CJ CheilJedang, Ottogi, SPC, Sajo caught for ‘shrinkflation’

CJ CheilJedang's PlanTable Original Dumplings, top left, Ottogi's instant cup soup, top right, SPC Samlip's Glucks Schwein sausages, bottom left, and Sajo Daerim's frozen chicken nuggets, bottom right, were among the food products caught by the Korea Consumer Agency for 'shrinkflation.' Screenshots from companies' websites

CJ CheilJedang, Ottogi, SPC Samlip and Sajo Daerim reduced the volumes of their food products while keeping their prices the same, fueling public distrust in the country’s major food companies, Korea Consumer Agency said Thursday.

The consumer advocacy group said its findings are based on its analysis of product information provided by major department stores, hypermarkets and online shopping platforms.

The agency also gathered information from its online portal that inspected 540 locally distributed items in 158 categories and civic reports on possible “shrinkflation,” the practice of downsizing a product while keeping its price the same.

CJ CheilJedang last August reduced packages of its PlanTable Original Dumplings to 385 grams from 420 grams, it said.

Ottogi also reduced its packaging of instant cup soup products, offered in three different flavors, to 60 grams from 72 grams last October.

The agency found SPC Samlip reduced its packages of Glucks Schwein sausages to 360 grams from 440 grams in March. Sajo Daerim was 안전 also found to have reduced the size of its packaged frozen chicken nuggets from 540 grams to 420 grams in January.

“There has been a spike in public interest in shrinkflation since last year,” an agency official said. “So we’ve been monitoring products in distribution starting this year and also examining reported cases of shrinkflation from last December to this March.”

The agency identified 15 domestic products and 18 imported products that saw decreases in size or packaging.

Out of the total products, 97 percent were manufactured food products. The range of the products’ portion shrinkage was from 5.3 percent to 27.3 percent.

The agency advised manufacturers and distributors of the named products to notify consumers of the changes on their websites.

It also provided the product information to department stores, hypermarkets and online shopping malls that helped with the agency’s investigation so that their customers could be informed of the shrinkflation practices.

“We’ll keep monitoring products in domestic markets for possible shrinkflation and provide consumers with quarterly reports on product changes,” the official said.

Starting Aug. 3, in accordance with the country’s Enforcement Decree of the Framework Act on Consumers, makers that downsize their products without notifying consumers can face a fine of 5 million won ($3,638) to 10 million won.

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