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Want some Kraft Dinner? Boxes now have smaller portions but at the same price

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It's a Canadian staple in many households, but if you want to mix up some Kraft Dinner tonight, you may have less "KD" in the box than you did before.

Kraft Dinner is the latest product to be hit by "shrinkflation," which is when a manufacturer shrinks the size of the product leaving the consumer with less bang for their buck. A box of KD is the same price for what appears to be the same size, though the box contains 200 grams now instead of 225 grams.

After Eights, a popular chocolate mint treat, is also downsizing from 300 grams per box to 200 grams but keeping its price the same.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said there have been many cases this year of prices increasing as package sizes decrease.

"We believe in 2023, there have been as many as 25 to 30 cases of shrinkflation," said Charlobois.

The difference between After Eight packages, one 300 grams the other 200 grams, but both costing the same. (CTV News Toronto)

Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumerworld.org, keeps track of grocery prices in the United States and said shrinkflation is rampant there too. Dworsky said companies have been shrinking tissue box sizes, sports drinks and cookies this year.

"It's really a double whammy. We are seeing products get smaller, but the prices keep going up," said Dworsky.

Dworsky said it's essential for consumers to pay attention to unit pricing to try and save money.

"Note the number of sheets in paper products and grams and litres in things you buy, and the next time you buy the same product, make sure you're getting the same thing," said Dworsky.

Charlebois said when some products are reduced in size, they can be considered snacks, which face additional taxes, such as when ice cream containers are less than 500 grams.

"It's happening with granola bars. Six bars in a box it's not a snack. Five bars in a box and it's a snack, and you pay taxes," said Charlobois, who added, "That's an extra 15 percent in taxes you have to pay going to Ottawa and Queen's Park."

Another issue costing consumers is "skimpflation," when companies use cheaper ingredients to substitute for more expensive ones. Charlebrois said as sugar, chocolate, and other ingredients increase in price, consumers can expect more companies to reformulate products to save money.

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