Why is it increasingly difficult to find products with round quantities?
Have you ever noticed that it is increasingly difficult to find products with round quantities on supermarket shelves? The washing powder is no more than one or two kilos, and the can of peas no longer weighs 300 grams.
It’s not just printing. The reduction in the amount of product that comes in the packaging is one of the direct effects of the acceleration of inflation, which created an effect called “reduction”.
“To avoid an increase, 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”, explains economist and member of the IBGC (Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance) Carlos Caixeta . “Companies seek to avoid price increases because products become less competitive, reducing sales and jeopardizing their financial health.”
O UOL visited some supermarkets in the interior of São Paulo and noticed several changes. A package of peas (known as a pouch), which weighed 300 grams with liquid, now weighs 260 grams.
The wafer type biscuit, which previously came in a 200g package, now weighs 160g. Virtually all brands of washing powder come with 800 grams. Some even created even smaller packages, from 200 grams to 400 grams, with the argument that the use is aimed at “people who live alone”.
The toilet paper rolls – which, by the way, are now “crumpled” to make the packages smaller – are 5 meters to 10 meters shorter than before.
Examples abound. On social media, there are several complaints about products that had reduced quantities.
What explains the ‘broken’ measures?
O UOL questioned some companies about why products no longer come with “round” weights.
The companies claim that the reduction in packaging is part of sales and consumption strategies, in addition to “market adaptation”, but none has explained why the reductions are made in order to leave the packaging with “broken” measures.
Caixeta sums up the situation: either keep the price, or reduce it somehow. And the form found is precisely in production.
The opinion is shared by the coordinator of the Civil, Labor and Consumer Relations area at Andrade e Silva Advogados, Aldemir Pereira Nogueira, who believes that the weights are no longer round to convey a “false feeling” that the consumer is taking products cheaper.
“Instead of increasing the price, the weight is reduced, causing this idea that the product is priced cheaper. However, this can confuse the consumer at the time of purchase if the information is not clear,” he said.
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 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. Example: 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.