Houston - Have you noticed you're getting a little less for your money at the grocery store? Many shoppers are finding shrinkflation: manufacturers putting less product in a package, but charging the same price.
"20 years ago, all ice cream came in the large size. It was half a gallon, 64 ounces. Then in 2003, they took out a full cup, and it went down to 56 ounces. Then in 2008, they took out another cup," said ConsumerWorld.org founder Edgar Dworsky.
He's been tracking shrinkflation for years.
"The original Charmin was 650 sheets on a roll, and that's back in the 1960s when Proctor and Gamble had Mr. Whipple," said Dworsky. "There are four rolls in this package. My hand and it's not a big hand, covers the whole package."
Dworsky says shrinkflation usually comes with inflation, when manufacturers, like today, are dealing with shortages or higher costs.
Consumer World notes Costco's paper towels went from 160 sheets a roll to 140, and some bags of Doritos went from 9.75 ounces to 9.25 ounces.
"It's when the product manufacturer decides to make the package a little bit smaller, typically of a grocery item, instead of raising the price directly. It's really a hidden price increase," explained Dworsky.
ConsumerWorld reports the family size box of Nabisco Wheat Thins went from one pound to 14 ounces. The new box is shorter, but the price is the same.
"You're getting less for your money. You have to go shop more often, because the item runs out quicker," said Dworsky.
Sometimes companies, such as Kellogg's cereals, reduce their package sizes to be more environmentally friendly.
To make sure you get the most for your money, Dworsky says check the unit price label.
"The unit pricing label gives you the price per ounce, price per measure, the price per 100 sheets. That way you can see across brands which one is the best deal," he said.
More tips: buy the store brand, which can save you as much as 60%. And buy more fresh food. While the price might change, the measurement, a dozen eggs or half a pound of produce, will stay the same.