Due to inflation, companies are looking to offset rising labor and material costs without scaring customers, and two options they found were hiking up prices or making their products smaller.
Many of these size changes are subtle, such as thinner toilet paper rolls, lighter bags, and smaller cans. This retail phenomenon, known as “shrinkage”, was already happening before the pandemic, but is expected to get worse due to pricier raw materials and packaging, as well as a shortage of manufacturing workers and truck drivers.
“Consumers check the price every time they buy, but they dont check the net weight. When the price of raw materials, like coffee beans or paper pulp goes up, manufacturers are faced with a choice: Do we raise the price knowing consumers will see it and grumble about it? Or do we give them a little less and accomplish the same thing? Often it’s easier to do the latter,” said Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate to The Washington Post.
In the case of the tissue segment, the exponential increase in the price of cellulose, the main raw material used in the manufacture of products such as toilet paper and kitchen towels, led some companies such as Kimberly-Clark and Essity to increase the prices of their consumer products business.