If it seems like your favorite home and grocery products are shrinking, you might be right. An increasing number of major companies have started to shrink their products rather than raise prices and (presumably) irk their customers. Staples like cereal, toilet paper, peanut butter, and baby formula are among the items reported to have decreased in size lately.

In tough economic times, it’s not uncommon for many of us to cut back. For some, that means flying first-class instead of taking a chartered jet, and for others, it means clipping coupons and planting a garden. Does that make it okay for major companies to reduce the size of their products, or should they simply raise prices?

Recipes that once called for 14.2 ounce cans may need to be altered to deal with new 12 ounce cans, and those who know that a single box of cereal will last their two children one week may suddenly find themselves running out on Friday. 

In other cases, the actual makeup of the product is affected. Products that were once 100% juice are now 60% juice, or items that were once 100% fish are now just 40%.

Whether you appreciate the ability to hold purchase prices steady, or you find yourself irritated at the reduction in what your money can buy, it’s a trend worth noting.