Products continue to shrink in size, and quality also drops, say customers
For the economist and member of the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC) Carlos Caixeta, consumers are noticing the phenomenon called “reduflation”: a mixture of reduction with inflation.
“To avoid raising prices, the manufacturing company maintains the price, but reduces the quantity of the product sold, which in practice is an increase in the amount paid by the consumer. Changing the composition of the product means choosing cheaper raw materials, which reduces production costs and the need to readjust prices,” he says.
According to Caixeta, it is a strategy for companies to continue selling. “Companies seek to avoid price increases because products become less competitive, reducing sales and jeopardizing their financial health.”
Can or can’t reduce?
Companies can legally reduce products, but with caveats. This is what the coordinator of the Civil, Labor and Consumer Relations area at Andrade Silva Advogados, Aldemir Pereira Nogueira, explains.
Changes can even be made, as long as they are correctly informed to the consumer, as determined by the Ministry of Justice (Ordinance 81, of January 23, 2002) and the Consumer Protection Code (Law No. 8,078, of September 11, 1990) .
“The manufacturer has to clearly and specifically inform the change in size and what the product is made of. Example: if the grape juice has apple in the composition, this must be explicitly stated on the packaging. If there was a reduction in the quantity, you must put the amount before, for how much and the percentage of reduction, in legible lettering on the packaging”, he explains.
Nogueira recalls that companies must maintain this communication for at least three months.
If the consumer realizes that the product has been altered, but there was no adequate information, he can appeal to consumer protection agencies, and companies can be fined for product makeup. The amounts reach R$ 9.9 million.