Inflation has come for the snackers. Snack brands like Doritos, Gatorade, and Wheat Thins are opting to make their products smaller as an alternative to raising prices. According to Quartz, last year Doritos bags decreased from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces, resulting in the equivalent of five fewer chips per bag.
“Inflation is hitting everyone,” a Frito-Lay representative told Quartz. “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.”
Wheat Thins’ family size boxes shrunk by two ounces, resulting in 28 fewer crackers. Gatorade’s 32 ounce bottles are now 28 ounce bottles, for the same price as before. A travesty! It may not feel different when you reach for your favorite snack, but 28 Wheat Thins, 4 ounces of Gatorade, and five Doritos is a lot to lose.
While Frito-Lay confirmed that Doritos downsized due to the pressures of the pandemic, Mondelez, Nabisco Wheat Thins’ parent company, did not give a reason for why the packages have downsized, so either it’s shrinkflation, or Mondelez thinks we don’t deserve 28 Wheat Thins for other reasons.
Gatorade’s spokesperson attributed the change in size to an overall redesign to make the bottle more aerodynamic (for, you know, launching across the room in an overhand throw) and easier to grab. Okay, fine, I’ll give them that. The Gatorade 32 ounces we’re used to do look like they should be Planted Firmly on a table and not in someone’s hands.
According to NPR, the term “shrinkflation” has been around for a decade. It’s a way for companies to adjust to costs without shifting the price, which is something that consumers would find more noticeable if it changed.
And maybe that works for some consumers. Others definitely notice when the packaging gets smaller, like sleuths on the r/shrinkflation subreddit, or consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, who runs a website called Mouse Print. So companies beware...the snackers are WATCHING.