By Nathalie Voit
Another less obvious side effect of the supply-chain crisis has consumers on edge: “shrinkflation,” or when companies reduce the size of consumer goods yet charge the same price.
According to a Morning Consult poll, roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) are worried about shrinkflation. In comparison, 54% of Americans have seen, heard, or are otherwise familiar with the term.
The phenomenon is particularly prevalent at grocery stores, where price increases on everyday staples have become the norm. According to the Morning Consult survey, most consumers are taking steps to counter shrinkflation.
A whopping 49% of respondents in the poll said they switched to a different food or beverage brand when faced with shrinkflation. A similar share (48%) said they chose to buy a generic product to avoid paying more for less. Thirty-three percent of respondents chose to buy bulk items instead of smaller packages. Another 30% of consumers stopped purchasing from specific brands altogether.
Other actions cited by consumers in the survey include researching alternatives not impacted by shrinkflation (18%) and returning a product (8%).
Just 19% of respondents chose not to change their behavior in response to shrinkflation.
The most obvious culprit? Snacks. More than any other category, Americans have noticed their favorite snacks decreasing in size while prices have either remained flat or gone up. Fifty-five percent of consumers have witnessed this type of inflation with their favorite snacks.
Other categories where respondents have noticed shrinking portion sizes include pantry items (cited by 40% of respondents), frozen foods (cited by 39%), meat (37%), and bread and pastries (31%).
One in four U.S. adults said they hadn’t observed these price pressures in any grocery category.
Overall, younger generational cohorts were less aware of shrinkflation than older adults, Morning Consult said.
The news comes as the costs for food at home are up 13.1% over the year in July, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report from the Department of Labor.