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Shrinkflation Packaging Examples: 13 from September

It was a banner month for name brands like Zesta, Snickers, and Kleenex to adjust packaging size and net weights that left consumers frustrated.

Rick Lingle

September 26, 2023

2 Min Read
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Rick Lingle/Packaging Digest

Sustainability has been THE trend in packaging for years and shows no sign of slowing, in fact, quite the opposite.

However, there’s a time when one of the avenues to make packaging more sustainable, reducing the amount of packaging, is used to improve shrinking profit margins.

Known as “shrinkflation”, it's especially onerous during periods of inflation when brands adjust product net weight and packaging to avoid raising product prices. 

At best, these tactics are confounding. At worse, they border on deceptive.

Packaging Digestfirst reported on this strategy in April 2022, but we felt it was time to revisit shrinkflation, this time with real-life examples.

We’ve collected 13 examples in this compilation from X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Darn downsizing.

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This guy is not snickering about the change.

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Enough is enough, but please, not Girl Scout Cookies, too!? 

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Caution: this is a graphic example of shrinkflation.

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Shrinkflation is a global phenomenon. My impression is that Europeans seem to complain the most, though perhaps they simply have more to complain about.

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Does two less really make a difference? Apparently the answer is Yes.

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Shrinkflation comes in many different guises, such as smaller cups at the same price. 

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Some retailers like Carrefour are fighting back by calling it out, bravo!

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Introducing special and limited editions are notorious tactics for shrinkflation.

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So, which is it? It's possible the brand is using current packaging inventories before it switches to a shrinkflation-driven “right-sized” smaller pac, but still, c'mon.

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Beware of the popular subcategory, “skimpflation.” I've noticed much more products arriving with lack of tight quality control, for example scorch marks on snack chips. In fact, we've switched tortilla chip brands as a result. 

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It crosses all CPG product categories and is nothing to sneeze at.

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We've noticed "sleeker" ceral boxes, too: Thinner is not "in" when it comes to value.

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About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-408-7184.

https://twitter.com/PackmanRick[email protected]

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