'What a scam': Canadian shoppers frustrated by shrinkflation in grocery stores

Many Canadian consumers are frustrated as food weight drops while price tags rise.

Canadian consumers are expressing their frustration as inflation drives up grocery prices to the highest numbers since 1980.

While the price of food increases, observant consumers are quick to sound the alarm of shrinking package sizes — a term that has since been coined "shrinkflation."

Business experts define shrinkflation as a tactic companies use to reduce the weight of a product without increasing the cost, or swapping out ingredients for cheaper alternatives.

Companies figure shoppers are less likely to notice a change in a products net weight, one they often disguise with new, brightly-coloured labels.

A trend that has been sweeping social media platforms has seen users posting two photos of the same product, but with a visible size difference.

Twitter user Aaron Hoyland posted a photo of two boxes of Breton multi-grain crackers, which — as of Thursday afternoon — has garnered more than 630,000 views and sparked other users to post their evidence of shrinkflation.

Shrinkflation has also been spotted among household cleaning and personal hygiene products.

While this seems shady, it is not illegal as long as products are clearly labelled.

Experts recommend looking at the price per gram or millitre to compare prices to help consumers find the most affordable option.

Shrinkflation in Canada
Shrinkflation in Canada. Statistics Canada said that grocery prices were up 11.4 per cent from a year ago and 11 per cent from December, even as the country's annual inflation rate slowed to 5.9 per cent in January. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

According to a food report released in December, a Canadian family of four will spend around $1,066 more on groceries in 2023, with prices set to go up to 7 per cent from 2022.

"In 2023, it is expected that Canadians will continue to feel the effects of high food inflation, and food insecurity and affordability will also be a big issue with rising food prices," the Canada Food Price report indicated.

"Canadians will still need to be prepared to spend more in the coming year."

Watch: 'Unacceptable': High-priced chicken at a grocery store leaves Canadians reeling