Take a look at how companies hide rising costs by shrinking the size of everyday products, from toilet paper to candy bars

general mills cereal
General Mills shrunk its “family size” boxes from 19.3 ounces to 18.1 ounces.

  • Prices of consumer goods are increasing, from food to household necessities.
  • The term shrinkflation describes brands selling smaller amounts of product for the same price as before.
  • It’s a sneaky way for brands to hide growing prices.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

It’s not just you – some grocery products are getting smaller.

Ingredients and manufacturing are getting more expensive thanks to inflation, and if they can’t cut costs, companies have two main choices – hiking up prices or making their products smaller.

Many of these size changes are subtle, like making candy bars sold in multipacks smaller than ones being sold individually, or changing the shape of their products so you can barely notice the difference in weight.

“Do we raise the price knowing consumers will see it and grumble about it? Or do we give them a little bit less and accomplish the same thing? Often it’s easier to do the latter,” consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky told The Washington Post.

This phenomenon, known as shrinkflation, was already happening before the coronavirus pandemic, but is set to get worse because of rising labor costs and ingredients prices combined with soaring demand and a shipping crisis.

Clorox now includes 75 wipes per pack, down from 85, for the same price.

Clorox and bleach wipes

Source: Reddit, Walmart

Walmart Great Value Paper Towels dropped from 168 sheets per roll to only 120, while the price stayed the same.

Walmart paper towel shelves
Walmart increased paper towel prices.

Source: The Washington Post

Frito-Lay just shrunk regular bags of Dorito’s from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces. Both are currently for sale at Target for the same price.

Doritos pricing at Target
Frito-Lay shrank Dorito bags.

Source: Target

Hershey cut down its 18 ounce pack of dark chocolate Kisses by almost two ounces.

Hershey Kisses

Source: The Washington Post

Hefty’s mega pack went from 90 bags to 80 bags, at the same price.

Hefty 2

Source: The Washington Post

A two-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups used to weigh 1.6 ounces. Now it’s just 1.5 ounces.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups two pack

Source: Confectionery News

Tubs of Pringles are different weights depending on the flavor in the US, but at Walmart they all cost the same.

Pringles prices on Walmart website

Source: Walmart

General Mills shrunk its “family size” boxes from 19.3 ounces to 18.1 ounces – a drop of nearly 10%.

general mills cereal

Source: NPR

Tillamook decreased the size of its ice-cream cartons from 56 ounces to 48 ounces. It said that it didn’t make the decision lightly, but that if it didn’t make it cartons smaller it would have had to hike up prices because of rising ingredients costs.

Tillamook icecream

Source: Tillamook

Some of Royal Canin’s cans of cat food now weigh 5.1 ounces, down from 5.9 ounces – but they still cost the same. Royal Canin, a subsidiary of Mars, said that it had reduced some product sizes because of “unprecedented demand” for pet food during the pandemic.

Royal Canin cat food

Source: The Washington Post

Charmin toilet paper originally had 650 sheets per roll. It now only contains around half of that – and even its “Mega Rolls” and “Super Mega Rolls” don’t have as many sheets as the original. The sheets have reportedly gotten smaller, too.

toilet paper prime day

Cadbury changed the shape of its famous Dairy Milk bars in 2013 – and changed the size of them, too. The individual pieces now have rounded edges and contain nearly 10% less chocolate than before.

Cadbury Dairy Milk

Source: BBC

But Dairy Milk isn’t the only product Cadbury, owned by Mondelez, has shrunk over the years. Chocolate bars it sells in multipacks weigh much less than ones it sells individually – and it announced plans to shrink down the size of multipack bars even further still.

Wispa chocolate

Source: BBC

Mondelez also owns Swiss chocolate company Toblerone, which makes distinctively triangular chocolate bars. In 2014 it reduced the weight of its bars by 25% by adding more space between each piece – but reversed the decision two years later after public outcry.


Source: BBC

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Reese’s is selling its first chocolate-free peanut butter cup ahead of Easter this year

  • Reese’s is launching peanut butter cups with no chocolate. 
  • The new candy will launch in April, right around Easter, a major candy holiday.
  • Hershey’s, which owns Reese’s, continued to grow in 2020 despite the pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Reese’s just announced it will launch a new peanut butter cup flavor, the “Ultimate Peanut Butter Lovers Cups.”

The new candy is like a traditional peanut butter cup, but the typical chocolate shell will be replaced with a “100% peanut butter candy-flavored shell.” The peanut butter cups will launch in April in standard, king size, and miniature for a limited run.

According to a press release, Reese’s had previously tested limited releases of Peanut Butter Lovers Cups in 2019 and 2020. The 2021 version is the first to forgo chocolate altogether, though. “While launching a Reese’s Cup with absolutely no chocolate might come as a shock, we’re giving the truest peanut butter fans something to go wild about,” Reese’s Brand Manager Margo McIlvaine said in a statement. 

Reese’s is owned by Hershey’s, which has seen sales increase over the past year. Net sales increased 5.7% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, largely driven by chocolate brands and baking items like peanut butter and cocoa. Customers coped with quieter holidays by buying more candy, and profits rose nearly 14% in the third quarter thanks to Halloween candy sales, including Reese’s.

Peanut Butter Lovers Cups will launch around the same time as Easter 2021, which falls on April 4 this year. Easter is typically a big candy holiday, and Hershey’s owns three of the biggest brands, Cadbury, Reese’s, and Hershey’s with a 40% market share. Easter could be part of a strong start to 2021 for Hershey’s.

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