Shrinkflation: Garden Peas

Have you noticed a recent change to the package size of a product you regularly purchase? Be careful, you could be the unwitting victim of shrinkflation.

Shrinkflation is a subtle technique used by some manufacturers to boost profit margins on their products without attracting the attention of their customers. Typically, a manufacturer will decrease the package size of a product whilst keeping the price at a similar level. The result is that the price-per-unit-mass increases, but customers generally fail to notice this because the product doesn’t look like it’s changed.

Recently, we noticed that a well known manufacturer of frozen vegetables reduced the mass of several of its products from 1kg to 750g. At the same time, the price was also reduced. To a customer, this might look like a good deal. Sure, the package size may be a bit smaller, but the price has also gone down.

A plot showing how the price of a bag of frozen garden changed when the size of the packet was reduced.

But when we look at how the price per kg for this product has changed, the shrinkflation becomes evident.

A plot showing how the price/kg of a bag of frozen garden increased when the size of the packet was reduced.

The price per kg has increased by a whopping 22%! There aren’t many consumers who would swallow that kind of increase when there are so many other brands to choose from. No wonder then, that this manufacturer used this stealthy tactic to increase its profit margins.

If you’ve noticed shrinkflation on a product you purchased (or almost purchased) recently, then give us a shout on Twitter. We’d love to take a closer look.

Matt Dennis
Matt Dennis
Data Scientist

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