Consumer associations are sounding the alarm bell for what they see as increasing skimpflation. This means manufacturers that reformulate recipes or change ingredients in order to save costs. The organizations say they see, for example, frozen vegetables containing a smaller percentage of the vegetable than before and more water instead, or margarine with a smaller percentage of fat and more water in the package. There are manufacturers that reduce the amount of olive oil in spreads and sauces, others reduce the percentage of alcohol in wine. Some of the changes are small but they all involve the reduction of key, and expensive, ingredients.
In many cases there is no information on packaging to indicate anything has changed. Foodwatch, a European-wide watchdog in the food sector, calls for more transparency from food manufacturers when they change the recipe or size of their products. Earlier, manufacturers were accused of shrinkflation, ‘quietly’ downsizing the content in the packaging while keeping the price the same or even increasing the price.