President Joe Biden wants snack food companies to end the practice of shrinkflation.
That is the term for when businesses reduce the size of a product without a complementary reduction in prices.
In a pre-Super Bowl video message posted to X Sunday (Feb. 11), Biden called on companies to end the practice, which he called 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,” he said. “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.”
The president’s comments follow a report issued late last year by Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., on shrinkflation, which noted that the cost of snacks like Doritos had risen 26.4% since January 2019, with shrinking portions accounting for 9.8% percent of the increase.
Retailers have targeted brands over the practice as well. French grocer Carrefour last year began adding signs informing consumers which brands are engaging in shrinkflation, letting them know that even as products have gotten smaller, their prices have gone up.
“Obviously, the aim in stigmatizing these products is to be able to tell manufacturers to rethink their pricing policy,” Stefen Bompais, Carrefour’s director of client communications, told Reuters.
Other grocers have expressed similar dissatisfaction with brands’ pricing, though without going the name-and-shame route. For example, Whole Foods Market, Amazon’s premium grocery retailer, last year asked suppliers to reduce their wholesale prices so that the chain could lower prices for consumers.
“We know our customers are weighing the impacts of inflationary pressure on their buying choices,” Alyssa Vescio, Whole Foods’ senior vice president of merchandising, center store, reportedly said during a meeting.
These efforts are happening as consumers remain cautious about their spending, even as the inflationary environment has eased.
The most recent data from the University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers showed that even though consumer sentiment is at its highest level in three years. However, as PYMNTS wrote “there’s at least some evidence of some caution in the mix, and that optimism may not translate into increased activity at merchants’ (online and offline) registers and checkouts.”
Even with the January boost, that report said, overall consumer sentiment still remains 7% below the historical average since 1978.