Shrinkflation: What It Is and How To Avoid It

Illustrated | Getty Images

If it feels like there are fewer chips in your Doritos bag these days, you’re not imagining things. There are, and it’s all thanks to a pesky and enduring business practice known as “shrinkflation.” Here’s everything you need to know:

What is ‘shrinkflation’?

When the cost of doing business goes up, one way companies compensate is by shrinking package and product sizes without actually lowering prices — meaning consumers are paying the same or more but getting less. It’s a phenomenon dubbed “shrinkflation,” and it’s essentially “the inflation you’re not supposed to see,” per The Associated Press.

While the practice is usually common in times of rising prices, “we happen to be in a tidal wave at the moment,” shrinkflation expert Edgar Dworsky told AP, as manufacturers work to “balance” the increased costs of gas, labor, and supplies against sales and profit, he added in a separate conversation with The New York Times.

Companies know the average consumer is likely to notice a price hike. What shoppers are less likely to notice is a change in a product’s net weight, or a tiny cost-saving alteration to its contents. “If the orange juice container goes from 64 ounces to 59 ounces, they’re probably not going to notice,” Dworsky told NPR in 2021.

After downsizing in the name of their bottom lines, companies might distract shoppers with new, colorful packages or bright labels in an attempt to prevent them wising up to the sneaky change. Once a product falls victim to shrinkflation, a return to the larger, pre-inflation sizing is “kind of rare,” Dworsky said.

Is this legal?

It might seem shady, but “companies can change prices of their products however they want,” University of Texas at El Paso economics professor Tom Fullerton told El Paso’s KFOX. Shrinkflation is legal so long as products are clearly labeled and the business itself isn’t up to anything unfair or deceptive.

What are some examples?

Toilet paper is a common offender. “Virtually every brand … has been downsized over the years,” Dworsky wrote in a recent report published on, his dedicated shrinkflation-tracking website. A post from September 2022 highlighted how Charmin recently downsized the number of sheets in its Mega toilet paper rolls of the ultra-strong variety — 264 sheets to 242 — while the price, in typical shrinkflation fashion, stayed the same (at least per Dworsky’s analysis).

Dworsky has chronicled sneaky downsizing in packs of diapers, shampoo bottles, Miracle-Gro plant food containers, and tissue boxes, among a number of other products. In July 2022, for instance, one dedicated Mouse Print reader discovered how Quaker Oats Company had shrunk boxes of Cap’n Crunch peanut butter cereal from 12.5 ounces to 11.4, while the price remained unchanged. The r/shrinkflation subreddit is also a helpful tracking resource for the eagle-eyed shopper.

How can I quickly identify shrinkflation myself?

Dworsky keeps an eye out for common shrinkflation calling cards, like the phrases “new and improved” or “family size.” These can signal deceptive packaging techniques or even what Dworsky refers to as “skimpflation” — when companies pass on a price increase by reformulating a product with cheaper ingredients. Most important, though, is to keep an eye on a product’s weight.

“Look at the products you buy all the time, note what the net weight is,” Dworsky told the Times. “When you go back to the store, double check that it’s still the same as your last bag, box or bottle.” (For paper goods, watch the net count.)

How can I avoid it?

Switching between brands, or to a more generic product, is a good way to circumvent shrinkflation, CNBC suggests. Consumers can also try and submit a complaint with the manufacturer, which may be enough to score some coupons and save some money (though not enough to stop shrinkflation in its tracks, of course), Dworsky told CNBC.

Financial advice website SmartAsset recommends planning your meals, avoiding impulse purchases, shopping the sale items, and using credit card rewards to save money while shrinkflation is rampant. Shoppers should also do some research before heading to the store, suggests Tamara Szames, a Canadian retail industry adviser, at The Canadian Press.

That way, you avoid getting taken for a ride, and can identify a good deal when you see one. “When we’re talking about fashion, the closest thing to an ingredient in food is fabric,” Szames said. “If your favorite sweater used to be 100 percent cashmere, you should look closely at the label before you buy it again. It’s now maybe 90 percent cashmere and 10 percent polyester.”

But in some ways, for some people, shrinkflation could also represent an opportunity, CNET posits. Think of it as a chance “to wean yourself off packaged foods,” the outlet writes. “Retailers might be able to make cereal boxes and granola bars smaller, but they can’t shrink a pound of apples.”

By: Brigid Kennedy

Source: Shrinkflation: What it is and how to avoid it | The Week


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A Quick Guide to Developing Recipes

One of the most important aspects of professional cooking is developing recipes. A well-developed recipe achieves balance and consistency.

In this quick guide, we will discuss the steps chefs follow in developing recipes, and how meez has enhanced the recipe development process.

Inspiration and Ideation

Chefs can be inspired by art, seasonality, architecture, makers, ingredients or a story we want to tell. Professional chefs are as inspired by dishes at restaurants and meals our grandmothers used to make like anyone who cooks.

Once we have an idea, we think about the ingredients and flavors that will go into the recipe. We consider any restrictions or preferences that our diners or intended audience may have, including budget. Then we work with those guidelines.

Research and Visualization

Researching can entail visiting a farmers market, tasting the same ingredient from different purveyors, traveling, experiencing cultural influences and studying topics. We often consider sustainability, locality and if the businesses we work with align with our standards and goals. We consider making substitutions for ingredients that aren’t available or that are too expensive.

We visualize what the dish will look like and play with texture, shapes, colors and plates.

With meez, we can export an order list to source ingredients and keep notes and sketches in our Docs. We can even keep a R&D concept separate from production concepts to save each version of a dish until it makes a menu.

