Why is shrinkflation happening? This pricing tactic is a pressing challenge confronting Australian cereal manufacturers at the moment. Shrinkflation, marked by reducing product sizes while either maintaining or increasing prices, has provoked skepticism among consumers. It is crucial for businesses to promptly address this issue to ensure their sustainability and prevent further criticism, safeguarding consumer trust. Neglecting to tackle shrinkflation could have adverse repercussions on brand reputation and long-term market viability.


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Missteps in pricing strategies and price architecture design by cereal manufacturers have likely led to the adoption of shrinkflation. Moreover, underlying issues likely contribute to shrinkflation’s prevalence. These encompass cost pressures, shifts in consumer behaviour, and competitive dynamics. Understanding these factors is crucial for devising effective solutions to tackle shrinkflation and ensure long-term sustainability in the industry.


In this article, we are going to discuss why is shrinkflation happening and its increasing prevalence as a pricing tactic, specifically in cereal manufacturers. First, we present the concept of shrinkflation and its impact on consumers and businesses. Then, we delve into the reasons behind the adoption of shrinkflation by cereal manufacturers, including cost pressures and competitive dynamics. We argue that shrinkflation may erode consumer trust and brand reputation over time.


At Taylor Wells, we believe that businesses need to address shrinkflation transparently and explore alternative pricing strategies to maintain long-term sustainability. By the end, you will know the significance of understanding and addressing the use of shrinkflation.



Why is Products Size Shrinkflation Happening for Cereal Manufacturers in Australia?


Shrinkflation, the practice of reducing product sizes while maintaining or increasing prices, presents a significant challenge for cereal manufacturers. Why is shrinkflation happening? There are several factors contributing to this trend.


Firstly, inflationary pressures play a significant role. As the cost of raw materials, production, and transportation rises, manufacturers are faced with the choice of either raising prices or reducing product sizes to maintain profit margins. Shrinkflation provides a subtle way to adjust prices without alarming consumers.


Secondly, economic instability can drive companies to adopt shrinkflation as a strategy to mitigate risks. Uncertainty in global markets can lead to fluctuating exchange rates and commodity prices, prompting businesses to seek cost-saving measures like reducing product sizes.


Additionally, changing consumer preferences and purchasing behaviours influence shrinkflation. With a growing emphasis on convenience and affordability, consumers may prioritise price over quantity, making them less likely to notice or protest subtle reductions in product size.


Moreover, intense competition within industries compels companies to find ways to remain competitive without significantly raising prices. Shrinkflation allows businesses to maintain competitiveness while subtly adjusting their pricing strategies.


Recent studies have highlighted a concerning trend concerning why shrinkflation is happening.


Several cereal products have decreased in size by up to 17%, accompanied by noticeable price increases. This tactic aims to offset rising production costs without alarming consumers. Shrinkflation presents both advantages and drawbacks. In the short term, shrinkflation enables businesses to maintain profit margins amid rising production costs.


For instance, a cereal manufacturer may reduce the size of cereal boxes while keeping prices unchanged to offset increased expenses. This tactic allows companies to avoid immediate price hikes, thereby minimising consumer backlash and maintaining competitiveness in the market.


The implications of shrinkflation extend beyond the cereal industry, impacting businesses across various sectors. Inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions contribute to the prevalence of shrinkflation, reflecting broader economic challenges. Failing to address shrinkflation can have far-reaching consequences, including diminished brand loyalty and decreased market share.


Shrinkflation can have long-term consequences that businesses must carefully consider.



Over time, consumers may perceive shrinkflation as deceptive or unfair, leading to a loss of trust in the brand. Moreover, repeated use of shrinkflation may damage brand reputation and loyalty, ultimately affecting sales and profitability. Therefore, while shrinkflation offers temporary relief from cost pressures, its sustainability as a long-term pricing strategy is questionable.


To mitigate the risks associated with shrinkflation, businesses should explore alternative pricing strategies. Value-based pricing or cost optimisation approaches may offer more sustainable solutions for maintaining profitability without compromising consumer trust.


It is essential for businesses to weigh the short-term benefits of shrinkflation against the potential long-term risks and consider alternative pricing strategies that align with their long-term objectives. By doing so, businesses can make informed decisions that ensure sustainable growth and maintain consumer trust in the competitive market landscape.


Why is Shrinkflation Happening? What are the Alternative Pricing Strategies?


Lessons gleaned from the experiences of cereal manufacturers offer valuable insights for businesses navigating similar pricing challenges. Transparent communication is paramount in maintaining consumer trust. Businesses must openly communicate changes in product sizes or prices to avoid alienating customers. Additionally, innovation in pricing strategies is essential. Companies can explore alternative pricing models that prioritise value delivery to consumers, ensuring long-term sustainability.


why is shrinkflation happening


Proactive measures are key to effectively managing shrinkflation and other pricing issues. Rather than reacting to market fluctuations, businesses should adopt a forward-thinking approach. This involves monitoring market trends and consumer preferences, allowing for timely adjustments to pricing strategies. By staying ahead of the curve, businesses can maintain competitiveness and preserve consumer trust in the face of evolving market dynamics.


