Saturday, April 27, 2024

Grocerant Guru’s Suggest that Consumers Going Grocery Shopping Beware


Today while inflation is top-of-mind for most consumers when they go grocery shopping.  It’s at the intersection of product price and packaging that Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® believes consumers should be reminded of the phrase Caveat Emptor.  

In short, caveat emptor is a Latin phrase that translates to "let the buyer beware." In the context of grocery shopping, it means that the buyer has the responsibility to inspect and research a product before purchasing it, as the seller may not be held liable for any issues with the product later.

It's essentially the opposite of "buyer beware" – the onus is on the customer to be informed.

Caveat emptor is a principle that's less common today than it used to be, especially with regards to consumer goods. Many countries and regions have laws in place that offer consumer protections and hold sellers more accountable for the quality and condition of their products.

Many consumers today are going to the grocery stores finding higher prices and smaller packaging. This practice of keeping prices the same but reducing the amount of product in the package is called "shrinkflation." Here are some ways consumers can be aware of shrinkflation:

·         Pay attention to unit pricing: Most grocery stores will show a price per unit (ounce, gram, etc.) on the shelf tag in smaller print below the headline price. This allows you to compare products directly and see which offers the most for your money.

·         Track package sizes of your favorite items: Become familiar with the weight or volume of the products you typically buy. If you notice a decrease in size but the price stays the same, you're likely a victim of shrinkflation.

·         Compare brands and sizes: Don't just grab your usual item on autopilot. Take a moment to compare different brands and sizes to see which offers the best value per unit.

·         Stay informed: There are resources online and even social media communities dedicated to tracking shrinkflation. A quick search for "shrinkflation" can turn up news articles and forums where consumers share their experiences.

By being aware of shrinkflation and using these tips, you can be a more informed shopper and get the most for your grocery budget. France had some new laws to help keep consumers aware of shrinking packaging size and equal or greater pricing of products.

Here are five reasons why the US might consider adopting regulations similar to France's on shrinking packaging (shrinkflation):

1.       Increased Transparency for Consumers: Just like the French law, US regulations could require clear labeling on products that have undergone size reduction without a price drop. This would allow consumers to make informed decisions about their purchases, comparing price per unit instead of just the headline price.

2.       Combatting Deceptive Practices: Shrinkflation can be seen as a deceptive practice, since the packaging size suggests a similar quantity of product. Regulations could help ensure that consumers aren't misled about how much they're getting for their money.

3.       Curbing Inflation's Hidden Costs: While companies may resort to shrinkflation to avoid raising prices explicitly, it still contributes to inflation by reducing the value consumers receive. Regulations could help mitigate this hidden aspect of inflation.

4.       Encouraging Fair Pricing: With clear information about size reduction, competition could be fairer. If consumers become more aware of shrinkflation, companies might be less likely to resort to it as a hidden price increase, potentially leading to more accurate pricing practices.

5.       Potential for Broader Action: The French example focuses on shrinkflation, but the article also mentions "cheapflation" (reducing quality without lowering price). US regulations could potentially address both issues, promoting transparency and fairer pricing practices.

Foodservice Solutions® team is here to help you drive top line sales and bottom-line profits. Are you looking a customer ahead? Visit for more information or contact: Remember success does leave clues and we just may the clue you need to propel your continued success.

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