Do you ever get the feeling that things are getting smaller and prices are staying the same?
Well, you may just be right. Your chocolate might be smaller, less tea bags in the box, less fish fingers, smaller drink bottles and dare we say your fast food franchise hamburger might be smaller?
And those M&M’s you eat while watching a movie? You aren’t eating them faster – there are probably less of them!! Or maybe there is more chocolate and less nuts? Who really knows?
It is a common enough practise that there is a name for it, ‘shrinkflation’.
Where does it stop? Is toilet paper getting thinner or the rolls shorter? Is there more water being added to some products? Are ingredients being altered?
Shrinkflation is a by-product of manufacturers not wanting to increase prices and risk losing sales. A change in price is very noticeable. Other changes are not so. Cheaper ingredients, a change in the mix of ingredients, less volume or quantity (sometimes using the same packaging..) and goodness knows what other dodgy tactics.
Shrinkflation is not a new concept. It was the reason behind unit pricing, you know where it says a price per kilogram on the price tag. That is a good way to compare prices but it is hard to keep up with unit price changes for specific items. In fact, I can’t remember any unit prices apart from milk.
So is it illegal, unethical or just part of life? Someone recently said to me on another matter, ‘it is business’ I get that, but I don’t accept it. Business should still be ethical; we all have a responsibility to do the right thing. Especially in these trying times. Unemployment is high, people are homeless and having trouble finding rental properties; times are tough and shrinkflation is a form of trickery where there is only one winner.
While there is an element of grey area in shrinkflation, there is no grey in the matter of scales being incorrect or the incorrect weight being advertised on packaging, such as meat. These matters are black and white and should be reported to the national trade measurement helpline on 1300 686 664 or email@example.com.
What can we do as consumers? We need to keep them honest. How do you keep businesses honest in 2020? You setup a Facebook page and people share information on it. That is how. So I did it. Check it out here and post your pics and videos. www.facebook.com/shrinkflationaustralia
It is time for businesses to do the right thing or to get called out and suffer the consequences of losing their valuable market share. Do the right thing. It isn’t just business!