Saturday, March 09, 2024

Biden Is Serious About His Candy-Bar Crusade

 The president, to state the obvious, doesn’t exactly have authority over how many pieces of candy a private company wants to put in a pouch.

By Lora Kelley, The Atlantic, March 8, 2024 - Sesame Street characters have had their fuzzy fingers on the pulse of American life lately. First, Elmo triggered an avalanche of despair when he asked on X how everyone was doing. Then his castmate the Cookie Monster proclaimed earlier this week, “Me hate shrinkflation!” 

In his punchy, confrontational State of the Union speech last night, Biden conveyed a similar feeling. After outlining his accomplishments and his plans for the economy, the president denounced the way snack-food makers have been putting fewer chips in each bag. “No, I’m not joking,” he said, as the audience laughed. “It’s called shrinkflation.”

What does this somewhat-jargon-y term mean, exactly? Shrinkflation refers to when companies shave the corner off a chunk of soap, for example, or pack less ice cream in a container (Biden has stewed about this one in particular) and still charge the same or higher prices. Companies that sell products such as chips and toilet paper can generally grow either by charging consumers more or by reducing their own costs, Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester, told me. Companies are seeing that they’ve hit the ceiling on what consumers will pay, so they are turning to the strategy of offering less for the buyer’s dollar.

.... Calling out shrinkflation deflects the blame for persistent inflation from policy makers to greedy companies, and it makes Biden look aligned with consumers against the threat of being ripped off. ... Biden’s candy-bar crusade may not be much more than political messaging for now. But it fits with a narrative he hammered home consistently in last night’s speech: that Donald Trump is a friend to the billionaires, in contrast to Biden’s own image as a friend to the working American. With shrinkflation, he’s hitting on an issue that riles up voters and matters to working people. (Read more)

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1 comment:

  1. Rather reductionist look at an expasive speech that looked at several existential threats to the planet. Example of a shrinkflation article...