NewsSouth Korea cracks down on 'shrinkflation,' mandates product size disclosure

South Korea cracks down on 'shrinkflation,' mandates product size disclosure

South Korea is fighting the so-called shrinkflation.
South Korea is fighting the so-called shrinkflation.
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3:17 PM EDT, May 3, 2024

Manufacturers often reduce the weight of their products to maintain prices, a practice South Korea is actively combating. Now, manufacturers must disclose any reduction in product size, or face fines, according to Reuters.

Rising food prices and living costs pose significant challenges in South Korea. To avoid sudden price hikes, manufacturers sometimes reduce product sizes, effectively keeping the price unchanged but offering less to the consumer. The South Korean government is addressing this issue, known as "downsizing" or "shrinkflation," Reuters reports.

The South Korean antitrust regulator announced on Friday that food manufacturers and suppliers are now obligated to inform consumers if their products are reduced in size.

Failure to comply with these new regulations could result in fines up to 10 million won (approximately $8,000). A first-time offense will attract a 5 million won fine, Reuters explains.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) views these practices by manufacturers as unfair, meriting penalties. With the rules set to enforce in August, products that have been downsized must carry a clear label for three months indicating the reduction.

This regulation aims to stop companies from reducing product size, standard, weight, or quantity without adequate notice, preventing consumers from unknowingly facing a de facto price increase, the FTC explained.
In terms of carbonated drinks, large family packs of around 76.2 fluid ounces have nearly vanished, with 50.7 fluid ounces becoming the norm. Similarly, the 33.8 fluid ounces bottle has been replaced by one about 28.7 fluid ounces. A noteworthy shift is seen in flavored waters, where a leading producer switched a 50.7 fluid ounces bottle for smaller ones of around 40.6 fluid ounces, observed our contact in 2023.
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