This Country Will Police ‘Shrinkflation’ at the Supermarket
Kanebridge News
    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,599,192 (-0.51%)       Melbourne $986,501 (-0.24%)       Brisbane $938,846 (+0.04%)       Adelaide $864,470 (+0.79%)       Perth $822,991 (-0.13%)       Hobart $755,620 (-0.26%)       Darwin $665,693 (-0.13%)       Canberra $994,740 (+0.67%)       National $1,027,820 (-0.13%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $746,448 (+0.19%)       Melbourne $495,247 (+0.53%)       Brisbane $534,081 (+1.16%)       Adelaide $409,697 (-2.19%)       Perth $437,258 (+0.97%)       Hobart $531,961 (+0.68%)       Darwin $367,399 (0%)       Canberra $499,766 (0%)       National $525,746 (+0.31%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,586 (+169)       Melbourne 15,093 (+456)       Brisbane 7,795 (+246)       Adelaide 2,488 (+77)       Perth 6,274 (+65)       Hobart 1,315 (+13)       Darwin 255 (+4)       Canberra 1,037 (+17)       National 44,843 (+1,047)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,675 (+47)       Melbourne 7,961 (+171)       Brisbane 1,636 (+24)       Adelaide 462 (+20)       Perth 1,749 (+2)       Hobart 206 (+4)       Darwin 384 (+2)       Canberra 914 (+19)       National 21,987 (+289)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $770 (-$10)       Melbourne $590 (-$5)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $595 (-$5)       Perth $650 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 ($0)       Canberra $700 ($0)       National $654 (-$3)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $730 (+$10)       Melbourne $580 ($0)       Brisbane $620 ($0)       Adelaide $470 ($0)       Perth $600 ($0)       Hobart $460 (-$10)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $560 (-$5)       National $583 (+$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,253 (-65)       Melbourne 5,429 (+1)       Brisbane 3,933 (-4)       Adelaide 1,178 (+17)       Perth 1,685 ($0)       Hobart 393 (+25)       Darwin 144 (+6)       Canberra 575 (-22)       National 18,590 (-42)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,894 (-176)       Melbourne 4,572 (-79)       Brisbane 1,991 (+1)       Adelaide 377 (+6)       Perth 590 (+3)       Hobart 152 (+6)       Darwin 266 (+10)       Canberra 525 (+8)       National 15,367 (-221)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.50% (↓)       Melbourne 3.11% (↓)       Brisbane 3.43% (↓)       Adelaide 3.58% (↓)     Perth 4.11% (↑)      Hobart 3.78% (↑)      Darwin 5.47% (↑)        Canberra 3.66% (↓)       National 3.31% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.09% (↑)        Melbourne 6.09% (↓)       Brisbane 6.04% (↓)     Adelaide 5.97% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)       Hobart 4.50% (↓)       Darwin 7.78% (↓)       Canberra 5.83% (↓)       National 5.76% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.7% (↑)      Melbourne 0.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.4% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 1.2% (↑)      Hobart 0.6% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.7% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.4% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.3% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 1.5% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)        National 0.9% (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.7 (↓)       Melbourne 30.7 (↓)       Brisbane 31.0 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)       Perth 34.0 (↓)       Hobart 34.8 (↓)       Darwin 35.1 (↓)       Canberra 28.5 (↓)       National 31.0 (↓)            AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 25.8 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)       Brisbane 27.6 (↓)       Adelaide 21.8 (↓)       Perth 37.8 (↓)       Hobart 25.2 (↓)       Darwin 24.8 (↓)       Canberra 41.1 (↓)       National 29.3 (↓)           
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This Country Will Police ‘Shrinkflation’ at the Supermarket

South Korea will soon require companies that slim down products to show the old and new sizes on packaging

By TIMOTHY W. MARTIN
Wed, Dec 27, 2023 7:30amGrey Clock 3 min

SEOUL—Food prices have risen so much that Kim Soo-yeon has developed a suspicious new habit at the grocery store. She has taken to shaking bags of her favourite brands of potato chips to see if they feel lighter.

“If companies are reducing the amount of food by unnoticeable amounts, it feels deceptive,” said the 32-year-old office worker in Seoul.

South Korean authorities will soon be backing her up in the supermarket aisles.

Seeking to temper the effects of inflation, many countries have sought to use political pressure to dissuade food makers from gouging consumers—with higher prices or lower volumes. South Korea is taking things a step further.

Starting next year, the country will require companies to disclose on their packages and websites when grocery items drop in volume, but not price. To ensure firms comply, South Korea is establishing a dedicated price-investigation team to monitor any fluctuations. Officials are considering levying fines, too.

South Korea’s muscular response to “shrinkflation” reflects how a sluggish economy—its projected full-year growth of 1.4% is roughly half that of other wealthy countries—has become a major problem for President Yoon Suk Yeol, whose approval ratings remain stuck in the mid-30s. Those unhappy with Yoon most commonly cite economic issues.

