Super Bowl Sunday Snack Attack? Biden Tells Companies to End "Shrinkflation" Trickery
By April Fowell
U.S. President Joe Biden condemned shrinkflation, urging snack companies to cease the practice of reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, branding it as "a rip-off." He emphasized consumer frustration with such tactics and called for businesses to uphold consumer trust.
Although Biden did not propose specific measures, various brands, including Gatorade, Doritos, Breyers, and Tostitos, were featured in the video. David Chavern, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, responded, expressing readiness to collaborate on solutions benefiting consumers, while also suggesting that the President's focus deflects attention from ongoing inflation issues.
Senator Bob Casey's investigation into shrinkflation follows a study released in December, which highlighted the impact of smaller product sizes on various items, including toilet paper and snacks like Oreos and Doritos. Despite inquiries, significant trade groups did not take responsibility for pricing practices, prompting concerns about transparency.
U.S. President Joe Biden urged snack companies to halt shrinkflation, the practice of reducing product sizes while maintaining prices, labeling it as "a rip-off."
In a video shared on X, previously known as Twitter, ahead of Super Bowl LVIII, Biden criticized companies for attempting to deceive consumers by gradually shrinking products. He emphasized the public's frustration with such tactics, urging businesses to cease this practice and uphold consumer trust.
Biden did not propose any specific measures to tackle the issue, and he did not mention any companies by name. However, various brands, such as Gatorade, Doritos, Breyers, and Tostitos, were featured in the video. David Chavern, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, responded, stating that the President's focus on this matter deflects attention from the ongoing inflation during his administration. Chavern expressed the association's willingness to collaborate with Biden on implementing effective solutions that genuinely benefit consumers.
Senator Bob Casey stated that he was investigating the extent of these activities and holding businesses responsible after releasing a study in December that illustrated the effects of lower product sizes on everything from toilet paper to Oreos.
The Impact on Consumer Goods
According to the research, the cost of home paper goods increased by 34.9% per unit compared to January 2019; about 10.3% of this rise was attributed to companies reducing the size of rolls and packages.
It stated that within the same time period, the cost of snacks like Oreos and Doritos had increased by 26.4%, with 9.8% of the rise being attributed to smaller servings.
Four significant trade groups replied to Casey's letters, according to a representative for the company, but none "took responsibility for price-gouging or answered his questions regarding pricing and transparency."
According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last month, even though inflation looks to be reducing, 22% of respondents identified the economy as their top concern overall. This is because Americans have suffered with inflation and other COVID-19 pandemic consequences.
Since assuming office, Biden has advocated for reduced grocery prices, pressured pharmaceutical companies to drop insulin costs, pushed hotel chains to slash fees, and attempted to diversify the meat-packing sector in response to the sharp increase in cattle prices during the epidemic.