Tiny Treats or Tricky Tactics? Unmasking “Shrinkflation” | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Bethany Torstenson.

    Prepare to be spooked! Forget the scary costumes; "shrinkflation" is a silent yet subtle disruptor that has infiltrated the candy aisle this year, spiking by thirteen percent since last year.

    It's a bit like income taxes but for kids.

    Halloween candy is not just pricier these days; it is also shrinking in size. This past weekend, I was discouraged after I ripped open a bag of Reese's and found more air than that awesome chocolate and peanut butter combo. I will also note that the Reese's itself was noticeably smaller.

    While shrinkflation is not just unique to Halloween candy, it is more noticeable since it is only on the shelves once a year.

    According to data from the National Retail Federation's annual holiday survey, consumer spending on Halloween candy will reach a record high this year, totaling $3.6 billion, up from $3.1 last year.

    Here are two scary findings:

    For full-sized candy bars, an 18-piece variety pack of Snickers, Twix, 3 Musketeers, and Milky Way is priced at $16.99 at Target. Remember the Reese's I mentioned earlier? That single bag cost me $14.79.

    Pairing with record inflation, this upward pricing trend is further exacerbated by the supply not being as available as it was in the past.

    It has been reported that the price of cocoa has hit a 44-year high due to heavy rains in West Africa last year and "a subsequent drought, which is going."

    Extreme weather across the globe is also resulting in the price of sugar rising, as the growth rate of US sugar exports dropped by 2.38%, per the USDA.

    Without an end in sight, prices are expected to continue to climb into Christmas and through Valentine's Day and Easter in 2024.


    To tackle rising food prices, lawmakers should focus on creating energy policies that lower costs for farmers, subsequently benefiting consumers. Learn more about the efforts of our Center for Food, Power, and Life here.

    Though trick-or-treaters may have to visit more houses to collect enough candy due to shrinkflation, Halloween is all about enjoyment and fun for everyone, regardless of age.

    Consider this your validation to dress up and be a kid again.
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