At a time when grocery prices are increasing, shoppers claim that these higher prices aren’t leading to more food. In some cases, shoppers even say that they’re being charged the same amount or more for less product.
This is a phenomenon called “shrinkflation,” and it’s been documented numerous times on TikTok. One user noted how few chips a bag of South of the Border chips now contains; another claimed to have spent $40 for two “tiny” sandwiches from Panera. Others have simply shown a range of products they feel have been impacted by shrinkflation, frequently causing an uproar from commenters in the process.
While some examples of shrinkflation are obvious, others can be more subtle, as TikTok user @ridiculousthrifter recently noted.
In a video with over 17,000 views as of Monday, the TikToker shows boxes of Compliments Wings. While they have a hefty weight, the TikToker claims that this is due in part to the recent addition of a second, unnecessary sauce bag.
@ridiculousthrifter I’m assuming they realized it was cheaper to remove several wings and replace them with sauce packages? #sobeys #shrinkflation #ridiculousthrifter #thriftstorefinds #thrift #thrifting #thrifted #thriftfinds #thriftingfinds #thriftshop #thriftstore #thrifty #thriftshopping #thrifter #thriftedfinds #thriftlife #thriftfind #thriftstores ♬ original sound – Ridiculous Thrifter
“You think you’re getting 800 grams of wings, but really you’re not, because the two huge packets of sauce actually are included in these grams,” the TikToker details.
“I’m assuming they realized it was cheaper to remove several wings and replace them with sauce packages?” he speculated in the caption.
In a comment, @ridiculousthrifter noted that he did not buy the wings and was only using his cart to display them.
TikTok users in comments were dismayed by this apparent deception.
“They should change the packaging laws to specify how many grams of actual chicken and how many grams of sauce,” a user wrote.
“Each box is now like a meal for one. It’s crazy!” another user exclaimed. “Who needs all that sauce for 10 wings?”
“The second pack of sauce is completely unnecessary. We had them two weeks ago, and one pack was nearly too much,” recalled a third.
In an Instagram direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, the TikToker says he noticed the issue while working as a youth counselor.
“I’ve been a youth counselor at a group home for at-risk teenagers for 16 years now. Boxed frozen wings are a favorite on weekends there during movie nights. One particular weekend, I noticed there weren’t as many wings in the box and there were now included packages of sauce… yet the weight of the box (grams/ounces) remained the same,” he recalled. “This actually made me angry. A sneaky way by the companies to save money, but at the same time making the customer believe they were receiving something extra. How nice of them!”
He continued by saying that the problem is getting worse—something made more unpleasant by rising grocery costs in general.
“What’s curious is, grocery stores are posting record-breaking profits, yet they are giving the customer less food for their money,” he explained. “This grocery store in particular, Sobeys, is the producer of the brand of chicken wings I featured (store brand). They are giving us less food in their packages yet telling us they are making more money than ever? This is disgusting and unjust.”
Barring government intervention, the TikToker says the situation is unlikely to change anytime soon.
“Business owners and large grocery chains can basically charge what they want for their product,” he detailed. “In many communities, people sometimes have only one or two options to shop from… so they are basically in a stranglehold. I really feel for young families, etc. who are struggling to make ends meet. The worst thing about all this is, prices are rising rapidly… but our paychecks are remaining the same. That is a sad reality.”
On TikTok, some users suggested boycotting companies who do this, instead opting to make the food by themselves.
“Gotta stop supporting these company’s. Make our own flavours. Make it all ourselves,” stated a commenter. “Let them suffer the loss in sales.”
For @ridiculousthrifter, part of the solution lies in being a more attentive shopper.
“Look at flyers. Shop around and stock up on sale items from a variety of stores. Adopt a thrifty lifestyle,” he suggested. “It takes a little more effort but you save money… which is so important right now during these difficult financial times.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Compliments via the website contact form.