The Trader Joe's Items Shoppers Think Are Shrinking

Historic inflation rates and gas prices are already driving consumers nuts, but now there's another phenomenon that just might push people over the metaphorical edge, so to speak. Known as "shrinkflation," this is when retailers reduce the size/quantity of a product, but keep the price the same, says Corporate Finance Institute. So, maybe that 12-pack of cookies you used to buy now only holds 10, or a jar of pasta sauce has two fewer ounces...but without a price break to match. This is just one reason the food inflation crisis is so concerning.

The term was reportedly created in 2009 by a British economist named Pippa Malmgren. Today, shoppers would be hard-pressed to find a retailer that doesn't practice shrinkflation to some extent. The same source calls shrinkflation "a form of hidden inflation." Retailers take this sneaky route as an alternative to actually increasing prices, which is easily spotted by eagle-eyed shoppers. However, this way, the retailer still gets to increase the price per volume/weight. In a perfect world (for the retailer, anyway), consumers don't notice, manufacturers make more for doing less, and everyone is happy. However, the Internet has a funny way of busting that bubble of hope.

Fans notice major size change in this Trader Joe's product

Fans of Trader Joe's Lemon Elderflower Soda are no doubt thrilled to see it back in stock, but many were surprised that the product is the latest victim of shrinkflation. A recent Reddit post shared, "Lemon Elderflower Soda is back but in a smaller size? Mini ginger ale can next to it for size."

Indeed, other users on the Reddit thread were shocked by the 8-ounce size of each can. "I've been waiting for this to come back only to find out it's sooooo tiny now," says one user, who added that they'll still drink the beverage. Another user was able to confirm that everyone's eyes aren't just in need of a checkup. "I have a 4 pack I bought a few months ago and they're 8.4 oz." A separate previous Reddit post clearly shows a can of the soda, but at the 8.4-ounce mark. Currently, the product is not listed on the Trader Joe's site, but at least one user confirms that the product is "still $3.99 btw."

The Lemon Elderflower Soda isn't the chain's first foray into shrinkflation where popular products are concerned, and we speculate that it won't be the last. The site Trader Joe's Rants & Raves posted a seemingly corrupt photo of 24-ounce pasta sauces with a sign that shows that each one's supposed to hold 26 ounces of sauce. No word yet if they've shrunk the noodles proportionately to avoid a mismatched meal.