Anthony Davidson

Shrinkflation

Shrinkflation is back! A recent article showed examples of grocery items that have shrunk in size while their price remained the same or increased slightly. The question is whether consumers have been informed of these changes.

Package downsizing is a common way to keep prices down in an inflationary environment where consumers facing cost of living pressures. It works on the idea that changes in package size will not be immediately obvious to consumers. So the unchanged price does not alert consumers to the higher unit price. In marketing, this phenomenon is called the “just noticeable difference.”

These days marketers have an ethical obligation to inform consumers of changes in package or price. In the grocery sector, supermarkets and online retailers must comply with the Unit Pricing Code if they sell certain food-based grocery items. Unit pricing enables consumers to quickly compare products of different sizes and brands in order to work out which one offers the best value. 

But how do customers know that the package size has actually been reduced if it is no longer available? An ethical dilemma!

#marketing #consumerbehaviour #shrinkflation