What is shrinkflation? And is it just us, or are there less chips in our bags of potato chips lately?

Inflation isn't the only thing consumers have to worry about these days.

"Shrinkflation" is when manufacturers shrink a product's packaging size or the amount contained inside, lessening the amount of product purchased without dropping the price.

Many consumers aren't even aware when their products have been affected by shrinkflation.

Those in the know are furious.

According to NPR, shoppers across the U.S. have been complaining of less paper on their toilet paper rolls, fewer scoops in their ice cream containers and fewer tissues in their tissue boxes.

Though frustrating, consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky told NPR that shrinkflation is both historically and economically to be expected during times of inflation.

"It comes in waves. We happen to be in a tidal wave at the moment because of inflation," Dworsky told the outlet, explaining he began to notice smaller cereal boxes being sold at the grocery store last fall.

According to Dworsky, Folgers also continued to claim that their coffee parcel would make 400 cups of coffee, even though they reportedly downsized their 51-ounce container to 43.5 ounces.

Is Shrinkflation Legal?

So, you may be asking yourself: "Is this really legal?"

You bet it is.

According to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs, shrinking or altering a product's packaging is not illegal. Even so, it must be marked and labeled.

However, even consumers who are wise to a company's shrinkflation schemes may be duped by a product when manufacturers try to disguise shrinkflation with package redesigns.

From dented bottles to claims of "lower calories," corporations are finding ways to double down on their bottom line.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves From Shrinkflation:

For starters, be conscious of the product size you are buying when shopping.

Also, pay close attention to the per-unit pricing of the product you're buying.

Shrinkflation also presents a unique opportunity for consumers to ween themselves away from their usual packaged goods and consider competitors who may offer similar options at lower per-unit price points.

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