The prices of the shopping basket are rising more than what the supermarket ticket indicates due to the ‘reduction’. Some food manufacturers resort to giving less product or reducing the grammage in the packaging of the products to face the rise in costs. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) considers that this technique, known as ‘reduction’, is a practice of unfair competition, since “there is no clear information for the consumer about the price increase and that lack of transparency alters the competition”.
For this reason, the OUC has reported to the CNMC the six companies in which it has detected this phenomenon so far: Pastas Gallo, Danone, Pescanova, Colacao, Tulipán and Campofrío.
In the midst of this ‘perfect storm’ of inflationary spiral, OCU warns that in the food sector some large manufacturers have opted for a different strategy to avoid penalization which means a price increase. To avoid punishing customers, these brands are committed to ‘reduction’, which consists of offering less food and drink for the same euros.
In a study carried out by the OCU it is indicated that at least 7% of the products in the shopping basket have been affected by this phenomenon in recent months. With this trick, the brands reduce the content of the container from 5% to 10% to hide higher prices or appear to have higher sales.
Although in principle, from the point of view of the information on the packaging and labeling of the products, the regulations are complied with, the consumer association considers that it is a misleading practice and unfair competition. In these cases of ‘reduction’, from the OCU they criticize that the consumer does not have complete information about the true nature and characteristics of the product, leading it to make erroneous decisions that can affect manufacturers that clearly raise the price, and that can be punished against those that mask the increases with reductions in the quantity of product.
lack of transparency
With these arguments, OCU has filed a complaint with the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) so that determine if reduflation, giving less for the same, is a practice that unfairly alters competition, due to lack of transparency for consumers. In addition to the complaint to the CNMC, the organization is going to require the Ministry of Consumption to study the implementation of measures that oblige manufacturers to improve the information they give consumers about the price and quantity of their products.
In reference to this issue, sources from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs assured ABC a few weeks ago that Complaints had been received about these practices from the autonomous communities, “which are the competent ones”. However, from the Consumer portfolio they considered that it is a legal practice as long as the weight indicated on the label is correct.
In addition, the OCU highlights that the increase in the prices of energy and raw materials has caused a significant rise in prices of different goods and services. In parallel, a study carried out by OCU puts the annual rise in the cost of food at 9.4%.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism