ShrinkflationFebruary 18, 2023
Shrinkflation, also known as the grocery shrink ray, is the practice of reducing the weight or size of an item without lowering its price. The practise is often used as an alternative to raising prices during times of inflation. We get less volume but pay the same and thus the general price per unit of weight increases. Generally the reduction in pack size is made sufficiently small as not to be immediately obvious to regular consumers while the unchanged price means they’re are not alerted to the higher unit or volume price. One of the reasons why companies prefer shrinkflation over regular price increases is because people have an unconscious bias that favours a reduction in pack size over higher prices. To add to this sentiment corporate bodies deflect attention from product shrinkage with “less is more” messaging, for example by claiming health benefits of smaller portions or environmental benefits of less packaging.
Much less, or no attention, is given to the fact that increased height also results in inflation. As we get taller, products get smaller in comparison. In the 20th century average global height has increased as much as 10%. We’ve already been shrinkflating for a quite while.