Shrinkflation is noticed at last. Sorry! By the US president, not in Pakistan
Biden calls on companies to put a stop to this unethical practice
LAHORE/WASHINGTON (Web Desk/Reuters) – Everyone must have noticed that the product size is getting smaller – be it spices, tea, biscuits or any other item – in Pakistan, but their prices are going up, or at least remain the same. So shrinkflation is being ignored because of weak market regulation as consumers become the ultimate victim amid a record-high inflation.
It is in addition to the government’s inability to enforce the official vegetable prices as well as the rates beef, mutton, chicken and milk, meaning that the cost of living crisis is worsening with each passing day.
At the same time, there was no decrease in fares after the government slashed the fuel prices, meaning no decrease in transportation costs, both for the people and the goods.
However, things are the same in some parts of the world as US President Joe Biden on Sunday called on snack companies to stop shrinkflation, which is when businesses cut product sizes but keep prices the same, describing the practice as "a rip-off."
"Some companies are trying to pull a fast one by shrinking the products little by little and hoping you won't notice," Biden said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"Give me a break. The American public is tired of being played for suckers. I'm calling on companies to put a stop to this. Let's make sure businesses do the right thing now," he said.
Biden, who offered no solutions or policies to address the practice, did not name any specific companies but several brands were shown in the video, including Gatorade, Doritos, Breyers and Tostitos.
"We appreciate that the President has to deflect attention away from inflation that has lingered during his administration," said David Chavern, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, in a statement. Chavern added that the group would like to work with Biden on "real solutions that benefit consumers."
PepsiCo whose brands include Gatorade, Doritos and Tostitos, and Unilever which makes Breyers ice cream, were not immediately available for comment outside normal business hours. Reuters could also not immediately reach Mondelez, maker of Oreos, and Campbell Soup which owns Goldfish crackers.
Senator Bob Casey, who released a report in December that showed the impact of smaller product sizes on everything from toilet paper to Oreos, told Reuters in a statement that he was working to how widespread such practices were and to hold companies accountable.
The report noted that household paper products were 34.9 per cent more expensive per unit than they were in January 2019, with about 10.3pc of the increase due to producers shrinking the sizes of rolls and packages.
It said the price of snacks like Oreos and Doritos had gone up 26.4pc over the same period, with shrinking portions accounting for 9.8pc of the increase.
A spokesperson for Casey said four major industry associations responded to his letters but none "took responsibility for price-gouging or answered his questions regarding pricing and transparency."
Although inflation appears to be slowing, the economy remains Americans' overall top concern, cited by 22pc of poll respondents, as they have struggled with inflation and other aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last month.
Since taking office, Biden has made a pitch for lower supermarket prices, pushed drug makers to lower insulin costs, hotel chains to reduce fees and tried to diversify the meat-packing industry after beef prices skyrocketed in the aftermath of the pandemic.