Business

Biden calls on snack companies to stop ‘shrinkflation,’ calling it ‘a rip-off’

President Joe Biden on Sunday called on snack companies to stop shrinkflation, which is when businesses cut product sizes but keep prices the same, describing the practice as “a rip-off.”

“Some companies are trying to pull a fast one by shrinking the products little by little and hoping you won’t notice,” Biden said in a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, ahead of Super Bowl LVIII.

“Give me a break. The American public is tired of being played for suckers. I’m calling on companies to put a stop to this. Let’s make sure businesses do the right thing now,” he said.

Biden, who offered no solutions or policies to address the practice, did not name any specific companies but several brands were shown in the video, including Gatorade, Doritos, Breyers and Tostitos.

“We appreciate that the President has to deflect attention away from inflation that has lingered during his administration,” said David Chavern, president and CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, in a statement.

Chavern added that the group would like to work with Biden on “real solutions that benefit consumers.”

President Biden said “gimme a break” in response to “shrinkflation.” Samuel Corum / Pool via CNP / SplashNews.com
Biden called on snack companies such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Mondelez and Campbell Soup, to stop shrinkflation. Corbis via Getty Images

PepsiCo, whose brands include Gatorade, Doritos and Tostitos, and Unilever, which makes Breyers ice cream, were not immediately available for comment outside normal business hours. Reuters could also not immediately reach Mondelez, maker of Oreos, and Campbell Soup, which owns Goldfish crackers.

Senator Bob Casey in December released a report that showed the impact of smaller product sizes on everything from toilet paper to Oreos.

The report noted that household paper products were 34.9% more expensive per unit than they were in January 2019, with about 10.3% of the increase due to producers shrinking the sizes of rolls and packages.

It said the price of snacks like Oreos and Doritos had gone up 26.4%. AFP via Getty Images

It said the price of snacks like Oreos and Doritos had gone up 26.4% over the same period, with shrinking portions accounting for 9.8% percent of the increase.

Although inflation appears to be slowing, the economy remains Americans’ overall top concern, cited by 22% of poll respondents, as they have struggled with inflation and other aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last month.

Since taking office, Biden has made a pitch for lower supermarket prices, pushed drug makers to lower insulin costs, hotel chains to reduce fees and tried to diversify the meat-packing industry after beef prices skyrocketed in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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