Nora Johnson – Are You Suffering from ‘Skimpflation’?

Shoppers, already struggling with rising prices and shrinking pack sizes, now also have to struggle with “skimpflation” – the quiet downgrading in specification of some products.

Crisps, cakes and biscuits are most noticeably “skimped”. But surely this is yet another effective way to help reduce the weight of our ever-expanding, overweight population? Certainly cheaper than those “wonder drug” injections. People could spend the money saved on healthier food or make it themselves, maybe even take a walk occasionally instead of ordering in!

Funnily enough, I actually calculated, based on a linear projection, that a tub of Cadburys Roses will be empty by 2030.Yes, except for the strawberry creams, unfortunately, and those ghastly wrapped toffees. But here’s hoping that mint Aero is not deemed STRUCTURALLY unsound…

I’ve certainly noticed the declining quality of the most expensive brands of toilet rolls. Not only getting thinner (two-ply to one-ply) but also getting narrower. Used to cover the entire width of a standard toilet-roll holder. Not anymore. A good half-inch gap either side now.

“Bring back Izal!” I hear you say. Heavens, no! Though good as tracing paper it was like using sandpaper!

Oh, a stack of loo rolls recently fell on me at the supermarket. I’m OK though. Just soft tissue damage…

In recent years, consumers have undeniably been increasingly grappling with two sneaky phenomena in the world of economics and retail: shrinkflation and skimpflation. These tactics, employed by companies to maintain their profit margins, have left many feeling shortchanged. But what can we expect next in this contentious battle between businesses and consumers?

Shrinkflation has become increasingly prevalent across various industries. From smaller cereal boxes to thinner chocolate bars, consumers are often getting less for their money without even realising it. While companies argue that this helps absorb rising production costs, critics view it as a deceitful way to boost profits at the expense of the unsuspecting shopper.

Skimpflation, however, takes a different approach. Instead of reducing the product’s physical size, skimpflation involves cutting corners on quality or features while maintaining the price tag. For instance, electronics may sport cheaper components or clothing might be made with lower-quality materials. This can lead to products that wear out faster or fail to deliver on promised functionality.

The question now: what’s next in this cat-and-mouse game between businesses and consumers? One possibility is increased consumer awareness and activism. As more people become savvy about these tactics, they may demand greater transparency and fairness from companies. This could prompt businesses to find more ethical ways to navigate economic challenges without resorting to shrinkflation or skimpflation.

Government regulations may also step in to protect consumers’ interests. Regulators could enforce stricter labelling requirements, ensuring that companies clearly disclose any reductions in product size or quality. Such measures would empower consumers to make informed choices and hold companies accountable for their practices.

Finally, the future of shrinkflation and skimpflation remains uncertain, but consumers are certainly becoming more informed and vigilant. As a result, businesses may need to rethink their strategies, finding innovative ways to maintain profitability without sacrificing consumer trust and satisfaction. Ultimately, the next chapter in this controversy may depend on how companies and regulators respond to the growing concerns of an increasingly informed and assertive consumer base.

Nora Johnson’s 12 critically acclaimed psychological suspense crime thrillers ( all available online including eBooks (€0.99; £0.99), Apple Books, audiobooks, paperbacks at Amazon etc. Profits to Cudeca cancer charity.    

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Written by

Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.