Higher food prices during a historic period of inflation have prompted restaurants to reduce portion sizes of some menu items.
Some consumers have also had to make difficult decisions about how to spend their money.
Economists call the phenomenon “shrinkflation”. and acc new data compiled by review site YelpGuests say that it is now widespread.
“In addition to higher prices on grocery store shelves and in restaurants, consumers are also seeing the size or quantity of their merchandise shrink — a phenomenon that’s also reflected in Yelp,” according to the site’s report released this week.
Yelp said customers observed “shrink deflation” most frequently in restaurants “serving more affordable offerings like hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, followed by seafood restaurants, Italian food, and Chinese food.”
Yelp declined to provide specific examples of reviews on its website that mentioned shrinkage — but they’re becoming increasingly common on Twitter.
Some reviewers also cite specific franchises such as Five Guys and Shake Shack. Five Guys did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Shake Shack said the company has not made any adjustments to its portion sizes.
Meal prices rose 7.7% last month, federal data showed. These restaurant prices have now increased for nine consecutive months and 14 of the last 15 months. May, Bloomberg reported that fast-casual chains, including Burger King, Domino’s, and Subway, all reduced their portion sizes in response to rising food prices.
Yelp data also shows that consumers are booking restaurant reservations earlier than before and are waiting longer for tables.
“Mentions of inflation in Yelp reviews are on the rise more than ever, and for the first time we’ve seen mentions of experiences related to contraction inflation,” said Pria Mudan, Yelp’s data science leader, in a statement.
Back in the shop aisles, numerous consumer goods are also shrinking MousePrint.orga website that tracks retail products.
Food prices in general have risen across the board at a rate not seen in decades while the pandemic continues, federal data shows. Among the items with the biggest price increases are meat, poultry, fish and eggs, where gains have exceeded 10% year-on-year every month since September. These increases were driven in part by higher fuel and labor costs.
But Mudan said Yelp data also suggests consumers are resilient and adapting in the face of rising prices.
“While consumers searched for fewer higher-priced companies in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2022, perhaps in response to inflation, they still searched for higher-priced companies more frequently than before the pandemic – an encouraging indicator that they intend to at spending money on higher-priced companies is still going strong,” she said.
https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consumer/restaurants-smaller-portions-higher-food-prices-rcna39180 Rising food prices mean smaller burgers and pizzas in restaurants