Report: ‘Shrinkflation’ Top of Mind for Consumers

man in gray crew neck t-shirt wearing black, shrinkflation, sunglasses

Shrinkflation is hitting Americans – hard.

Almost three out of four consumers are concerned about the trend of shrinkflation – when companies keep their prices the same, yet give customers less of their products – according to a new YouGov poll. According to the poll, 73% of consumers are concerned about package downsizing with snack foods such as chips and sweets being the areas where most people are noticing this trend.

According to report by Supermarket News, 52% of consumers noticed package downsizing in the category, followed by dry goods at 46%, paper goods at 35% and cleaning products at 34%.

Consumers are also noticing shrinkflation in bread and bakery products, ready-to-cook products, fresh produce, and pet foods.

How exactly are consumers coping? Almost half of respondents said they’re likely to switch to generic products over name-brand versions, or switch to a different brand. Buying large quantities at one time is another solution. Nearly two-fifths of 18-34-year-olds say they’re likely to purchase products in bulk.

Certain consumers may even stop purchasing some products. The older consumers are, the more likely they are to stop purchasing a certain product due to shrinkflation, according to the aforementioned article. Consumers aged 55 years and older are more likely than those 18-34 to stop purchasing a product altogether, according to Supermarket News.

“While shrinkflation may make sense to manufacturers looking to stay profitable amid rising inflation, as a consumer, I find it frustrating,” said Sherri Holzer, founder of Simply Sherri, a food strategist, cooking instructor, and an integrative nutrition coach.

“Many food manufacturers are quietly reducing portion sizes and adjusting nutrition labels, leaving consumers to realize they’ve been shortchanged only when their favorite cereal box suddenly empties sooner than usual,” she added.

So, how can manufacturers appeal to consumers amid shrinkflation?

“Instead of relying on consumer ignorance, food manufacturers should prioritize ‘fooducation,’” Holzer said. “By being transparent about changes to formulations and portion sizes, manufacturers can not only educate their consumers but also foster brand loyalty.

“After all, being penny-wise and pound foolish is cliche for a reason. Inflation rates will adjust over time, but retaining and growing a customer base who knows you’re committed to supporting their long-term wellbeing is invaluable,” she concluded.

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