Green Asia

Commentary: In a time of shrinkflation, how will consumers’ elasticity of forgiveness hold up?

SINGAPORE: Have you noticed food portions becoming smaller when dining out? Or that your bag of chips has fewer crisps despite remaining at the same price?

Shrinkflation, where brands reduce product sizes while keeping prices the same, has become the not-so-secret weapon in the battle against rising costs. The practice is certainly not new, but it’s becoming more apparent. Enter the concept of “elasticity of forgiveness” – a fancy way of asking, “Hey, brands, how much can we take before we walk away?”

Carrefour in France has taken a bold stand, putting up posters and labels on items from soft drinks to chocolate and infant formula to warn consumers about shrinkflation. The aim in highlighting those products, Carrefour’s director of client communications was reported as saying, was to get manufacturers to rethink their pricing policy.

Across the Channel, consumers in the United Kingdom have also noticed differences in their products, with the volume of alcohol in some beverages dropping to 41.3 per cent from 43.1 per cent, bagels sporting larger holes, smaller soap bars and more.

Shrinkflation challenges the delicate balance between businesses’ pursuit of profit margins and meeting the expectations of their customer base. The crux of the matter lies in understanding how much consumers are willing to forgive or overlook these adjustments.

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