Corporations are shrinking products and boosting profits, according to report

Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa), arrives in the Senate subway for a vote in the Capitol on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

By Sean Kitchen

December 20, 2023

US Sen Bob Casey has made “Greedflation” an issue as he is getting ready to run for reelection in 2024. Now the senator is focusing on corporations shrinking their products to boost profits.

Are you one of the millions of Americans who’ve noticed that the size of a single Oreo or a bottle of gatorade has gotten smaller over the past few years, even though corporate profits have continued to increase during this time?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only person taking notice according to a new report on “Shrinkflation” released by US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) on Thursday.

“Corporations are only getting more creative as they rake in record profits at the expense of Pennsylvania families: shrinking the size of their products while keeping the same sticker price,” Casey said in a statement. “This corporate greed is one of the reasons that Americans are frustrated by expensive grocery bills.”

Casey’s report is the latest in a series of “Greedflation” reports his office has released over the last couple of months. The reports point out how corporate profits are outpacing inflation thanks to companies raising their prices faster than the pace of inflation.

Corporate profits rose by 75%, or five times as fast as inflation, between 2020 and 2022 thanks to Greedflation and corporate price gouging, according to the report. These costs have been pushed onto average Pennsylvania families, who paid an extra $6,740 during that time period.

The report defines “Shrinkflation” as “the practice of companies reducing product size while maintaining the same retail price,” and according to the report, the practice is common among companies that sell consumer goods such as household paper products, cleaning products, snacks, and candy.

Most of the products highlighted by the report saw a decrease in weight, or how much product is offered in packages, of between 5% to 12% while prices remained the same or eventually increased.

Mondelez International is one of the companies receiving scrutiny for tampering with the amount of filling placed inside the Double Stuf Oreos, a claim the company has denied. The Double Stuf Oreo family sized packages decreased 6% in size by weight. They were 1 pound, 4 ounces and now weigh 1 pound, 2.71 ounces.

Other popular snacks and drinks that saw similar decreases in size by weight include Frito-Lay Doritos, Wheat-Thins, Gatorade, and Gold Peak Iced Tea.

Both the family size Wheat Thins and a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade saw a 12% decrease in size by weight over the past few years. A family size box of Wheat Thins went from 16 oz to 14 oz, while a 32 oz bottle of Gatorade shrank to 28 oz.

Household paper and cleaning products witnessed similar decreases in size by weight, but the most stunning example cme from Walmart’s Great Value paper towels. The store brand paper towels shrank 28%, or from 168 sheets to 120 sheets, per package.

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: LOCAL HISTORY | POLITICS
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