The new proposals to fight shrinkflation came as the government unveiled an initial list of violators. Following a monthlong investigation, authorities said the offerings of everything from beer to Vienna sausages to dumplings had quietly gotten smaller. Some 16 variants of flavoured almonds had shrunk, too.

Choi Si-yeon, a 28-year-old office worker, said she was angry when she found out about what had happened with her favorite wasabi-flavored almonds. Each bag contained 20 grams less, a seemingly undetectable amount.

“If they had raised the price, at least some consumers would notice,” Choi said.

The maker of the snack, a South Korean firm called HBAF, for Healthy But Awesome Flavors, said it had disclosed the product-size changes on its website. The firm pointed to the pandemic, a rise in labor costs and almond prices as factors.

Other companies also claimed to have made online disclosures or argued the slimmed-down offerings were part of flavour revamps.

Shrinkflation backlash has emerged elsewhere, too. France’s second-largest supermarket chain, Carrefour, has put up bright orange signs to highlight products it deems subject to shrinkflation since September. In the U.S., Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.) recently issued a report on shrinkflation, citing facial tissues and Oreos as examples.

With costs rising, what is often lacking is transparency over potential changes, creating room for a sense of injustice when shrinkflation occurs, said Rajiv Biswas, chief economist for the Asia-Pacific region at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Consumers can’t check the website of hundreds of products,” he said.

Headline inflation in South Korea topped out at 6.3% in July 2022 from the prior year, below the recent peaks of 9.1% in the U.S. and 11.1% in the U.K. But food prices in the East Asian country had remained relatively low for decades, so the recent upticks have triggered outsize anger. Wages haven’t kept pace with rising prices. The country’s housing market—the main source of wealth for many South Koreans—has stagnated.

A majority of South Koreans plan to spend less money next year, according to a recent poll, with nearly half of respondents citing inflation as the chief reason.

Low inflation had been a particular policy priority for South Korea over the decades, helping the country’s export-heavy economy maintain a good environment for private investment, said Randall Jones, a former senior official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development who led the group’s economic reports on South Korea.

“People aren’t used to inflation in South Korea,” said Jones, who is now a distinguished fellow at the Korea Economic Institute of America, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.

South Korea is conducting daily price checks for more than two dozen staple items such as milk and ramen noodles. The country’s antitrust regulator will list any shrinkflation examples on a newly created website and will handle enforcement of the new measures. The government wants to ink agreements with large South Korean retailers to build a joint monitoring system for some 10,000 everyday items.

That sliced cheese and other inexpensive items were among the first named shrinkflation violators irks people like Lee Hyun-woo, a 23-year-old university student. “If even processed food is shrinking, I feel betrayed,” Lee said.

In recent weeks, the country’s shrinkflation suspicions have touched everything from the cubed white radish accompanying Korean fried chicken to the cream density of a slice of strawberry cake.

Kim Young-hee, a 42-year-old homemaker, is glad about more government transparency. But the extra knowledge likely won’t change her habits, such as her occasional purchase of honey-butter almonds for her children.

“I’ll still buy the almonds,” Kim said, “but I don’t want to be tricked.”



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The pressure on companies to cut their carbon footprint is coming more from within the organisations themselves than from customers and regulators, according to a new report.

Three-quarters of business leaders from across the Group of 20 nations said the push to invest in renewable energy is being driven mainly by their own corporate boards, with 77% of U.S. business leaders saying the pressure was extreme or significant, according to a new survey conducted by law firm Ashurst.

The corporate call to decarbonise is intensifying, Ashurst said, with 30% of business leaders saying the pressure from their own boards was extreme, up from 25% in 2022.

“We’re seeing that the energy transition is an area that is firmly embedded in the thinking of investors, corporates, governments and others, so there is a real emphasis on setting and acting on these plans now,” said Michael Burns, global co-head of energy at Ashurst. “That said, the pace of transition and the stage of the journey very much depends from business to business.”

The shift in sentiment comes as companies ramp up investment in renewable spending to meet their net-zero goals. Ashurst found that 71% of the more than 2,000 respondents to its survey had committed to a net-zero target, while 26% of respondents said their targets were under development.

Ashurst also found that solar was the most popular method to decarbonise, with 72% of respondents currently investing in or committed to investing in the clean energy technology. The law firm also found that companies tended to be the most active when it comes to renewable investments, with 52% of the respondents falling into this category. The average turnover of those companies was $15.1 billion.

Meanwhile, 81% of energy-sector respondents to the survey said they see investment in renewables as essential to the organisation’s strategic growth.

Burns said the 2030 timeline to reach net zero was very important to the companies it surveyed. “We are increasingly seeing corporate and other stakeholders actively setting and embracing trajectories to achieve net zero. However, greater clarity and transparency on the standards for measuring and managing these net-zero commitments is needed to ensure consistency in approach and, importantly, outcome,” he said.

Legal battles over climate change and renewable investing are also likely to rise, with 68% of respondents saying they expect to see an increase in legal disputes over the next five years, while only 16% anticipate a decrease, the report said.

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