The Problem Aldi Shoppers Have With Its Fall Ice Cream Flavors

At this point, you'd have to be living under a rock to have missed that we're experiencing record inflation. In fact, June saw the largest year-over-year increase in consumer prices in over 40 years, a staggering 9.1% (via U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). And food and energy costs are taking the brunt of that increase. As of July 2022, prices for food at home were up 13.1% over what they were in July 2021, according to The Economics Daily, a publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It might seem like higher prices alone are how inflation is affecting grocery store visits, but there's another, more insidious way this issue is leaking into your shopping cart: It's called "shrinkflation" or "down-switching," and you may have experienced it without even noticing (via NPR). Bought a bottle of Gatorade recently? Did the bottle seem to be shaped slightly differently than the last time you held one in your hand? That's because those bottles are now narrower in the middle to accommodate 28 ounces instead of the previous 32. 

Shrinkflation is occurring among a wide range of consumer products, from conditioner to cereal, as a way for companies to offset rising production costs and higher prices for raw materials. This way, they can avoid raising prices while selling smaller quantities, banking on the fact that consumers just won't know the difference (via CNBC).

Shrinkflation is in the Aldi ice cream aisle

While shrinkflation has largely been confined to big brands so far, it's now hitting the store brands at low-cost grocery retailer Aldi — and it's hitting hard.

Aldi fans recently noticed marked size difference in its seasonal fall ice cream flavors. According to photos taken by Instagram user @aldifavoritefinds, the products are pint sized (or 16 ounces) this year, while they were 48 ounces last year. "ALDI, we need to talk. I love you, you know I do, but shrinking the package size from regular to pint size is not cool," they captioned their post, which includes pictures of the same products last year in their full-size tubs. Comments by unhappy Aldi fans read: "love the apple cinnamon...but refuse to buy a pint at an inflated price" and "shrinkflation is real."

According to CNBC, the freezer section is one of the top areas where consumers have noticed shrinkflation at play. The seasonal ice cream flavors affected at Aldi include the store's apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice ($1.99), as well as Specially Selected's vanilla chocolate almond and chocolate peanut butter ($2.99). In light of this recent change at Aldi, it might be time to investigate grocery store vanilla ice cream for some wallet-friendly eating.