With our heightened senses to a scam and keen interest in saving where we can in this current climate, a word has started to circulate – ‘Shrinkflation’.
It’s popped up in news articles and on social media. The Healthy Mummy saw Invest with Queenie on Tik Tok, explain Shrinkflation for the layman and it sparked our interest.
What is Shrinkflation?
So what exactly is Shrinkflation you may be asking? If we ask our trusted online encyclopedia Wikipedia:
“In economics, shrinkflation, also known as the grocery shrink ray or package downsizing, is the process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality, while their prices remain the same or increase. The word is a portmanteau of the words shrink and inflation…’
In other words, shrinkflation is when food suppliers cut costs by charging the normal amount for a product but reducing its quantity.
Shrinkflation allows companies to increase their operating margin and profitability by reducing costs whilst maintaining sales volume, and is often used as an alternative to raising prices in line with inflation. Consumer protection groups are critical of the practice.
So why is it happening?
Nine News online informs us that “rising production costs” are generally the primary cause of shrinkflation. Increases in the cost of ingredients or raw materials, energy commodities, and labor increase production costs and subsequently diminish producers’ profit margins.
Shrinking container size keep prices the same, but give customers a little less for their money. Shrinkflation is legal, as long as products are clearly labeled, and the business is not engaging in ‘unfair or deceptive practices.’ Although safe to say it feels a little sneaky none the less. This is a way companies are able to increase the price of their products without having to change the price tag.
The minor changes in the product sizes mean customers are less likely to notice the reduction, with packaging largely still looking the same, leading to customers paying more for what they get.
This certainly feels like inflation by stealth. It feels as though we are increasingly getting less bang for our buck at the supermarket as companies gradually downsize their products while keeping prices level. And at Healthy Mummy we already know that our grocery shops are up by at least 20% at the moment and we now add to the mix the fact that we are also getting less volume than before.
As reported by Nine News Maltesers fun-size bags used to contain 144g of the chocolate treat, but now have just 132g.
Similarly, a Weetbix value pack now just offers 1.2kg of the cereal, when it used to have 1.5kg.
A bag of Smiths chips now contains 170g instead of 200g.
A standard tube of Pringles used to contain 165g of the chips, but now holds just 134g.
There’s been even more shrinkage to blocks of Cadbury chocolate. A standard block was once 250g, before being reduced to 200g and then 180g.
Original Tim Tams have 11 biscuits in a pack, but some other new flavours — Chewy Caramel, Choc Mint, Double Coat — only have nine for the same price.
Price hikes are expected to get worse as global events continue to affect supply chains around the world.
When shopping for groceries, we need to be comparing the ‘price per 100 grams’ labels for fair comparisons to see what the best deals are.
Suddenly our grocery shops have gotten a lot more labour-intensive!!!