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How to handle ‘shrinkflation’ in today’s market

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Posted at 2:56 PM, Jun 23, 2021

You may have noticed that some of the things you're buying at the grocery store are getting smaller. It's a trend economists refer to as “shrinkflation.”

It's a way for companies to avoid sticker shock as prices are rising on just about everything right now. By shrinking the amount of the product, the price can stay about the same.

One way to spot this is by paying attention to the weight of the product.

“Make sure that you're taking these things into the calculation. It's good to plan ahead, you know, be conscious of the sales that are going on, what size these items are, and go from there,” said Tanya Christian with Consumer Reports.

There are also certain things you can buy in bulk to try and offset "shrinkflation" and rising costs. For example, meat products, which Consumer Reports says are seeing some of the biggest price hikes right now.

“For instance, if you want to buy a bag of chicken and bring that home, freeze some parts, keep some of them in the refrigerator, so you can always get to it at a later time, that's fine. Are you going to buy mayonnaise in bulk? You know, only if you can use it before it expires. So, as long as you're buying in bulk, just make sure it makes sense for you and your family's needs,” said Christian.

She also recommends going into the grocery store with a list. That way, you can avoid buying things you don't need.

Most grocery stores also have an app where you can digitally clip coupons, and some credit cards offer rewards or cashback for groceries.

Also, consider other places from your usual store for toiletries.

“You know, you might want to check out other stores like Dollar General or the dollar store, where, I mean, it's a set price right, especially the dollar store. It's never going up. It's always going to be a dollar,” said Christian.

There’s no set timeline on how long “shrinkflation” will last. Economists typically report the trend during economic downturns.