More air in that bag of chips? Fewer flakes in your cereal box? You’re not imagining it: “Shrinkflation,” a tactic used by industry to hide price increases, is back in vogue.
Facing the post-pandemic inflationary surge, partly fueled by bottlenecks in global supply and trouble finding workers, companies are under more pressure to deal with rising costs.
Consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, who has followed the phenomenon he calls downsizing for quarter of a century, says he has identified dozens of products in recent months that have seen sneaky price increases.
It’s definitely more insidious because shrinkage, at least for me, is less noticeable than a price increase,” Jonathan Khoo, 44, a software designer in Oregon, told AFP.
But “it’s the delay in finding out that you’ve been played” that makes the tactic “much worse” than a straightforward price hike, he said.
He found goods ranging from Charmin toilet paper rolls to Cheerios cereal, to Royal Canin canned cat food, where the size or weight has shrunk, but the price remains the same.
In September, food giant General Mills, maker of Cheerios, flagged the soaring costs for materials and labor to justify conventional price increases but also changes to “PPA” — price pack architecture — a technical term for the adjustment of size or quantities.
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