Ultimately, addressing shrinkflation requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses transparent communication, innovative pricing strategies, and proactive measures. By learning from the experiences of cereal manufacturers, businesses can navigate pricing challenges effectively and ensure long-term viability in an increasingly competitive market landscape.


Redesigning or reoptimising price architecture is essential for businesses to adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer preferences. Here’s a step-by-step guide:


1. Analyse Current Pricing Strategies: Begin by assessing your current pricing strategies and their effectiveness. Evaluate pricing models, discounts, and promotions to identify areas for improvement. For example, analyse how pricing decisions have impacted sales and profitability in the past.


2. Identify Value Drivers: Identify the key value drivers that influence consumer purchasing decisions. These may include product quality, brand reputation, and unique features. Understanding what drives value for consumers allows you to align pricing strategies accordingly. For instance, a premium cereal brand may focus on highlighting its high-quality ingredients and nutritional benefits to justify higher prices.



3. Implement Value-Based Pricing: Adopt a value-based pricing approach that reflects the perceived value of your products or services to consumers. Set prices based on the benefits and value provided rather than solely on production costs. For instance, a cereal manufacturer may price its products higher if they offer additional health benefits or unique flavours that appeal to consumers.


4. Enhance Transparent Communication: Communicate pricing changes transparently to consumers to build trust and credibility. Provide clear explanations for any adjustments in product prices or sizes. For example, a cereal manufacturer may inform customers about changes in product sizes due to cost pressures or improvements in ingredients.


5. Diversify Product Offerings: Diversify your product offerings to cater to different consumer segments and preferences. Introduce new flavours, sizes, or packaging options to appeal to a broader audience. For instance, a cereal manufacturer may introduce gluten-free or organic options to target health-conscious consumers.


6. Optimise Distribution Channels: Optimise your distribution channels to reach target markets more effectively and efficiently. Evaluate the performance of traditional retail channels versus e-commerce platforms and consider alternative distribution models. For example, a cereal manufacturer may invest in online sales channels to reach tech-savvy consumers who prefer shopping online.



Why is Shrinkflation Happening? What are its Implications for Price Architecture?


Neglecting shrinkflation poses significant risks for businesses. Here’s why:


1. Loss of Consumer Trust: Ignoring shrinkflation can lead to decreased consumer trust. Consumers may feel deceived or misled when they discover changes in product sizes without corresponding explanations. For example, a cereal manufacturer that reduces box sizes without informing customers risks losing trust and loyalty.


2. Brand Reputation Damage: Neglecting shrinkflation can damage a brand’s reputation. Consumers may perceive the brand as unethical or dishonest, resulting in negative publicity and backlash on social media. For instance, a company that repeatedly uses shrinkflation tactics may face public scrutiny and reputational damage.


3. Long-term Financial Implications: Neglecting shrinkflation can have long-term financial implications. Loss of consumer trust and brand reputation damage can impact sales and profitability over time. Additionally, businesses may incur costs associated with repairing their reputation or launching rebranding campaigns to regain consumer trust. For example, a company that faces consumer backlash due to shrinkflation may experience declining sales and increased marketing expenses.


Having a high-performing pricing team is crucial for navigating the reasons why shrinkflation is happening.


Skilled professionals can analyse market trends, evaluate pricing strategies, and implement pricing adjustments strategically. For instance, a pricing team may conduct market research to understand consumer preferences and competitor pricing strategies, enabling the company to make informed pricing decisions.


Our findings show that with the right set-up and pricing team in place, incremental earnings gains can begin to occur in less than 12 weeks. After 6 months, the team can capture at least 1.0-3.25% more margin using better price management processes. After 9-12 months, businesses often generate between 7-11% additional margin each year as they identify more complex and previously unrealised opportunities, efficiencies, and risks.


Embedding commercial capability across the organisation is essential for addressing pricing issues proactively. Cross-functional collaboration ensures that pricing decisions align with overall business objectives and customer needs. For example, collaboration between marketing, sales, and finance teams can help identify opportunities for value-based pricing and optimise pricing strategies for maximum profitability.


Our findings show that when a business builds and embeds commercial capability across the business; bolstering its internal pricing skills and capabilities to build a sustainable pricing system, it can generate at least 3-10% additional margin each year while protecting hard-earned revenue and volume. This is at least a 30-60% profit improvement straight to the bottom line.


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Bottom Line


Addressing shrinkflation and implementing strategic pricing redesigns is urgent. Delaying action risks losing consumer trust and damaging the brand’s reputation. Proactive measures are necessary to ensure long-term success. Businesses must prioritise pricing optimisation and consumer-centric approaches to thrive in the competitive market. It’s essential to act now to safeguard resilience and facilitate growth.


Failure to address pricing issues promptly may result in significant challenges and missed opportunities. Therefore, businesses must heed this call to action and make pricing optimisation a top priority in their strategic planning. By doing so, they can position themselves for sustained success and resilience in an ever-changing market environment.


For a comprehensive view of maximising growth in your company, Download a complimentary whitepaper on How FMCG Can Generate Profitable Growth Faster.


Are you a business in need of help aligning your pricing strategy, people and operations to deliver an immediate impact on profit?

If so, please call (+61) 2 9000 1115.

You can also email us at team@taylorwells.com.au if you have any further questions.

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