Some food manufacturers have found themselves in a dilemma for some time: higher costs for raw materials, logistics and energy would actually force them to increase prices. But customers (and retailers) neither want nor can pay higher prices. As a result, even more manufacturers than usual are resorting to hidden price increases by reducing the size of the packs – this practice has been dubbed “shrinkflation”.
But that’s not all the customer anger. In addition to shrinkflation, consumers are now increasingly having to deal with skimpflation. The term is a play on words from “skimp”, English for “to skimp” or “to save”, and inflation. It describes the phenomenon in which manufacturers save on expensive ingredients, so that the quality of the product decreases. And this practice seems to be on the rise: “In the last few months we have received more and more complaints about deteriorated food recipes,” explains , which regularly causes a stir with its publications of deceptive packages.
For example, there is the spread in which butter and rapeseed oil are replaced with water. There is the marzipan chocolate, which now contains less marzipan. And there are manufacturers who continue to use cheap palm oil instead of sunflower oil, even though the shortage that arose after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine has been overcome.
The consumer advice center is not aware of the extent to which skimpflation is used by manufacturers. The number of complaints is increasing, but is significantly below that of shrinkflation, consumer advocates explain. She suspects that the number of unreported cases is high because trickery with ingredients is even more difficult to detect than with packaging sizes.