Supermarkets: the Repression of fraud alert on the quantity of products in the packages

modified: 2023-01-21 19:00:02

A Fraud Enforcement survey compared the actual weights of several products and package details in supermarkets.

  Supermarkets: the Repression of fraud alert on the quantity of products in the packages

Consumers increasingly tend to read product information on packaging as well as their price per kilo. But Are these data really reliable? ? The answer is given by a recent investigation by the Repression of Fraud. The DGCCRF point to anomalies in the quantity of products sold in supermarkets. Many have been reduced without informing the consumer . The practice has already been denounced by the Foodwatch association, in 2022. Find out the details in this article.

Supermarkets: when the actual quantity and the displayed weight of the product do not match

At the end of 2022, the Repression of fraud launched a survey in 31 packing plants . Among these, 7 present an actual quantity of products different from what is displayed on the packaging . According to the Minister Delegate for Trade and Consumer Affairs, Olivia Grégoire,

'10% of establishments had not changed the price per kilo when the quantity of the product had decreased'.

The problem affects household and hygiene products in supermarkets. But as you might expect, food products are the most affected . This is the case, for example, with coffee, cold cuts, flour, fries, milk, pasta, sugar, yogurts, etc.

These practices studied by the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF) are outrageous . According to Bercy, it is generally 'negligence harming the proper information of consumers' .

Many manufacturers, confronted by the remark, preferred to remain silent . Many blame it on rising packaging modification costs .

Is this a legal practice?

It is not forbidden to reduce the quantity of products or to sell them at higher prices in supermarkets. This phenomenon called “shrinkinflation” is a fairly common trading technique . This is when the weight of the product decreases when its price is maintained or increased .

'It's not illegal or immoral. I also think there may be some advantages. You have to realize that the portions have increased enormously over the last thirty years. We are going back to the normal portions of not so long ago,” says Pierre Chardon, professor of marketing at the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD).

Most of the time, consumers do not notice the proportion reduction in supermarkets , but they are not fooled. According to the Foodwatch association 'Changing the weight on the sly, to increase the price per kilo without changing the price per unit, it annoys the consumer' .

Pierre Chandon made the same observation.

“Manufacturers who think that consumers will not see it are quite often mistaken. I am not convinced that this is always in the interest of manufacturers. One of the concerns is that as a consumer, we tend to think that the quantities are fixed, when they are not,” he said.

Olivia Grégoire specifies that the client must be 'alert in a clear and transparent way' . In fact, sometimes the changes made are not declared at all.

“When there is control, and it is observed that these establishments have not changed the price tags per kilo, there is a fine. They have been given, we continue to follow that, ”warned the minister.

Soon an application to choose your products in supermarkets

In order to solve this problem of transparency, the Ministry of the Economy working on a long term resolution . A first solution aims to persuade large retailers to always clearly mention the modifications of their products (weight and quantity) .

The government would also like to give consumers the possibility of reporting such anomalies on the Rappel Conso site. Moreover, in a few months, this product recall platform will soon be available as a mobile app .

L’association Foodwatch fully agrees with the solutions put forward by the ministry .

'Transparency will have the virtue of giving consumers the choice to continue to consume this product or to turn to the competition', underlines this one.

Foodwatch nevertheless regretted that the investigation was not more elaborate. The association is well aware that this 'hidden inflation' is everywhere if you look closely in the supermarkets . She finds that the authorities should, for example, also take an interest in oversized packaging as well as reductions in food formats .

Source : 20minutes