In a video message marking the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden criticized major food companies and accused them of implementing “shrinkflation” – reducing product sizes while keeping prices the same. Biden’s remarks targeted companies like PepsiCo, Mondelēz, and Unilever, and he specifically highlighted products like Gatorade, Doritos, Tostitos, and Oreo cookies for downsizing. The president emphasized that Americans are tired of being taken advantage of by big brands and urged companies to be more transparent with their pricing and product sizes.
Biden’s criticism comes at a time when the US is grappling with rising inflation, which reached over 8% in 2022 but dropped to 3.1% in December. Economists believe that factors such as monetary policy stimulus, global energy price increases due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and increased government spending have contributed to inflation. Additionally, companies implementing shrinkflation and changing product recipes to reduce expensive ingredients as a response to rising costs have also been linked to inflation. The president’s message, posted on the official presidential account, turned the spotlight on the contentious issue of product size reductions and pricing strategies adopted by food companies, prompting a potential disruption in consumer marketing tactics and practices.
While the Super Bowl is a massive advertising platform for companies, Biden’s criticism may have prompted discomfort among industry leaders. The president’s direct challenge to food companies reflects the government’s awareness of consumer concerns over rising prices and product sizes, signaling a potential call for regulatory changes and oversight to address the contentious practice of shrinkflation and skimpflation in the food industry.