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Shrinkflation, Skimpflation and the ‘Sheconomy’

Apr 15, 2024

Hello, friends. It’s great to be back. Having been away for quite some time, I’ve prepared a special episode for you. Today, we’re not just covering one but two headlines. As we look at these stories, I’ll introduce you to some fascinating terms that describe very common economic phenomena—terms you absolutely should know, if you don’t already: ‘Shrinkflation,’ ‘Skimpflation,’ ‘Groceries’, and ‘Sheconomy’.



Pay attention to this headline, published on March 1, 2024, in The New York Times:


Shrinkflation 101: The Economics of Smaller Groceries


And here’s the sub-title, offering further insight:


Have you noticed your grocery products shrinking? Here’s how that gets counted — and what gets missed — in inflation data.


The article discusses how certain companies opt to produce smaller goods instead of raising prices, potentially deterring clients. This tactic is known as ‘Shrinkflation’ because ‘to shrink’ means to ‘make smaller.’ It’s a cute word, isn’t it? However, some view the practice as somewhat unethical, as there can be an intention to deceive the customer into believing they are purchasing a product of the same size. The focus of the article is what we know as groceries—the essentials you buy from the store to manage your household, ranging from milk and coffee to bananas and toilet paper. Groceries.


Where do you buy groceries? At the grocery store.


The subtitle also hints at ‘what gets missed’ in inflation data, introducing another brilliant expression: ‘Skimpflation.’ This term describes when a company opts for less expensive, possibly lower quality inputs or ingredients, aiming to produce a more affordable product and, ideally, relieve some price pressure off the consumer. Skimpflation. To grasp this term, it’s essential to understand that ‘to skimp’ means to go to unusual lengths to spend less. While not inherently negative, it depends on your perspective.


Today, I promised an extra word, and here it is: ‘She-conomy.’ What exactly does that mean?


Consider this headline from CNN on March 15th:


She’s the boss: The ‘she-conomy’ boom continues with new business growth


Female entrepreneurship saw significant growth last year, with women-owned businesses opening at a rate surpassing the overall market, according to the latest data.


You might not yet find ‘she-conomy’ in any dictionary. But as the headline and subheading suggest, ‘she-conomy’ refers to women-owned businesses and their growing purchasing power.


So, friends, remember these terms: Shrinkflation: products are getting smaller; Skimpflation: products are not made as well as before; Groceries, that category of goods including your food and household items; and an inventive, playful word ‘She-conomy’ to describe economic sectors driven by women.


That’s all for now. I’m sorry for the extended absence; I’ve been preoccupied with my online lessons. By the way, if guided conversation classes related to economic issues appeals to you, visit my website at Englishforeconomists.com and drop me a line. I may have a spot in my schedule just for you.


Okay, everybody. Keep studying, keep learning, and keep at it. See you next time. This is Alan Robert. Bye for now.

 

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