Food Companies Maintain Higher Prices While Providing Less Product — Is This Legal?
(TargetLiberty.org) – For years, consumers have complained about shrinking packages on store shelves. Companies have slowly reduced the amount that buyers receive all while paying more for the same products. Currently, the world is suffering a global inflation crisis. In the US, prices are higher than they’ve been in more than 40 years.
In May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported indicated Americans were paying 11.9% more for groceries than they were the year before. If consumers thought companies would stop the practice of reducing package size during the crisis, they are wrong.
The standard box of Honey Bunches of Oats is 14.5 ounces, at least that’s what consumers used to get when they bought the cereal. Cereal-maker Post is now reducing the size of the box to 12 ounces, which translates to about 2 fewer bowls per box — and it’s not just Post reducing the size of their packages.
Arm & Hammer laundry detergent used to contain 75 ounces per container, now families will only receive 67.5 ounces in each bottle. The beloved coffee brand Folgers has significantly reduced the amount in each container from 51 ounces to 43.7 ounces. The company has already faced lawsuits for allegedly lying about how many cups of coffee are in each container.
Restrooms aren’t safe from shrinkflation either. Angel Soft is reducing its toilet paper rolls from 425 sheets to 320 sheets. Charmin reduced its 2-ply rolls from 264 sheets to 244 sheets. Kleenex is now giving people 60 tissues instead of 65. Crest toothpaste tubes are being reduced from 4.1 ounces to 3.8.
NPR referred to the shrinking packages as the inflation consumers aren’t supposed to see. Companies across the world are making their packages smaller, oftentimes by adjusting them so slightly people don’t even notice. Take the Honey Bunches of Oats packaging, the box is only a little more narrow than it was before.
Former Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate, told NPR that shrinkflation usually “comes in waves.” He explained there’s a “tidal wave” right now because of inflation. One of the reasons he says companies shrink the packages is because consumers generally notice price increases but don’t always realize packages are smaller. He also said it’s unlikely manufacturers will make their packages larger when inflation ends.
“Upsizing is kind of rare,” Dworsky said.
Professor Hitendra Chaturvedi, who works at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, told the media outlet one troubling trend he has noticed is that some companies are seeing increased profits but still making packages smaller. He said “it smells like” the companies are “profiteering.”
Have you noticed smaller packages while you’re shopping? Tell us about it.
Copyright 2022, TargetLiberty.org