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Inflation in Poland. Downsizing and shrinkflation in Polish stores, writes about the phenomenon “Financial Times”

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Everyday shopping has become a real challenge for Poles, writes the British daily “Financial Times”. You have to pay attention not only to rising prices, but also to the grammage and composition of products. These may surprise you.

“Financial Times” vividly describes that for a trip to a Polish supermarket you need to pack not only a wealthy wallet, but also a magnifying glass. It can be indispensable when reading the fine print on labels that contain information about the grammage and composition of products.

In the article, the British daily published a list of photos of products available in Polish stores: popular cheese, pasta, instant tea. At first glance, the groceries look the same, but the difference between them is significant. There is less product in the packaging, and the content of valuable nutrients has also decreased in some of them.

A practice known for centuries

Such a phenomenon in the world, however, is nothing new and has long been defined by economists in English as “downsizing” (reduction) or “shrinkflacja” (a pun – “shrink”, i.e. inflation). This is one of the centuries-old practices of producers who, in the era of rising production costs, reduce the content of the product in the packaging or change its composition while leaving the price level at the current level.

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“Financial Times” gives even more examples of this phenomenon in Poland. There are already eight, not ten, tissues in the packages. Popular chocolate boxes contain only 340 g of sweets, and in December it was 360 g. The article reminded that inflation in Poland is twice as high as in other countries euro area and it was almost 17% according to the last reading. on an annual basis.

The “downsizing” itself does not escape the attention of the Polish statistical office. As “FT” explained, in his estimates he takes into account the weight of the product, not just the price from the packaging. Manufacturers are not discouraged by this, however, because the practices that officials focus on often remain unconscious to customers.

In an interview with “Financial Times”, economist Rafał Mundry emphasized that “downsizing” is “one of the faces of inflation, which is often overlooked by consumers”. As he added, the scale of this phenomenon on the Vistula River surprised him. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

Entrepreneurs defend themselves by talking about draconian increases in production costs, which have often increased by as much as 40 percent. per year.

The phenomenon is more difficult to see

However, this is not the end of unpleasant news for consumers. Another way to look for percentage savings is to use cheaper and not necessarily more valuable ingredients. This phenomenon is much more difficult for both consumers and statisticians to notice.

As described by Rafał Mundry, there is more palm oil in the butter he buys, and less fluoride in the mouthwash. Glucose syrup replaced sugar in confectionery products. The economist emphasized that in each case the change was so subtle that it could only be seen when the label was compared with the older counterpart.

– It surprises me a lot. Unfortunately, we can’t really talk about improving quality here. Sometimes substitutes turn out to be even more harmful to our health – he pointed out.

Main photo source: Buttonholes / Shutterstock.com

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