Why your grocery shop might be bringing less home
They say less is more, but it seems there are some exceptions to that rule.
News that Sanitarium has reduced the size of value packs from 1.5 kilograms to 1.2 kilograms has sparked outrage online – especially since the Australian breakfast favourite hasn’t reduced the price.
But industry experts say 'shrinkflation' as it’s called, is increasingly common.
From Weet-Bix to Cadbury family blocks, Panadol and toilet paper – food manufacturers are reducing the size of their products, without bringing down the price.
Dr Jason Pallant, from Swinburne University, says it often happens suddenly and subtly.
“I think it's being a little bit sneaky. I think consumers don't really know that this is happening,” Dr Pallant said.
“You see things like putting more air in bags of chips or spacing out the chocolates in a chocolate bar.”
Mother-of-four Micah Webb says she has noticed her grocery shop doesn’t go as far as it used to, describing the ‘shrinkflation’ trend as deceitful.
“I've noticed it on the shelves with various different products, things like your ice-creams, your Weet-Bix – that used to be 1.5 kilos and aren't anymore – your Freddo fogs, your chocolate bars, Tiny Teddies – you know, they used to come in boxes of ten now they're eight," she said.
The food manufacturing industry blames rising production costs for the reduction in product sizes.
“We're seeing big increases in costs from energy, ingredients going up in price because of the drought, and because of the devaluation of the Australian dollar,” Tanya Bardon, CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council told A Current Affair.
“Businesses have been trying to absorb these costs, but it's gotten to a point where that's no longer possible (and) companies are needing to either increase the price of their products, or reduce the product size that they're making.”
But Dr Pallant believes one of the main reasons is that companies are trying to avoid increasing product prices at all cost.
“They've trained us to look for that price, they don't really want to increase that overall price because then we think it might not be better value," he said.
And he has some advice for consumers to help them get value for money.
“When you're buying any packaged goods, look for the price per volume – whether that's dollars per hundred grams or hundred mils, because that gives you the clearest and truest comparison of what you're getting for what you're paying," he said.
In a statement to A Current Affair, Sanitarium said “rising input cost pressures such as energy and transport have been impacting the Australian manufacturing sector for some time. The drought exacerbated these pressures, particularly in relation to the cost of wheat.
"Sanitarium remains committed to providing Australian families with affordable health foods.”
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