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Food industry price conspiracy

Consumer magazine claims producers are camouflaging price rises through new packaging and different recipes.

A consumer magazine has accused food producers of camouflaging price rises – a claim they reject strongly.

60 millions de consommateurs said the most popular technique was to package much smaller quantities than advertised.

Changing recipes and packaging was another way to disguise a rise in price or a ‘cheapening’ of the product.

Among the examples given by the magazine was the cheese Jockey produced by Danone.

According to the magazine, its 1kg pots now only contained 850g. While Danone’s cream desserts, which weigh 125g in packs of four, now weigh 115g in packs of twelve or sixteen.

It said changes to packaging could also disguise price changes using the example of Feel Free chewing gum sold by Aldi which was recently repackaged in more plastic adding to the weight.

The president of the Association nationale des industries alimentaires Jean-René Buisson said they contested the results.

He said there was nothing new in producers changing the size and dimensions of packaging and said: “It would be deception if you put the same recipe, the same product in smaller packaging and sold it at the same price – this is not the case.”

He cited one example used by the magazine where a cake Prince de Lu had dropped in weight from 380g to 300g.

Mr Buissin said this was “a completely transformed product” with 28% less calories.

“We do not have any problems with the composition of products or fraud because we have an elaborate system of controls,” he said.

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