Sustainability has been THE trend in packaging for years and shows no sign of slowing, in fact, quite the opposite.
However, there’s a time when one of the avenues to make packaging more sustainable, reducing the amount of packaging, is used to improve shrinking profit margins.
Known as “shrinkflation”, it's especially onerous during periods of inflation when brands adjust product net weight and packaging to avoid raising product prices.
At best, these tactics are confounding. At worse, they border on deceptive.
Packaging Digest first reported on this strategy in April 2022, but we felt it was time to revisit shrinkflation, this time with real-life examples.
We’ve collected 13 examples in this compilation from X, formerly known as Twitter.
This guy is not snickering about the change.
Enough is enough, but please, not Girl Scout Cookies, too!?
Caution: this is a graphic example of shrinkflation.
Shrinkflation is a global phenomenon. My impression is that Europeans seem to complain the most, though perhaps they simply have more to complain about.
Does two less really make a difference? Apparently the answer is Yes.
Shrinkflation comes in many different guises, such as smaller cups at the same price.
Some retailers like Carrefour are fighting back by calling it out, bravo!
Introducing special and limited editions are notorious tactics for shrinkflation.
So, which is it? It's possible the brand is using current packaging inventories before it switches to a shrinkflation-driven “right-sized” smaller pac, but still, c'mon.
Beware of the popular subcategory, “skimpflation.” I've noticed much more products arriving with lack of tight quality control, for example scorch marks on snack chips. In fact, we've switched tortilla chip brands as a result.
It crosses all CPG product categories and is nothing to sneeze at.
We've noticed "sleeker" ceral boxes, too: Thinner is not "in" when it comes to value.