If you want to save in the supermarket, you have to act strategically. But inflation drives up prices. To make matters worse, consumers also have to put up with what is known as “shrinkflation”. FOCUS online explains why consumers often spend more on groceries – without really realizing it – and why the “e” on the pack is so important.

In order to conceal price increases, more and more manufacturers are reducing the size of their product packaging.

If you get your favorite products in the supermarket, you should pay more attention to the amount of content. Germany’s price champion and consumer expert from FOCUS online, Konstantinos Mitsis, says in an interview with moderator Carolin Blüchel: “The peak of shrinkflation is yet to come.” You can see the entire conversation here.

Food prices go up and up. Inflation eased slightly in November. However, consumer prices increased by a whopping ten percent compared to the same month last year, as the Federal Statistical Office announced in an initial estimate.

Increased raw material prices, higher energy costs or additional expenses for logistics as a result of the corona pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine are driving up supermarket shelf prices. The temptation for manufacturers and retailers is great to conceal the price adjustments.

When the pack shrinks, it is hardly noticeable.

But if prices go up, consumers run into storms. This is one of the reasons why prices remain unchanged, but the content is simply reduced. “Shrinkflation” is the name of this industry measure, which is a combination of the English word for shrink and inflation.

“This shrinkage is currently noticeable in the ice cream range. Instead of five waffle cones, there are now four or even three in the pack. The price has remained the same,” emphasizes the FOCUS online expert. Because the appearance of the pack hasn’t changed much, consumers don’t even notice the shrinkage.

There are other examples of such “shrinkage cures” throughout the supermarket.

A few months ago, confectionery giant Haribo, for example, reduced the size of the packaging bags for its popular “Goldbären” from 200 to 175 grams. The recommended price of 0.99 cents remained the same – despite 12.5 percent less content.

“As a company, we have been confronted with extraordinarily rising costs for high-quality ingredients since the beginning of the year, but also for foils, packaging materials, cardboard boxes as well as energy and logistics in the high double-digit range,” said Haribo, explaining the step at the time. The company is adjusting packaging sizes and price to remain affordable.

In many cases, toilet paper has become almost a meter shorter. At the same time, the price rose by an inconspicuous 5 percent.

Manufacturers can also save content with the mysterious “e”, which is printed on all packs next to the gram or liter specification. Complaints to the consumer protection centers have increased since the beginning of the year.

The “e” is based on an EU directive and was introduced in 1976. It is the industry’s official appraisal mark. Behind the “e” hides the French term “quantité estimée” (estimated amount).

If one liter is specified as the quantity in a milk carton, this “e” gives the manufacturer some space. There can always be deviations in production. “There are tolerance limits, but these are being pushed to the limit by the industry,” says a trade expert who wishes to remain anonymous.

As FOCUS online reported, that can make up about a load of washing powder for washing powder. With a kilogram pack of coffee, even a portion of the caffeinated drink.

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Everyone feels the high inflation in their wallets. Everyday goods have also become very expensive in recent months. In this e-paper we give you tips that pay off immediately in hard cash: be it because you adjust your consumption behavior here and there – or use clever helpers such as apps to save.

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