Spanish consumer association files complaint about ‘shrinkflation’

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish consumer association

MADRID – In the context of rising prices, many supermarkets are using a new technique that the Spanish consumer association OCU has already warned about: ‘shrinkflation’. They sell less for the same price. 

You may have already noticed: the food packaging for your dogs is suddenly smaller, but the price is still the same as before; The packaging is the same, but it contains a fraction less net weight, Or the can of soda you buy is suddenly slightly smaller. For example, the products do not appear more expensive, but the price increases are simply masked. 

Complaints filed

For this reason, the OCU has already filed a complaint about the brands Pastas Gallo, Danone, Pescanova, Colacao, Tulipán, and Campofrío because they sell less for the same price, thus actually increasing prices. These are the first companies and the consumer organisation does not rule out expanding the complaint to more products and companies. It is an unfair practice that changes competition and penalises manufacturers who increase their prices. 

See also: Spaniard buys less but pays more in the supermarket 

Consumer price index

The OECD estimates that prices in Spain will be on average 8.1% higher in 2022 than a year ago. That is five points more than previously predicted. It is a figure comparable to that of the Consumer Price Index in May (8.5%). That was a slight drop after March’s record 9.8% inflation rate, according to the latest data from the INE. 

Cogesa Expats

The latest research on prices in OCU supermarkets already showed examples of products that do not increase in price, but in reality, they do. The same amount will be charged for a smaller quantity of the product. Several well-known brands have already resorted to the tactic of maintaining the price at the expense of the quantity in the package. 

See also: Huge price increase at Mercadona for some products 

Reliable comparison

OCU now advises consumers not to pay attention to and rely solely on claims such as “offer”, “special promotion” and “discount” when shopping. They should especially look at the contents displayed on the packaging. Or better yet, instead of comparing the price per product or packaging, the price per unit of measure (kilo, 100 grams, liter, etc.): only then will you know what the real cheapest option is. Mentioning the price per unit of measure is a legal obligation for supermarkets. Consumers must be able to make a reliable comparison between the different products they can choose from. 

Join the #Stopreduflacion campaign 

OCU launches the #stopreduflation campaign for consumers. In this context, they can report cases of contraction inflation and hidden price increases. In this way, consumers can collectively denounce those who raise prices in a non-transparent way. 

See also: Sneaky trick from Spanish supermarkets to make you pay more 

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