During the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden released a video criticizing food companies for “shrinkflation.” In the video, he accused these companies of making products smaller while keeping prices the same. He referred to this as a “rip-off” and stated that the public is tired of being deceived. Biden highlighted examples of products that have been reduced in size without a reduction in price, including Gatorade, Breyers ice-cream, Tostitos and Doritos crisps, and Oreo cookies.
The Super Bowl is a highly anticipated event in the US and attracts a large audience, making it a prime advertising opportunity for companies. Despite declining a television interview typically conducted with the president before the game, Biden’s video would have made uncomfortable viewing for some of the biggest food companies, including PepsiCo, Mondelēz, and Unilever. Although Biden did not directly name any products or companies, his criticism was clear.
The US consumer price inflation index surged above 8% in 2022, with some economists attributing this rise to factors such as monetary policy in response to the pandemic, increased global energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and significant government spending. In response to rising costs, some companies are believed to be reducing product sizes and altering recipes to contain less expensive ingredients, a practice known as “skimpflation.”
PepsiCo, Mondelēz, and Unilever were approached for comment regarding Biden’s accusations of “shrinkflation,” but have not yet responded. It remains to be seen how these companies will address the issue and whether there will be any changes to their products in light of the president’s criticism.