Drafting a Dish

We record the ingredients and instructions for a recipe in meez as we go. It’s important to be as specific as possible when writing a recipe so that anyone who reads it will be able to successfully replicate the dish. You can drag and drop a photo or video into each prep step to make this easier and to look back as you compare test versions.

Recipe Testing

We document everything we do when testing a recipe: ingredient amounts, temperatures, times, techniques. We evaluate salt, sweetness, spice, acid, fat, texture, umami and more to achieve balance and play with portion sizes, flavor combinations, elements and components.

Taste Testing

We often test with the back of house team to collaborate on feedback, ideas and iterations. Chefs might try a dish as a special for diner feedback as well. The tasting notes can be recorded in Docs as a menu is developed.

Recipe Writing

It’s crucial in a professional culinary setting to record clear and concise recipes as they’re developed, iterated and executed. With meez, you can convert units of measurement, scale, cost and see nutrition information as you build the recipe. It’s important that anyone who comes into work can replicate the recipe with all the content saved in meez, from the prep to photos and videos for plating. We often organize in recipe books based on station, season or section of the menu.

Once the recipe is developed, the chef can share view access with the team, copies with friends and colleagues, and a public link on social media when desired.

Source: A Quick Guide to Developing Recipes | Blog | meez

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COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Contain Magnetic Ingredients; Dose Volume is Too Small To Contain Any Device Able To Hold a Magnet Through The Skin

Around mid-May 2021, multiple videos (examples here, here, and here) claimed that COVID-19 vaccines caused magnetic reactions in vaccinated people. The videos purportedly showed that magnets attached to the arm where people received a COVID-19 vaccine, but not to the unvaccinated arm. The so-called “magnet challenge” went viral across social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, receiving hundreds of thousands of interactions.
While some posts didn’t try to explain the phenomenon, others claimed that COVID-19 vaccines contained metals or microchips that attracted the magnets. None of the videos provided verification that the people appearing in them were actually vaccinated against COVID-19. Regardless of whether they received the COVID-19 vaccine or not, the claim that COVID-19 vaccines “magnetize” people is inaccurate and unsupported by scientific evidence, as we explain below.

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic ingredients

All materials react to magnetic fields in some way. However, these magnetic forces are, in general, so weak that most of these materials are effectively non-magnetic. Only a few metals, including iron, cobalt, nickel, and some steels, are considered truly magnetic and are attracted to magnets.

Lists of the ingredients in all the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are publicly available. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna contain mRNA, lipids, salts, sugar, and substances that keep the pH stable. The COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson contains an adenovirus expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, amino acids, antioxidants, ethanol, an emulsifier, sugar, and salts. None of these ingredients are metals, and therefore, none of them are magnetic.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine contains similar ingredients to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but includes magnesium chloride as a preservative. Although magnesium is a metal, it is also non-magnetic, both in its elemental form and as magnesium chloride salt. In fact, higher amounts of magnesium are naturally present in the body, in many foods, and in dietary supplements, and they don’t cause magnetic reactions in people.

Finally, the volume of a COVID-19 vaccine dose is very small, ranging from 0.3 ml in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 0.5 ml in the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines. According to experts, even if the vaccines contained a magnetic ingredient, the total amount would be insufficient to hold a magnet through a person’s skin. Michael Coey, a physics professor at Trinity College Dublin, explained to Reuters:

“You would need about one gram of iron metal to attract and support a permanent magnet at the injection site, something you would ‘easily feel’ if it was there […] By the way, my wife was injected with her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine today, and I had mine over two weeks ago. I have checked that magnets are not attracted to our arms!”

This Instagram video illustrates how a magnet (or any other small object) can stick to people’s skin without the need for any magnetic force.

Claims that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips are unfounded

The claim that COVID-19 vaccines are magnetic because they contain microchips or tracking devices traces its roots to a conspiracy theory that has persisted throughout the pandemic. Despite being debunked many times, the baseless theory that COVID-19 vaccines include secret devices for tracking the population emerges from time to time in different forms.

Such claims led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to explain on its website that COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain microchips or tracking devices:

“No, the government is not using the vaccine to track you. There may be trackers on the vaccine shipment boxes to protect them from theft, but there are no trackers in the vaccines themselves. State governments track where you got the vaccine and which kind you received using a computerized database to make sure you get all recommended doses at the right time. You will also get a card showing that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

The claims that the COVID-19 vaccines contain magnetic microchips are incorrect for multiple reasons. First, any microchip contained in a COVID-19 vaccine would need to be small enough to fit through the syringe needle. Vaccination generally uses 22 to 25-gauge needles. “Gauge” indicates the size of the hole that runs down the middle of the needle.

The higher the gauge, the smaller the hole. These needles have a maximum inner diameter of 0.5 mm. Current microchips aren’t small enough to fit through the syringe needle. Second, even if a microchip of that size exists, it would be too small to hold a magnet through the skin, for the same reasons explained by Coey above.

Finally, all COVID-19 vaccines are supplied in multidose vials containing five to 15 doses, depending on the manufacturer (see dosing information from Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). This would make it impossible to guarantee that all individuals receive a chip. Some people could receive several chips, while others receive none. Furthermore, many of the devices would likely remain in the vial or get stuck in the syringe.


Claims that COVID-19 vaccines cause magnetic reactions are unsubstantiated and implausible. COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by the FDA don’t contain metals or other magnetic ingredients that could cause a magnetic reaction in vaccinated individuals. Furthermore, no component or microchip that fits in the volume of a COVID-19 vaccine dose would be strong enough to hold a magnet through the skin.


Source: COVID-19 vaccines don’t contain magnetic ingredients; dose volume is too small to contain any device able to hold a magnet through the skin – Health Feedback


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