During the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden released a video criticizing food companies for “shrinkflation”. In the video, he accused companies of making products smaller while keeping prices the same, which he referred to as a “rip-off” and stated that the public is tired of being deceived. He 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.
In response to rising costs due to factors such as monetary policy in response to the pandemic and increased global energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, some companies are believed to be reducing product sizes and altering recipes to contain less expensive ingredients. This practice is 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.