Planned prohibition: Deceptive packaging should be removed from supermarkets.

Supermarkt in Hamburg: »Hier werden die Verbraucherinnen und Verbraucher in die Irre geführt«, sagt Umweltministerin Lemke über Mogelpackungen

„I cannot reword“

Foto: Lars Berg / IMAGO

During times of rampant inflation, they are particularly common: hidden price increases in retail through deceptive packaging. „Deceptive packaging is a major nuisance, as it misleads consumers,“ said Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Green Party) to „Handelsblatt“. „I want to put a stop to this.“ There should be corresponding regulations as part of the revision of the Packaging Act.

In the future, according to Lemke, it should be clearly regulated that „consistent large packaging with reduced content is not allowed“. This also applies if the content remains the same and the packaging is enlarged. Lemke emphasized that such practices are problematic both from a consumer protection perspective and from a waste prevention perspective.

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A draft law is currently undergoing internal departmental coordination within the government. The SPD consumer policy politician Carsten Träger referred to the desired change in legislation as a „necessary step for environmental and consumer protection“. It will be clarified that „reducing the quantity of contents while maintaining the same packaging size is not permissible“, Träger told the „Handelsblatt“.

The consumer policy politician of the FDP, Katharina Willkomm, opposed the legislative plans of the coalition partner. „In a free market economy, manufacturers are free to determine the price of their goods and the size of the packaging, or to change both,“ Willkomm told the „Handelsblatt“. „There is no need for a legal ban on shrinkage.“

In addition, the FDP politician mentioned that there is sufficient social control through negative awards such as the „Deceptive Packaging of the Year“ by consumer organizations. Consumers who feel deceived by a product should consistently switch brands during their next purchase.


The Consumer Center Hamburg and the Foundation for Product Testing recently drew attention to a significant increase in deceptive packaging and provided some examples. For instance, the package of cocoa powder „Suchard Express“ decreased from 500 to 400 grams, making it 25 percent more expensive. The shower gel „Duschdas Sport“ became more expensive by 22 percent due to a reduced content.

Versteckte Preiserhöhungen fallen unter den Begriff Shrinkflation. Der Begriff setzt sich zusammen aus dem englischen Wort »shrink« für Schrumpfen und Inflation. Die Zeitschrift »test« nannte zuletzt weitere Shrinkflation-Beispiele .