Status: 25.09.2023, 05:09 a.m.
By: Nadja Austel
With the trick of "shrinkflation", manufacturers cleverly hide price increases. The majority of German consumers vote in favour of mandatory labelling.
Berlin – "Has there always been so little in it?" some people ask themselves when opening the bag of chips. At that moment, this is no longer so easy to verify, but the impression of suddenly getting less for the money paid is apparently not deceptive: Stiftung Warentest recently warned of hidden price increases – for example, of so-called "shrinkflation", i.e. less content in almost unchanged packaging, but at the same price. The term combines the English word "to shrink" with "inflation".
Again and again, customers of the consumer advice center report this practice. However, this is not illegal. In the September issue, Stiftung Warentest dealt with the problem and collected some tips for the population in discussions with consumer advocates. Caution should be exercised, for example, with references to a "new recipe" or "better quality", according to the website of the consumer advice center.
French supermarket chain labels "shrinkflation", is Edeka following suit?
Attention "shrinkflation": The deceptive packages hide less content at the same price. (Symbolic image) © IMAGO/Piero Nigro
Even with promotional packs, you should not access them directly and instead first calculate whether you are really making a bargain. Or fall for a deceptive package. It is therefore advisable to make a note of the price and filling quantity of the products that you regularly buy in the supermarket. And "shrinkflation" is far from uncommon. The consumer protection center Hamburg and Stiftung Warentest have no difficulty in presenting new "deceptive packages" every month. Some examples from the list of the consumer advice center that stood out in 2023:
|Product||Old content and price||New content and price||Effective price increase|
|Arla Kærgården||250 grams for 1.59 euros||200 grams for 1.59 euros||25 percent|
|Frosta Chives (TK)||90 grams for 0.99 euros||75 grams for 0.99 euros||20 percent|
|HiPP raspberry and apple with spelt semolina||190 grams for 1.35 euros||160 grams for 1.45 euros||27.5 percent|
|Listerine Total Care||600 millilitres for 4.45 euros||500 millilitres for 4.95 euros||33.5 percent|
|Source: Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg|
According to information from the German Press Agency (dpa), the French supermarket chain Carrefour recently announced that it would warn of hidden price increases with stickers on packages of coffee, chips, mayonnaise and iced tea: "Shrinkflation, the weight of this product has decreased, and the price of our supplier has risen," the stickers say.
German supermarkets could also follow suit: "We are increasingly noticing that the international brand industry in particular is doing everything it can to maximize its margins," the Edeka Group said, according to information from Lebensmittel Zeitung. This also includes shrinkflation. "We are also considering making our customers aware of the issue," the Edeka Group continues.
Price increases in supermarkets: 77 percent are in favor of mandatory labeling in Germany
With this action, Carrefour had anticipated a draft law with which the government would like to oblige industry in France to label such price increases. And in Germany, too, there are many proponents of mandatory labeling for "shrinkflation". In a survey, a large majority of consumers have spoken out in favour of indications of the perfidious deceptive packaging in the supermarket.
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In the representative sample in Germany, the opinion research institute Yougov surveyed 2360 people aged 18 and over, according to its own information. Of these, a full 77 percent of respondents voted in favor of corresponding information on the supermarket shelf. 13 percent rejected the labeling, ten percent did not provide any information. Among respondents aged 55 and over, approval of the label was highest at 87 percent. (NA/dpa)