During the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden released a video criticizing food companies for “shrinkflation.” In the video, he accused these companies of making products smaller while keeping prices the same, which he referred to as a “rip-off” and a deception towards the public. He highlighted several examples of products that have been reduced in size without any reduction in price, including Gatorade, Breyers ice-cream, Tostitos and Doritos crisps, and Oreo cookies.
The Super Bowl is an important advertising opportunity for companies, and many take advantage of this event to showcase their products. However, Biden’s video would have been uncomfortable viewing for some of the biggest food companies such as PepsiCo, Mondelēz, and Unilever. Although he did not directly name any products or companies in his criticism, his message was clear.
The rise in consumer price inflation index in 2022 saw it surge above 8%, with some economists attributing this increase to factors such as monetary policy in response to the pandemic, increased global energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and significant government spending. In response to rising costs, some companies are believed to be reducing product sizes and altering recipes to contain less expensive ingredients. This practice is known as “skimpflation.”