do something,” distinguished professor and extension economist at North Carolina State University Michael Walden said.

Instead of increasing prices, sellers are reducing quantity, also known as “shrinkflation.”

More often than not, customers are unaware of it.

“They all seemed pretty standard to the normal shopper’s eye. You really wouldn’t seem to notice,” shopper Kris Fernando said.

Fox 46 found an older box of Honey Nut Cheerios online that weighed 11.5 oz.

Weights seen in grocery stores in the Charlotte area ranged from 8.9 oz. to 10.8 oz.

“I think it’s super manipulative for sure, especially for people who are even struggling to make ends meet to buy groceries,” shopper Sara Sumner said.

Walden said the tactic is not new and is used to offset rising production costs.

“Believe it or not, businesses don’t like to raise prices because they know that tends to scare off some buyers, so this is an option as long as it is possible for them to do it – shrink the quantity and hope that people don’t recognize that and essentially it is a stealthy price increase,” Walden said.

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