“It’s a scam! We are putting an end to it,” promised Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of Economy and Finance. The government will force supermarkets to display a poster alerting consumers of a reduction in quantities of a product at an unchanged price, the Ministry of the Economy said in a press release published Friday April 19.

“As of July 1, a placard will be placed near the product when its quantity decreases and its price remains unchanged or increases. This is an important step in the fight that I am leading for the transparency that we owe to consumers,” declared Olivia Grégoire, Minister for Trade, quoted in the press release. “The indication must in particular specify the evolution of the price in relation to weight, so that the consumer knows the true evolution of the price. We were committed to it, we are doing it,” declared Mr. Le Maire.

The ministry specifies that “this information must be provided by distributors in large and medium-sized stores, in the immediate vicinity of the products concerned. It must appear in these physical stores during the two months following the marketing date of industrial food and non-food products. Cans, laundry detergent and even soda bottles are affected.

Foods sold in bulk are not affected

Foods sold in bulk are not affected as are products “whose quantity may vary during preparation (deli section for example)”, including if the price per kilo increases. Furthermore, “consumers who have doubts about the price per unit of measurement displayed on the shelves are also invited to report it via the SignalConso application or website”.

“Shrinkflation” – from the English verb shrink – consists, for manufacturers of consumer products, agro-industrialists or distributors, of reducing the quantities of products sold rather than significantly increasing prices – too much. The distributor Carrefour had, for example, drastically reduced the quantities of its “first price” vegetables to remain below a price of 1 euro, the media reminded 60 million consumers in December, evoking the transition from three to two salads or the reduction of one third of the potato fillet.

“If a decree comes out, we will respect it and apply it, but we regret it,” said in January the boss of the fourth French distributor, Système U, Dominique Schelcher. “It’s the manufacturer who knows that his packaging has been reduced, that the recipe has been called into question,” he said, fearing “a waste of time” for the in-store teams.