The Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) is advising grocery shoppers to look out for hidden price increases caused by reductions in the amount of product in pre-packaged items.
This is a media release from Queensland Consumers Association. It was originally published on 10th April, 2022.
Unless the selling price is also reduced proportionally, package downsizing means that consumers pay more for a given amount of product.
Often packs are downsized but the selling price remains unchanged, so consumers pay the same for less product, and there is a hidden price increase.
There is also a hidden price increase if the content is downsized and the selling price is increased.
For example, recently at one major supermarket the selling price of a large pack of popular brand of breakfast cereal increased by 12% but the contents shrank by 5%, so the price per 100g (the unit price) increased by 17%.
QCA spokesperson, Ian Jarratt OAM, says package content downsizing (sometimes called “shrinkflation”) usually occurs most when, as now, manufacturers face rising costs and know that most shoppers are more sensitive to higher selling prices than reductions in the amount in packages.
Due to increased raw material and other costs, downsizing of packaged grocery products is now becoming more common in the USA, and this is likely to also happen in Australia.
QCA says Australian grocery prices are increasing rapidly, so consumers need to be on the lookout for package downsizing and hidden price increases and can best do so by checking:
- the quantity of product in pre-packaged items (which is always shown on the package and also very often on shelf labels and internet selling sites); and
- the price per unit of measure (the unit price) of packaged grocery products that large supermarkets must provide on shelf labels and some online grocery retailers must provide on their websites.
Unit pricing is a simple but very effective tool for grocery shoppers interested in getting value for money. It’s the value-conscious grocery shopper’s best friend.
For more information about, and copies of, the QCA’s newsletter contact Ian Jarratt at email@example.com.
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