March 20, 2023

Senior News Line: Read the fine print

“Shrinkflation.” That’s a word that’s been in the news lately and one that we need to pay attention to.

We know prices are increasing on our groceries. We see it every time we look at the price tags on the shelves when we shop and certainly at the checkout.

But shrinkflation is a different thing and can be harder to spot. Shrinkflation is sneaky price increases.

In shrinkflation, the prices don’t go up, but what we get comes down. This is impacting most things across grocery stores, including dairy, shampoo, meats, frozen foods, toilet paper, pet food, pastries, candy bars, laundry detergent, sliced cheese, tea bags and, well, everything.

Example: The price of a can of beans stays the same, but we get fewer ounces. Example: The price of a loaf of bread stays the same, but it’s smaller. Same with cereal, which you’ll have noticed when the box sizes changed.

In my case, one particular item, frozen meatballs, at my local store dropped from 64 meatballs to 56 — fewer for the same money.

Keep an eye on the unit pricing on the tag on the grocery store shelf. Yes, it’s in tiny print — which is one reason to carry a small magnifying glass at all times — but the numbers will tell you the unit price per fluid ounce, pound or count. Over time you’ll be able to see if you’re getting less for your money.

Look at generics to save money — and, in many cases, get a better product — or just change brands. Buy more than one if the price is good, but watch the expiration dates.

Lastly, consider signing up for a store’s loyalty card if you get cash benefits for doing so and sign up for the emailed weekly sales flyer to shop from.

By shopping carefully, we can beat them at their own game.

Matilda Charles

© 2023 King Features Synd., Inc.