During the Super Bowl, US President Joe Biden released a video criticizing food companies for “cutting back” on production while keeping prices the same. The president called this practice a “fraud” and stated that the public is tired of being misled. In the video, he highlighted examples of products that have been reduced in size without a price cut, including Gatorade, Breyers ice cream, Tostitos and Doritos chips and Oreo cookies.
The Super Bowl is a highly anticipated event in the US and attracts large audiences, making it an important advertising opportunity for companies. Despite declining the televised interview with the president before the game, Biden’s video would make some of the biggest food companies, including PepsiCo, Mondelez and Unilever, uncomfortable to watch. While Biden didn’t directly name any products or companies, his criticisms were clear.
In response to rising costs due to factors such as monetary policy in response to the pandemic, increased global energy prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and significant government spending, some companies are believed to be reducing product sizes and changing recipes to include less expensive ingredients. This practice is known as “scampflation”.
PepsiCo, Mondelez and Unilever were approached for comment about Biden’s “downsizing” allegations but have yet to respond. It remains to be seen how these companies will address the issue and whether there will be changes to their products in light of the president’s criticism.