TikTok creators are calling on businesses to ‘deflate’

Hunter Jarratt was a regular buyer of Quaker’s apple oat bars – until he realized the size of his favorite snack had shrunk in size, even though the packaging looked the same.

Hunter Jarratt

Hunter Jarratt was a regular buyer of Quaker’s apple oat bars – until he realized the size of his favorite snack was shrinking in size, even though the packaging looked the same.

In his TikTok video, he points out that an old bar weighs 26 grams and the normal price is $1.90. But an oat bar currently costs “more than $2,” weighing 24 grams, he claims.

That means each gram in the 26-gram bar costs $0.073 while it’s slightly more expensive — at least $0.083 per gram — for the smaller 24-gram bar, according to CNBC calculations.

“What it has – is more air,” he said.

That’s when Jarratt realized”deflation“in the workplace – where some companies are reducing the content of their packaging without increasing the price of the sticker, and in doing so, consumers will charge more.

PepsiCo — the company that owns Quaker and other household names, such as beverages like Gatorade and Lipton Tea, as well as Lays fries — did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Not just consumers spend more For everyday, they also get less than they’re used to – and young people like Jarratt aren’t satisfied.

Like Jarratt, many are now using TikTok to appeal to companies that have downsized products.

There were more than 261 million views of “deflation” related short videos on TikTok as of Thursday, by social media platform.

It’s hard to keep up with the rising cost of living, and as businesses start to downsize their items, it just makes things worse.

Claudia Valladares

Financial Advisor

In July, PepsiCo raises revenue outlook during the year when inflation pushes up prices and consumers pay more for its products.

Costs are expected to climb even higher in the second half of the year, the global food and beverage giant said at the time it plans to continue to scale down products and roll out other ways. to manage rising costs.

How has microinflation affected young people and is there a way to fix it? CNBC Make It find out.

Why does ‘miniature inflation’ happen?

For Krishnan Kara, 23, it’s Cadbury’s chocolate bars.

“They used to be 200g for £2 and now 180g for £2. The size is down 10% but the price remains the same,” said the digital marketer from London.

“I am frustrated … Instead of openly raising the price of goods with inflation, these big brands choose to make the quantity less.”

In an email reply to CNBC Make It, one Mondelez International The spokesman said that the “significant increase in production costs” has made it much more expensive to manufacture its goods.

Mondelez International owns Cadbury and other snacks like Oreo, Ritz and Toblerone.

“We understand that consumers are also facing increased costs, which is why we seek to absorb costs wherever possible,” said Mondelez International. .

Inflation and deflation are really having a huge impact on groceries and everyone’s bottom line.

The spokesperson added that this is the first time since 2012, the size of the mid-size Cadbury Milk bars has been reduced.

Drew Lee, 31, admits that it’s more important than ever for companies to “do whatever they need to do to maintain their margins”.

“As a consumer, I don’t like [shrinkflation]. But I understand why companies are doing it. Everyone has to make money,” said the industrial engineer.

Food ‘doesn’t last long’

Even so, the individuals that CNBC Make It spoke to remain adamant that deflation will hurt consumers.

“Inflation and deflation are really having a huge impact on groceries and everyone’s bottom line,” Lee said.

Lee added that he’s noticed deflation going on because he often dumps his packaged oatmeal from TargetGood & Gather’s private label in another container.

“I noticed that it didn’t fill the entire bucket as it should. If I hadn’t poured the oatmeal into another bucket, I certainly wouldn’t have noticed this,” he said.

CNBC Make It has reached out to Target for comment, and a spokesperson said the company has not made any changes to the packaging or the oatmeal product since its release in 2020.

“Deflation is an attempt to fool customers into thinking they are paying the same price for an item when in fact they are paying the cost per unit for that item,” said Engineer Lee.

Claudia Valladares, a financial advisor, says shrinking inflation is a cause for concern, especially for “individuals on tight budgets.”

“It’s hard to keep up with the rising cost of living, and as businesses start to downsize their items, that makes things worse.”

Either I’m choosing alternatives or unfortunately, having to spend more money on food… that’s just mounting debt in the long run.

Hunter Jarratt


Jarratt agrees, saying food “doesn’t last long” as inflation and deflation become more acute.

“I’m a university student on student loan … I have some money allotted for food,” the 22-year-old added.

“Either I’m choosing alternatives or, unfortunately, having to spend more money on food… that’s just more debt in the long run.”

Here’s What You Can Do

Jarratt’s personal experiences with rising costs of living and shrinking inflation prompted him to create a TikTok video – although he admits it’s not his “usual content” as an author. Environmental Education.

“It’s hard to really be a dedicated consumer at the grocery store when most products are owned by only a handful of companies. But when you spot the change, it’s important to must speak up,” he said.

“People are definitely starting to catch on. A small package change won’t fool anyone.”

In addition to creating awareness, here’s what some are doing to achieve it by:

1. Pay attention to the price and quantity

It’s more important than ever to pay attention to prices and store comparisons when shopping for groceries, says Lee.

“You can throw away a dollar here and there it will have a huge impact over time.”

Kara added that he is now paying more attention to the price per gram of food.

“Something may look cheaper but the price per gram is higher than the more expensive product,” he points out.

2. No shame in ‘no name’

Another way to deal with miniaturization of deflation might be to give up your allegiance to specific brands.

Jarratt said when he notices an item is shrinking, he will switch to another brand.

“For example, instead of buying Quaker oat bars, I want to buy Nature Valley bars by General Millswhich at least still makes me feel like I just ate something,” he said.

“I can also buy a ‘no-name’ brand granola bar, which is cheaper than other brands, and still has the filling as a snack.

He observed that smaller, lesser-known companies may have increased their prices, but the product size appears to have remained the same.

“I would buy from such companies and also local businesses if possible and affordable.”

3. Consider buying in bulk

Valladares, a financial advisor, says that buying in bulk often allows you to “get a discount on the entire purchase.”

“This is because retailers know they will be selling a larger quantity of the product and are willing to lower the price,” she explains.

“It also allows you to take advantage of economies of scale – the cost per unit of product decreases as quantity increases.”

You should compare the prices of each before you make a purchase.

Claudia Valladares

Financial Advisor

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