Consumers Raise Concerns Over “Skimpflation” Impacting Supermarket Food and Drink Quality

by Ella

A recent survey indicates that more than half of consumers have observed a phenomenon known as “skimpflation,” which has led to a decline in the quality of certain supermarket food and drink products while maintaining the same price or even witnessing price increases.

According to a monthly survey conducted by Barclays, 52% of Britons have reported a reduction in the quality of ingredients in their preferred products, while the cost remains unchanged or has risen. This emerging trend in consumer sentiment highlights a growing concern.


Among those who have noticed changes, 44% have identified a decline in the quality of snack products, while 43% have experienced the same issue with sweets and chocolate. Furthermore, 36% believe that their favorite cakes or biscuits have seen a decline in quality.


In addition to food and drink, skimpflation appears to affect other product categories. Approximately 22% of consumers believe that takeaways are diminishing in quality, and 20% share the same sentiment regarding restaurant meals, both without a corresponding decrease in price.


The impact of skimpflation extends beyond the realm of food and beverages, with 41% of consumers noting its presence in other product categories. Specifically, 44% believe that the quality of clothing has declined, while 37% assert that toiletries and cosmetics are of lower quality.


This reduction in product quality is occurring alongside another consumer concern known as “shrinkflation,” which continues to be on the minds of 84% of shoppers. Notably, chocolate, crisps, and biscuits are the products most commonly associated with shrinkflation.

Despite these concerns, consumer spending experienced modest growth in August, with year-on-year growth standing at 2.8%, down from July’s 4%, according to the Barclays Consumer Spending Index, which is based on transaction data from the bank’s debit and credit cards.

Entertainment served as a notable boost to spending, driven by a 101% surge in cinema expenditures, supported by blockbuster releases such as Barbie and Oppenheimer. International travel spending remained resilient, with airlines experiencing a 32.1% increase in spending. Pharmacy, health, and beauty stores also witnessed a 5.2% boost in pre-holiday purchases.

However, supermarkets and food and drink specialist stores recorded weaker growth rates of 4.5% and 4.9%, respectively, as inflationary pressures slowed consumer spending.

Looking ahead, nearly a third of consumers (31%) anticipate that this year’s Christmas season will be more expensive than the previous one, with 17% having already begun saving. Despite these challenges, consumer confidence in their household finances and ability to live within their means has slightly increased, reflecting a resilient outlook in the face of inflationary pressures.

Esme Harwood, Director at Barclays, noted that “shrinkflation” and “skimpflation” are growing concerns for value-seeking consumers. As these trends persist, consumers are seeking transparency from manufacturers and supermarkets regarding product changes, allowing them to make informed choices.

Retail Editor, emphasized the importance of transparency in addressing these concerns, suggesting that manufacturers and retailers be upfront about changes to popular products to maintain trust in the food sector.



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