February 28, 2024

Warren, Senators Introduce Bill to Crack Down on Shrinkflation

Bill empowers Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to crack down on corporations reducing product size without a reduction in price 

Federal Reserve research found corporate profits accounted for all of inflation from July 2020 through July 2021 and 41 percent of all inflation from July 2020 through July 2022

Bill Text (PDF)

Washington, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in introducing the Shrinkflation Prevention Act to crack down on corporations that deceive consumers by selling smaller sizes of their products without lowering prices. The bill follows recent reports on the effects of corporate greed on product size and rising inflation, and comes as companies continue to rake in super-sized profits by either raising prices excessively or shrinking the products they sell – all at the expense of American consumers. 

“From Doritos to Oreos to even a roll of toilet paper, big companies are giving you less but offering the same or higher price. Corporate executives thought we wouldn’t notice, but they’re wrong,” said Senator Warren. “I’ll continue fighting for Massachusetts families by giving the Biden administration the tools it needs to crack down on shrinkflation and other forms of corporate greed.” 

“Corporations are trying to pull the wool over our eyes by shrinking their products without reducing their prices—anyone on a tight budget sees it every time they go to the grocery store,” said Senator Casey. “Pennsylvania families are sick and tired of digging deeper into their wallets for their weekly grocery runs while corporate CEOs laugh all the way to the bank. I’m fighting to crack down on shrinkflation and hold corporations accountable for these deceptive practices.”

The Shrinkflation Prevention Act would:

  1. Direct the FTC to promulgate regulations to establish shrinkflation as an unfair or deceptive act or practice and to prohibit manufacturers from engaging in shrinkflation.

  2. Authorize the FTC to pursue civil actions against corporations engaging in shrinkflation.

  3. Authorize state attorneys general to bring civil actions against corporations engaging in shrinkflation.

"Corporations are using deceptive practices like shrinkflation to increase profits on the backs of consumers,” said Lindsay Owens, Executive Director, Groundwork Collaborative. “Charging families the same price—or an even higher one—for smaller products should be illegal and the Shrinkflation Prevention Act is a first step to putting a stop to this deceptive practice once and for all."  

“When corporations reduce their product’s size while maintaining the same retail price, they are simply attempting to rip off their consumers,” said Lisa Gilbert, Executive Vice President, Public Citizen. “Public Citizen welcomes this common-sense legislative effort from Senator Casey which would empower the FTC to define shrinkflation as the inherently deceptive act that it is, and move forward to regulate it.” 

This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

The bill is endorsed by Groundwork Collaborative, Public Citizen, Consumer Federation of America, and WorkMoney.

As a champion for American consumers and a secure and healthy economy, Senator Warren has engaged in oversight of corporations for unfairly increasing prices for consumers. She has also been calling for more competition and stronger enforcement of antitrust laws to bring down prices for families: 

  • On February 15, 2024, Senators Warren, Baldwin, Casey, and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) reintroduced the Price Gouging Prevention Act of 2024, which would protect consumers and prohibit corporate price gouging by authorizing the FTC and state attorneys general to enforce a federal ban against grossly excessive price increases.
  • In December 2023, Senator Warren urged the FTC to block the Kroger-Albertsons merger, which would give the five largest food retail companies control of 55 percent of all grocery sales, allowing them to further control and ultimately raise consumer prices, while also reducing job competition, decreasing wages, and decreasing the bargaining power of organized labor.
  • In November 2023, Senator Warren called out TransDigm for its refusal to provide cost and pricing information needed to prevent price gouging of taxpayers and the Department of Defense.
  • In November 2023, Senator Warren expressed disappointment at the FTC’s decision to allow pharmaceutical giant Amgen to move forward with its acquisition of Horizon Therapeutics (Horizon) given the potential impacts on the price of medicine.
  • In the past few years, Senator Warren has urged the Biden administration to closely scrutinize other potentially anticompetitive mergers that could lead to higher prices for consumers and accelerate industry consolidation. She has led letters about the proposed mergers of Frontier and Spirit airlines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines, Sanderson-Wayne, WarnerMedia-Discovery, and Amazon-MGM.
  • In March 2022, Senator Warren introduced the Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act to help stomp out rampant industry consolidation that allows companies to raise consumer prices and mistreat workers. The bill would ban the biggest, most anticompetitive mergers and give the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission the teeth to reject deals in the first instance without court orders and to break up harmful mergers.
  • In February 2022, at a hearing, Senator Warren called out corporations for abusing their market power to raise consumer prices and boost profits.
  • That same month, Senator Warren requested the Department of Justice to take aggressive action against corporations violating antitrust laws to hike prices for consumers.
  • In January 2022, Senator Warren questioned Federal Reserve nominee Lael Brainard about market concentration and price gouging driving inflation.
  • At a January 2022 hearing, Senator Warren pressed Fed Chair Jerome Powell on the role of corporate concentration in driving up prices for consumers during his renomination hearing to be Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  • In a New York Times op-ed published in April 2020, Senator Warren urged Congress to focus on cracking down on price gouging in its ongoing effort to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In March 2020, Senator Warren joined her colleagues in urging the FTC to use its full authority to prevent abusive price gouging on consumer health products during the COVID-19 pandemic.