Due to record-high inflation, many people have experienced sticker shock at the grocery shop.
But “shrinkflation,” another surprise, is catching people’s attention and even trending on TikTok.
A new survey from Morning Consult found that 64% of all Americans are concerned about shrinkflation and that 54% have seen, heard, or read about the phenomena.
“Getting less for the same price” is shrinkflation.
When the weight, size, or quantity of consumer goods decreases while their costs remain the same or even go up, this phenomenon is known as shrinkflation.
In the middle of historically high inflation, consumers have been citing incidents of shrinkflation for months. According to Emily Moquin, a food and beverage analyst at Morning Consult, the idea is starting to catch on now that businesses must contend with rising petrol and ingredient costs as well as supply chain limitations.
According to Moquin, customers are more susceptible to shrinkflation as a result of the consumers’ heightened level of alertness due to rising costs.
“When you notice that the package is smaller or you’re getting less for the same price, it’s especially frustrating,” Moquin said.
According to Edgar Dworsky, the creator and editor of Consumer World, although shrinkflation is currently receiving a lot of attention, this type of downsizing has been occurring for decades.
“We’re in the middle of a tidal wave of inflation, unfortunately, and so we’re seeing more and more items that are shrinking,” Dworsky said.
What the public is saying about shrinkflation
According to a survey by Morning Consult, the top product categories where customers are witnessing shrinkflation are snacks, pantry items, frozen meals, meat, and bread and pastries.
As a result, 49% of consumers claim to have bought a different brand, 48% claim to have chosen a generic brand over a name brand, and 33% claim to have opted to purchase in bulk as opposed to individual servings. Some consumers have stopped buying specific brands completely, looked into substitutes that are not affected by shrinkflation, or returned a “shrunken” item.
Only 19% of individuals who detected shrinkflation did nothing, according to a study by Morning Consult.
According to Dworsky, due of the various ways in which things are altered, it can occasionally be challenging to detect shrinkflation.
For instance, when viewed from the side, a cereal box may appear to be the same size but slimmer. After the manufacturer makes an indentation in the bottom of the container, the weight of a jar of peanut butter may decrease from 18 to 16.3 ounces.
What steps can you take to avoid shrinkflation?
Dworsky predicts that the effects of shrinkflation will sadly probably persist even after inflation and supply chain problems have subsided.
“It’s very rare to see a product revert to its former larger size,” he said.
At least for the time being, it’s up to the customers to carefully examine the items displayed in stores.
“It’s really up to shoppers to become more net-weight conscious,” Dworsky said. He suggested that people pay attention to the net count indicator when it comes to paper items.
When you return to the store to make another purchase, you will be better able to detect any changes.
If you want to try to avoid falling victim to shrinkflation, you can seek to competitive or generic brands, as respondents to the Morning Consult study claim they have done.
Dworsky added that you can also complain to the manufacturer. That might get you some coupons for your subsequent purchase, he said, though it probably won’t be enough to stop shrinkflation.