Explaining 'Shrinkflation': An Increasingly Common Phenomenon
Marcy Kreiter, The Food Institute
Jun 4, 2021
Ever had the odd feeling that something you buy regularly doesn’t look quite right? It’s more than the new colors on the label or a new shape. The price is the same, but …
You’re not imagining things. Many retailers try to make up for losses by shrinking package size – fewer ounces here, fewer sheets there – while keeping prices steady. It’s a technique known as shrinkflation and has been going on for years. Think about it: When was the last time you saw a 1-pound bag or can of coffee, or a half-gallon of ice cream at a grocery store?
Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, founder of consumer education website consumerworld.org, has been tracking the phenomenon for years.
“It’s a backdoor price increase,” Dworsky told The Food Institute. “For a company, leaving the package the same makes sense. Changing the package has a cost. Just taking out some of the product makes more sense – and consumers rarely notice. They’ll notice if the price goes up, but they hardly ever notice that an ounce or two has been removed.”
WHY IT’S OCCURRING NOW
With inflation rising – up 4.2% from April 2020 to April 2021 – expect to see a surge in downsizing...
A LOOK AHEAD ...
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