Readers have been asking since last summer why the Federal Reserve and many prominent economists say there isn’t any inflation. They see higher prices when they go to purchase things, and they wonder why it doesn’t show up so much in the data. One reason, which you’re probably aware of, is retailers charge the same price while reducing either the quantity or quality of what you buy. The New York Times looked at the changes at grocery stores in some detail.
Most companies reduce products quietly, hoping consumers are not reading labels too closely.
But the downsizing keeps occurring. A can of Chicken of the Sea albacore tuna is now packed at 5 ounces, instead of the 6-ounce version still on some shelves, and in some cases, the 5-ounce can costs more than the larger one. Bags of Doritos, Tostitos and Fritos now hold 20 percent fewer chips than in 2009, though a spokesman said those extra chips were just a “limited time” offer.
Trying to keep customers from feeling cheated, some companies are introducing new containers that, they say, have terrific advantages — and just happen to contain less product.