A customer shops in a Kroger grocery store on July 15, 2022 in Houston.
Brandon Bells | beautiful pictures
Many consumers were left shocked at the sticker at the grocery store due to record-high inflation.
But another surprise is grabbing the attention of consumers – and even trending on TikTok – is “deflation.”
Nearly two-thirds, 64% of all adults worry about deflation, according to New survey from Morning Consultwhile 54% have seen, heard or read something about the phenomenon.
Deflation occurs when consumer products have a smaller weight, size or quantity while their prices remain the same or even increase.
Consumers have show examples of deflation over many months, in the context of record high inflation. The trend is now holding as companies face higher prices of gas and raw materials, as well as supply chain constraintsaccording to Emily Moquin, food and beverage analyst at Morning Consult.
Meanwhile, consumers are always on high alert when prices climb, making them more sensitive to deflation, according to Moquin.
“When you notice that the package is smaller or you’re getting less for the same price, it’s especially disappointing,” says Moquin.
According to Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of Consumer world.
“Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a tidal wave of inflation and so we’re seeing more and more commodities shrinking,” Dworsky said.
According to a Morning Consult poll, the top categories consumers are paying attention to include snacks, pantry, frozen foods, meats, breads and pastries.
In response, 49% of consumers say they have purchased another brand, while 48% say they choose a generic brand over a big-name brand, and 33% choose buy with big quality rather than smaller packages. Some shoppers have stopped buying certain brands altogether, researched alternatives unaffected by deflation, or returned a “shrunk” product.
Of those who saw inflation shrink, only 19% did not take any action, Morning Consult found.
Admittedly, spotting miniaturization can sometimes be difficult due to the subtle ways in which product changes are made, according to Dworsky.
For example, a cereal box might be the same size, but thinner when you see it from the side. A jar of peanut butter can go from 18 to 16.3 ounces, after the manufacturer places an indent in the bottom of the barrel.
Even if inflation and supply chain problems subside, the changes from deflation will unfortunately continue, according to Dworsky.
“It is very rare to see a product return to its previous larger size,” he said.
Currently, it is up to the consumer to pay attention to the products on the shelves.
“Shoppers are more conscious of their actual weight,” says Dworsky. When it comes to paper goods, net quantity is the yardstick that consumers should look at, he said.
That way, it will be easier for you to spot the change when you come back to buy the product again.
To avoid shrinking inflation, you can look to competing or generic brands, as respondents to a Morning Consult survey said they did.
Alternatively, you can complain to the manufacturer, says Dworsky. While that may not be enough to stave off miniaturization of inflation, it could earn you some coupons for your next purchase, he said.