You know that: the price stays the same, the content is reduced. Sometimes drastic. The cheat pack is ready. Thankfully, the Hamburg consumer advice center is making the effort and making the matter public. So again this month.
This month, the Spreadable Fat Rama from the US manufacturer Upfield has been awarded the title "Sham Pack of the Month" by the Hamburg Consumer Advice Center (VZHH). Because recently the manufacturer has only been filling 400 grams of margarine per tub for its classic product instead of the previous 500 grams. However, the price has remained constant at many different retailers, mostly at 2.19 euros. The bottom line is that this corresponds to a hidden price increase of 25 percent.
Despite this, the cup remains the same size. From the point of view of consumer advocates, Upfield is thus faking more content. The lower filling quantity also comes at the expense of sustainability, because significantly less margarine is now filled in the same packaging.
According to the VZHH, this is not the first time the manufacturer has used tricks to secretly increase the prices for its products. Other spread fat brands from Upfield such as Sanella, Lätta and Becel are currently affected by the hidden price increases. Depending on the brand and filling quantity, the price increase is between 11 and 25 percent.
Apart from that, the Rama product is advertised with "100% natural ingredients", which is misleading from the point of view of the VZHH. With the reduced capacity, Upfield has also changed the recipe of the Rama. In the meantime, the preservative potassium sorbate has been dispensed with, but it still contains mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids (E 471), which are usually chemically produced in the laboratory from fatty acids and glycerol.
Consumers often have to be annoyed about hidden price increases. Assuming they discover them too. The VZHH offers the opportunity to draw attention to products with which customers are deceived in this way (less content for the same price). She then makes these products public and chooses them the deceptive pack of the month and of the year.
(This article was first published on Thursday, August 11, 2022.)