In a significant move against deceptive consumer practices, France's Minister Bruno Le Maire announced in the French news programme that manufacturers will be legally obligated to notify consumers of any reduction in product content while retaining or increasing the price.
The announcement comes after a rigorous campaign spearheaded by foodwatch France. The petition launched last year against shrinkflation amassed support from nearly 50,000 signers.
Shrinkflation, often deemed a "hidden inflation", involves discreetly reducing the size of a product while increasing or maintaining its price. According to a survey conducted by foodwatch in September 2022, brands could net significant profits through a 10-20% reduction in product size, with price increments sometimes reaching a staggering 37% per litre or kilo. Brands like Kiri, St Hubert, Saint Louis, Salvetat, Lindt, Teisseire, Uncle Ben's, and Carrefour were cited by foodwatch for their lack of transparency in these practices.
This was clearly hidden inflation, a scandalous practice we've been denouncing for years. Despite the evident misuse, no brand or retailer agreed to transparent communication. The mobilization of consumers, the media, and the authorities was essential.Campaigns manager at foodwatch France
June 2023 marked a pivotal point when the deputy Minister for Trade, Olivia Grégoire, hinted at a possible regulatory framework to address the issue. Today, Minister Le Maire unequivocally affirmed this stance. Highlighting the subtle reductions in products like Kiri, he said, "When I see a Kiri, for example, that used to weigh 15 grams, it ends up weighing 14 grams. The packaging remains the same, and so does the price, or sometimes it even increases."
The foodwatch petition demands:
- Front-of-product information indicating quantity changes
- Clear, legible details
- Transparent information on online sales platforms
- A minimum display period of 3 months to ensure easy identification of changes
Concluding his announcement on France 2, Minister Le Maire stated, "Stop the scams," echoing the sentiments of foodwatch and its vast base of supporters. foodwatch France will now closely monitor the enactment and implementation of these regulations to ensure transparency and fairness in the market.