Invisible inflation: 9 grocery products giving you less for your buck

The government tells us there's no inflation. They must not go grocery shopping.

A decent steak will now run you $15 to $20 a pound.

Want chicken? A pack of boneless breasts will set you back almost $10.

But it's a hidden price hike -- the invisible inflation -- that really costs you more in the long run.

Fewer Cookies and Crackers

Cindy Metz noticed something strange with Keebler cookies recently.

"I noticed when we bought them the other week that we seemed like we had less cookies," she said. "I know we have the same amount of people in my home, but it seems each of us got a smaller portion."

She's right. According to the website , Keebler's recent package redesign contains two to three fewer cookies, down from 13.3 ounces to 11.6 ounces.

Ashmi Dayal said she noticed a lot of cookies and crackers shrinking, like Ritz crackers, which now have shorter stacks.

"The product is definitely smaller," she said. "Smaller quantities, smaller packs, yes."

The website Consumerist, run by Consumer Reports Magazine, calls this the "Grocery Shrink Ray."

Recent additions to in the Consumerist's Shrink Ray files include:

  • Kraft Shake n Bake, down from 11 ounces to 9 ounces.
  • Many Nabisco crackers, including Triscuits, which are down from 9.5 ounces to just 9.
  • Jif Peanut Butter, down from 18 to 16 ounces.
  • Special K cereal: A standard box is now 12.5 ounces. It was 13.5 ounces.
  • Chobani Yogurt: Down from 6 to 5.3 ounces.
  • Renuzit Air Freshener: The new container looks bigger, but is actually a half-ounce smaller due to a clever hole in the bottom.
  • Sun Chips: Down from 10 to just 7 ounces.

"It's kinda' subtle," Anna Auris said. "When you open the bag, there seems to be fewer potato chips in it."

Less Toilet Paper on Roll

But the item most people have complained about in the past few months: Shrinking toilet paper.

Donna Cann said her Charmin rolls now rattle in the holder.
"I decided to get out the tape measure and see how much difference there is, and there's a half inch difference in the rolls now," she said.

A Procter & Gamble spokesman confirmed the Charmin shrinkage, but said the exact reduction is three-eighths of an inch, not half an inch.

Nabisco calls their smaller packages an improvement, saying "we've taken the same great Ritz you love and shrunk down the package so it will fit anywhere you go."

But whether it's T.P., P.B, potato chips or cookies, we keep paying the same price, but getting a lot less for our buck.

Bottom line: If you look at all the items giving us 5 percent less, that's the equivalent of an inflation rate of 5 percent.

As always don't waste your money.

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