Products are shrinking as companies try to tackle inflation without raising prices directly

Less is more. At least that’s what some product makers would have you believe. As inflation has driven up the cost of goods (by about 8 percent in the past year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics), companies are trotting out an old trick: reducing product sizes without lowering costs, Quartz reports. “Shrinkflation,” as it’s sometimes called, allows companies to downsize a product and reduce their own costs, while placating flighty customers that may be ruffled by price increases. Shoppers are less likely to notice that a bag of Doritos has five fewer chips in it than they are to notice a price jump of say, $5.31 to $5.95. And it’s legal, of course—at least, until the empty space in a product’s packaging is so large, it no longer serves its intended purpose (Think: the air inside a bag of potato chips that keeps them from breaking during shipping.) That kind of slip-up can get pricey. This year, McCormick paid out $2.5 million to customers who said the spice company was trying to get one over by selling less black pepper in the same size tin cans. —Safiya Charles