During the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden released a video criticizing food companies for “shrinkflation.” In the video, he accused companies of making products smaller while keeping prices the same, calling it a “rip-off” and stating that the public is tired of being deceived. He highlighted examples of products that have been reduced in size without a reduction in price, including Gatorade, Breyers ice-cream, Tostitos and Doritos crisps, and Oreo cookies.
While some economists attribute the rise in consumer price inflation index 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, others argue that companies are reducing product sizes and altering recipes to contain less expensive ingredients as a practice known as “skimpflation.”
The Super Bowl is a highly anticipated event in the US and attracts a large audience, making it a prime advertising opportunity for companies. Despite declining a television interview typically conducted with the president before the game, Biden’s video would have made uncomfortable viewing for some of the biggest food companies including PepsiCo, Mondelēz and Unilever. Although Biden did not directly name any products or companies his criticism was clear.
PepsiCo, Mondelēz and Unilever were approached for comment regarding Biden’s accusations of “shrinkflation,” but have not yet responded. It remains to be seen how these companies will address the issue and whether there will be any changes to their products in light of the president’s criticism.