Speaking at Food Manufacture’s Business Leaders’ Forum in London on January 23, Black said shrinkflation, or selling a reduced-size product for the same price as its former size, should be “last resort territory”.
He urged manufacturers to consider if they were doing everything they could to add value to the product before considering shrinkflation in order to preserve their brand’s integrity.
“Particularly for proprietary brand managers, one has to ask: is shrinkflation also an admittance of a lack of innovation, a lack of capability to add value to a product and keep it relevant in consumers’ minds?”
He cautioned that shoppers were too shrewd to forgive shrinkflation. “It assumes the people you ultimately want to sell products to don’t have a sense of touch and don’t have eyes and in that respect the damage shrinkflation leads to needs to be carefully considered.
“Consumers are savvy today … they are informed much more quickly and more broadly than in the past, so the days of sneaking through a product size reduction have gone.”
Black also warned the industry that shoppers were also aware of tactics such as clever marketing of increased pack sizes and prices after a period of shrinkflation.
“Consumers and shoppers will be alive to the fact that the next phase of shrinkflation which is when manufacturers say: ‘the new larger-size …’, which is the natural cycle of those events.”
- The Food Manufacture Group’s Business Leaders’ Forum was held at the London office of host sponsor, law firm DWF on January 23 and was also sponsored by food surplus redistribution firm Company Shop.