- Company report points to growing annoyance at ‘shrinkflation’
- Data show consumers are looking for ways to reduce spending
Restaurant portions are getting smaller, and diners aren’t happy.
“Shrinkflation,” or the paring down of serving sizes to offset higher costs, is a hallmark of inflationary environments such as the one the US is currently experiencing. It’s on the rise, and it has gotten so noticeable that consumers are venting about it online, review website operator Yelp Inc. said in a report on activity during the second quarter.
“Inflation mentions in Yelp reviews are increasing more than ever before, and for the first time, we’ve seen mentions of shrinkflation-related experiences,” said Pria Mudan, Yelp’s data-science leader.
The most-complained-about restaurants are those serving lower-cost menu items, according to Yelp. These include hot dogs, burgers and pizza.
While prices in the US have surged across the board, food costs have outpaced the general rate of inflation, rising 10.4% in June from a year ago — the largest jump since 1981. The price of bread has risen so sharply, there’s data showing consumers are pulling back from the staple.
Restaurant companies are often reluctant to dramatically hike prices, so reducing serving size is another option. Domino’s Pizza Inc., reduced boneless wing orders to 8 pieces from 10, and Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc., cut the size of its nugget orders.
On Yelp, searches for the least expensive businesses, denoted by a single “$,” increased by 7% compared from the previous quarter, the company said. The priciest options (“$$$$”) fell by 12%.