The new trick of the food and household products multinationals, which maintain the same price of products but reduce the weight and volume of what they sell, has sparked debate and controversy within consumer associations.
In economic terms, this is called shrinking, a not-really-new practice in which companies reduce the quantity of their products so as not to raise prices (but still earn more), is widespread.
Consumer associations invite you to always carefully read the labels of what we buy.
The trick is very simple: the quantity of product or format is reduced so as to maintain the price to which consumers are accustomed, who necessarily pay more (since they receive less).
Among the various companies that have adopted this scheme – such as greenme.it sharing – there is also Nestlé with its snacks, whose hidden increases are between 12 and 25%. Read also: KitKat, Smarties, Lion: Nestlé “cheats” you with smaller packaging (but costs increased by up to 25%)
But this (global) trend – in fact not new – concerns many everyday products, including pasta (mainly abroad, especially in the United States), soaps, energy drinks, fruit juices, cookies, pet food and more.
Potentially any product can be affected by shrinkage, a perfectly legal but certainly unfair practice for consumers. Only the most attentive, in fact, will notice the changes, noticing a lower net weight of the product or a reduced packaging, all the others will not notice anything and will continue to buy without knowing that in reality they are paying more than usual .
Furthermore, producers, to make what they sell even more attractive, often associate the change in quantity with a change in packaging.
On Reddit, consumers around the world have been posting photos for some time that contain many real-life examples of this widespread practice.
Multinationals usually justify (disguised) price increases with higher production costs and more sustainable packaging solutions. And given the current situation, aggravated by the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict which caused the prices of energy and raw materials to explode, one can only expect the situation to worsen.
Downsizing could become the preferred ploy for companies right now to make ends meet.
How can we defend ourselves
As this practice is very common, as consumers we must be more careful than ever with what we buy, always reading the labels.
So let’s get used to evaluating the price per kilo or liter of each product and not only dwell on the final price, also comparing the brands with each other.
Whenever possible, it is also good to choose products in bulk.
It goes without saying that one should not even fall into the error of being influenced by beautiful packaging.