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New Regulation Introduced to Combat “Shrinkflation”

Hungary Today 2024.03.01.

A new measure on trade came into effect on March 1, regulating that shops with a turnover of over HUF 1 billion (EUR 2.5 million) must indicate if the packaging, size, or volume of a product has been reduced, Index reports. With the new regulation, the government is taking action against the so-called shrinkflation that has been causing a stir recently in several countries.

Since the introduction of the food price freeze, several other measures have been taken to protect consumers, such as the introduction of mandatory in-store promotions and online price monitoring, and from March 1, 2024, an awareness campaign on the reduced packaging of products. These government measures have already helped to bring down inflation, which had fallen to single digits (9.9 percent) by October last year, and was only 3.8 percent higher in January this year than the year before.


The current measure is about curbing shrinkflation, namely the reduction in the quantity of a product as the price of certain products remains unchanged or even rises. Consumers can then get less for their money from the product they buy. This phenomenon has recently generated controversy in professional circles in several other countries, and after examining the international reactions, the Hungarian government has decided to take strong action against this deceptive practice.

From now on, food retailers with a turnover of more than HUF 1 billion will be obliged to inform customers by means of a notice,

if the size – in particular the weight or volume – of the pre-packaged products they sell has been reduced compared to the one used by the manufacturer between January 1, 2020 and  July 1, 2023.

The information shall be maintained for two months from the start of marketing by placing an information board at the entrance to the shop, and by indicating the reduction in size directly next to the product.

Those who fail to comply with the information requirements can be fined up to HUF 1 million per product. Consumers can also obtain information on the products concerned from the public database available on the website of the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih).

“By the end of February, manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers in Hungary had uploaded more than 500 products to the public database, available on the Nébih website from March 1, the packaging quantity of which has decreased since July 1, 2023,” Bence Gerlaki, Deputy State Secretary for Trade at the Ministry for National Economy, told Index.

He explained that

80 percent of the products affected by the packaging reduction are food products, while the remaining 20 percent are mainly beauty and household items.

Food products include sweets, savory snacks and chips (approximately 30 percent), frozen foods (10 percent), dairy products (around eight percent), and non-alcoholic drinks (over five percent).

Gerlaki noted that the voluntary action taken by the French chain Carrefour in the second half of 2023, to combat the deceptive practice by marking the products concerned in its stores was a major factor in making shrinkflation a central issue in the international arena. In Hungary, an 8×5 cm sticker will now read “Beware, the product has become smaller.”

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Traders will be obliged to display a change in the size of a given product. Continue reading

Via Index, Featured image: Pixabay

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