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Heinz explains 'shrinkflation' in iconic product after Aussies call out ‘stealth’ act ripping off customers

Heinz said any confusion was the result of a 'recipe change'.

Australians are becoming hyper-aware of ways they may be ripped off when doing their grocery shop.

Heinz has responded to claims they used the sneaky tactic of 'shrinkflation' after Australian customers questioned why there were less beans in a breakfast staple.

In a group that notes shrinkflation in Australian supermarkets, a customer posted a picture showing two tins sitting side by side on a Woolworths shelf. One had 49 per cent beans and the other 51 per cent.

Two cans of Kraft Heinz baked beans on a shelf showing alleged shrinkflation.
Heinz says the difference is due to a the recipe, not 'shrinkflation'. (Source: Reddit) (Reddit)

Shrinkflation is where the size of a product is reduced while its retail price remains the same, or sometimes continues to go up. It’s been attributed to companies reducing the rising cost of doing business without direct price increases. However, it’s been widely criticised as dishonest because consumers may not notice the immediate change, as opposed to a price change, reducing backlash.

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While the percentage may seem small to some, Australian customers being slogged by the rising cost of living are particularly conscious of tactics being employed to reduce the value of their grocery shop. The major supermarkets are currently under the microscope amid allegations of price gouging, which they deny.

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Are baked beans fans falling victim to shrinkflation?

A Kraft Heinz spokesperson told Yahoo Finance this case was not the result of shrinkflation, and rather the result of a “slightly different recipe”.

“There was a period of time recently where, due to some raw material supply constraints, we had to source some stock from our factory in the UK. The UK recipe is slightly different to the New Zealand recipe,” they said.

Australian supermarkets are normally supplied “solely by Heinz New Zealand factory”, the spokesperson added.

But don’t be fooled. Just because this may not be a case of “sneaky tactics” doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. Personal finance expert at Finder Sarah Megginson said she was sent this picture of a Ritz packet showing a reduction in product size just this week.

Two packets of Ritz biscuits on a counter top, showing shrinkflation.
The Ritzcrackers 3-pack box has reduced in size by close to 25 per cent. (Source: supplied) (Supplied)

“Customers are catching on and expressing their frustration,” she told Yahoo Finance. “But there are ways to tackle shrinkflation and make sure you’re getting the most value out of what you’re buying. However, it really puts the onus on you as a consumer to be on ‘alert’.”

She said to remain vigilant and always read the product label. Also, try a generic or alternative brand - you may not mind the taste and they are often cheaper.

“Lastly, stock up when you can when items are on sale to get the best bang for your buck,” she said.

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Yahoo Australia