U.S. food prices have been rising in the last year, but it seems the growth is only just beginning. A sharp jump in commodities’ prices this year will soon result in sticker shock for American consumers.
Large food companies have recently announced that they will raise the prices they charge grocery retailers for commodities-based products. For example, a chocolate bar will cost more soon: Hershey last week announced a 10% increase for most of its confectionery goods.
Of course, straightforward price hikes could cause consumers to buy less of those products or to choose less costly store brands. So in many cases, food companies are trying a different tactic: Keeping the price of an item the same while decreasing the amount of food in the package. The company recoups the costs of the rise in commodities and hopes consumers don’t notice that they’re getting less of the product for the same price.
Food companies have no obligation to tell customers about the smaller packages, but may suffer a backlash from consumers who notice how the packaging trick works.
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