French Government Asks Retailers to Notify Customers of 'Shrinkflation'

The nation's finance minister called the practice a "scam."

I Stock 1459111600 Thamjamrassri

PARIS (AP) — The French government announced a new rule on Friday that will require stores to tell customers when a product becomes smaller but its price stays the same or increases, a practice known as shrinkflation.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced the measure to tackle the common but often criticized method that has become an international buzzword. He said that from July 1, such cases will need to be clearly communicated to shoppers.

Le Maire called shrinkflation a "scam" and stressed the importance of transparency. "Consumers must understand the real price evolution of products when their sizes change," he said in a statement.

Retailers at medium to large supermarkets will have to display specific information about the price per unit and any changes in quantity next to the affected products. It must be visible as signs on store shelves for two months following any changes to a product. This requirement applies to a wide range of goods, including food and household items. The Finance Ministry said there would be exceptions for unpackaged food items and bulk goods.

The French government is highlighting the new rule's consumer protection aspect. Consumers who notice pricing discrepancies are now encouraged to report them through France's SignalConso website or app.

Consumer watchdogs welcomed the new rule.

"This is great news, as shrinkflation is shifty and misleading because it is done behind the customer's back. It's high time to act, as we have less money and prices are rising," said Camille Dorioz, Campaign Director at Foodwatch France.

"It's perhaps very French that the government is stepping in to help the consumer. It's a French way not to let the markets rule on this problem," he added, saying that France is simply reinforcing a European law that forbids misleading packaging and products.

Dorioz said that most shoppers don't notice when a product they buy is 2 grams less, but "over time, it soon adds up, and when people are alerted to it, they understandably get angry."

More in Packaging