Have you noticed the foods you love to eat aren't tasting like they used to? There's a real and frustrating reason why this is happening.

They Thought We Wouldn't Notice

Remember how companies began deliberately downsizing their products and passing it off as a cost-saving measure? The idea of "Shrinkflation" went over like a lead balloon because consumers saw right through the smoke and mirrors. We knew we were being forced to spend more to get less - and we somehow put up with it.

iStock via Getty Images
iStock via Getty Images

Now, to add insult to injury, foodmakers are now looking into the recipes of their products and seeing what can be swapped out for less expensive alternatives. That's right, your beloved snacks are getting a recipe makeover, with critics saying the food companies are sneakily substituting cheaper - and crappier - ingredients.

They're also hoping we won't notice. So if your food has been tasting "off" for a hot minute, your mind isn't playing tricks on you - and you might need to compare the ingredients list to see why.

Say Hello to "Skimpflation"

TikToker PDS Business verified that companies are engaging in what is known as "skimplation" and, of course, the video is going viral because of the outrage it sparked.

"Think of skimpflation as the cousin of shrinkflation... When companies quietly make their products slightly smaller instead of raising prices," they explained.

So what is skimpflation? It's "companies hiding inflation by quietly substituting their usual ingredients for cheaper and [crappier] ones," said PDS Business. \

Of course, these companies are hoping the recipes taste virtually the same and their consumers won't be able to tell a difference - and if they do, the quality isn't bad enough to make people want to switch.

The reason why that a lot of chocolates today have this waxy and artificial texture is because confectioners have actually replaced cocoa butter with palm oil and sunflower oil.

The article referenced was made by Reuters, who confirmed chocolate makers are phasing out cocoa butter, which gives chocolate its melt-in-the-mouth texture, with much-cheaper palm oil in order to tamp down prices.

Read More: TikTok Is Convinced McDonald's Is Shrinking This Popular Sandwich

The TikTok video also shined a light on another example of skimpflation - Breyers Ice Cream. If you've noticed its flavors have been off, it's apparently because the company reduced its dairy fat and "cut out so much it could no longer be legally considered ice cream," they said. That is why Breyers is now calling itself a "frozen dairy dessert."

Other examples include cough syrup losing potency and mouthwash cutting fluoride to cut costs.

@pdsbiz Food Companies Are Sneakily Adding in Crappy, Cheaper Ingredients #Business #Food #Money #Inflation ♬ original sound - PDS Business

Skimpflation isn't a new term, but we are just finding out about it. The word was first coined in 2021 but exploded in popularity this year as people began to notice that the products they love just aren't the same - in a bad way.

According to the BBC:

Broadly, skimpflation is a prominent consumer-facing issue that can manifest in labour changes, like fewer workers to assist in stores; downgrading the quality of offerings, like eliminating service tiers; or swapping out high-quality ingredients for lower quality ones, such as within manufacturing.

Unfortunately, this trend has been going on for some time and we're only now wising up to it - meaning it may be too late for your favorite chocolate bar or peanut butter to go back to normal even if you do raise a stink.

When Will It Stop?

I wish I had a crystal ball or there was an economist out there with a time machine to tell us exactly when inflation will stop wreaking havoc on our daily lives.

German Discount Grocery Chain Aldi Makes Major Inroads In U.S.
Photo Credit - Alex Wong/Getty Images

The best predictions, meaning those come from people who dedicate their lives reading the economic tea leaves and making semi-accurate predictions on what's to come, are also unclear. Some say we won't see things start returning to normal until 2026.

Unfortunately, others think prices will never go back down to normal - otherwise known as pre-pandemic levels. In fact, economists say high prices are here to stay and what needs to change are salaries in order for us to stop feeling the sting.

Read More: Minimum Wage Rises to $16 in Parts of New York State Next Year

As for skimpflation? The best thing consumers can do is vote with their feet and purchase products that do the job better - or just the same - as their old, preferred product.

If a company loses enough revenue because they skimped out, they might be forced to return to the old formula - but it will cost us even more.

Never ending cycle, huh?

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