Skimpflation and shrinkflation: do you already know what they are?

skimpflation and shrinkfaltion harm the consumerWhether we know the terms or not, we live with skimpflation and shrinkflation every day. Although prices remain stable over time, there is a form of inflation that goes unnoticed and affects us all. The packaging of the products is becoming smaller, or it is the same size, but contains a smaller quantity. although we pay the same price for them. In other cases, they are of inferior quality, if we compare them with the same article from a while ago. Shrinkflation is the reduction in the weight or size of the packaged product while maintaining the same price. While skimpflation is the decrease in the quality of the product, although its cost is the same as it was when it was of better quality.

The consumer is the victim of skimpflation and shrinkflation

Skimpflation and shrinkflation have become fashionable, but they are deceptive practices that harm consumers. In some cases the manufacturer reduces the quality of the product, in others it reduces the size or weight. It can also happen that both things happen at the same time, although their prices remain stable. That is, we pay the same for less quantity and lower quality.

In this way, companies pass on the increase in prices they pay for raw materials to the consumer. They save on manufacturing processes that affect the quality of the product while reducing the quantity, saving materials, quantity of the product and the cost of packaging can also be reduced.

Between skimpflation and shrinkflation, which is more difficult for the customer to recognize? According to Joseph Balagtas, a professor at Purdue University in the United States, it is more difficult for the client to recognize skimpflation. When we take a product we can notice that the container is smaller or lighter. That is, it brings a smaller quantity, whether in liters or grams. Plus, it’s printed on the label.

However, in the case of a decrease in the quality of the ingredients, the consumer cannot perceive the lower quality until he uses it.

Other forms of inflation

Costs can also be reduced in a hidden way. In some sales locations, such as grocery stores, for example, it is common for customers to package their own purchases. This occurs because stores reduce the number of staff, which is deduced as a degradation in the service offered.

In restaurants, the number of wait staff is reduced, so service becomes slower. In hotels, cleaning service is carried out only if the client requests it. However, in all these cases, prices remain stable, we pay the same, but we receive lower quality of service.


Companies are sensitive to consumer opinion, so the implementation of skimpflation and shrinkflation can harm them. But, at the same time, they must somehow counteract the rise in costs. The increase in the prices of fuel, energy and logistics push them toward these “unfair behaviors” to cover their expenses.

Balagtas recommends consumers compare prices at the time of purchases. This way they can protect their savings potential. Due to competition, not all companies will participate in applying these measures, so there will always be, from companies loyal to their consumers, an offer for quality products of excellence.

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