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As economy bites, companies use ‘shrinkflation’ to rip off Nigerians

Several companies have been using shrinkflation to rip off customers for years. In 2015, @Pepsi_Naija and @CocaCola employed it until @getbigi and @BigCola9ja disrupted the market—a move that reversed both household brands into default setting. However, Pepsi and Coca-cola aren’t the only FMCG involved in shrinkflation, as this deceptive but legal activity dates back to over a decade in the Nigerian market.



Shrinkflation in the market, Companies engaging in shrinkflation, Cola war in Nigeria, Pepsi Coca-cola Bigi and Big Cola

Several companies have been using shrinkflation to rip off customers for years. In 2015, Pepsi and Coca-cola effectively utilized the strategy until Bigi and Big Cola disrupted the marketa move that reversed both household brands into default setting.

However, Pepsi and Coca-cola aren’t the only fast-moving consumer goods makers involved in shrinkflation as this deceptive but legal activity dates back to over a decade in the Nigerian market. 


 Shrinkflation is a word coined from shrink and inflation. It simply implies a reduction in the quality or quantity of a product with the product price remaining the same. In the case of Nigeria, product price increases without justifiable reasons given by manufacturers. This is common among FMCG firms even with regulators’ connivance. Thus  it is the act of giving customers less value for their money.

[READ ALSO: 46-years after, Mr. Bigg’s is not so big anymore]

Shrinkflation is how some companies pass on costs of production to their customers in a manner that is not usually noticeable. It is deceptive from the customers’ perspective. But in the business world, it is a legal concept particularly in Nigeria where consumer protection is weak.

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Shrinkflation is the reduction of quality or quantity of a product or goods with the product price remaining the same or hike (Credit: Money Guru)

Food and beverage markets thrive when companies compete through prices and product size. When this happens, it is advantageous to the customers. But over the years, household companies have employed shrinkflation to stay afloat as brand loyalists are often absent-minded when purchasing goods. In some cases companies don’t hide this change, they also add extra prices to their goods. 

Why brands engage in shrinkflation 

When companies’ production costs rise, they often put the burden on customers to cut back operation expenses. One of their most effective methods is the reduction of products’ quality and quantity while the price remains unchanged. 

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[READ ALSO: It’s time to break Nescafe’s two-decade grip on Nigeria’s coffee market]

Companies prefer this strategy because it’s less visible to non-discerning customers since the difference is usually small or unnoticeable unlike price increments which can’t go unnoticed by customers. 

Occasionally, brands opted for shrinkflation over fears that price hike will provoke customers to switch loyalty to their competitors who maintain their prices though they may have reduced their product sizes. 


One reasons given by customers  or loyalists of a particular brand when such brand reduce the quality or size of its product is economy. They often cited the unhealthy economic situation in the country for sharp practices or misdemeanor by manufacturers or any other individual. 

For instance, the 2016 Cola War in Nigeria brought to fore the uniqueness of customers in the whole process as competitive prices and diverse sizes of bottles were released to the market by new entrants during the country’s economic recession of 2015 -2017. 

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A display of shrinkflation process (Photo Credit: Buddy Loans)

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Companies that engage in shrinkflation  

Drinks makers: Several brands have at one time or the other reduce the size of their products in order to accrue more profits in Nigeria. These companies don’t just reduce the size of their products, they also increase the prices.

Biscuits and confectionery firms: In the early part of this century, Coaster Biscuit  put seven pieces in a pack but as years went by the number began to drop even as each stick became leaner until the company felt three would be enough for its customers. This move was later accompanied by a price-hike. A Coaster pack with seven sticks was initially sold at N5, but today, a pack with three biscuits goes for N10. 

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[READ ALSO: How Cable TV could die in Nigeria]

Other brands that also adopted shrinkflation are Speedy, Coconut Biscuit, Fish Biscuit and Crackers. These brands have also hike their product prices. 

Burger and sardine companies: Apart from biscuits companies, the manufacturer of Burger peanut is successfully selling breeze to consumers who have termed it ‘airbag’ due to the excessive air inside the pack. Also on the list is Titus Sardine, which initially put four pieces of fish intin and sold it for N200. The product now juggles between three and two pieces for N250. 

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One day you might open a pack and won’t find anything in it (Photo Credit: This Is Money; UK)

In a chat  with our Analyst, a brand expert, Segun Akinleye, explained the term shrinkflation and the rationale behind its adoption by manufacturers.

He said: “Production costs are a major factor in pricing. So, it is not surprising that companies reduce the quality of products while retaining the price. Some, however, rather than reduce the quality, reduce the quantity without letting the public know.  

“The reason is simple: To cut production cost instead of transferring the additional cost of production to the consumers. Brands do this a lot all over the world, especially when the products have got substitutes. Secondly, as for those that reduce the quantity or quality, while increasing the price, I don’t think that’s a good business strategy. 

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[READ ALSO: Nigeria’s decision to sign the AfCFTA might be a grievous mistake…]

“What companies need to do is cut the component costs even if it’s by a slight percentage. This can have a substantial impact on cost of production. For example, redesigning a product is an effective way of reducing production costs.” 

Akinleye, who is also the founder of Kontact Media, said shrinkflation is also necessary to enable firms survive tough economic situations.

“This is because if such a strategy isn’t employed, some companies will exit the market,” he added.

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Shrinkflation is as a result of profit making

Competition as a solution to shrinkflation 

While shrinkflation has been successful in other FMCG markets, the beverage sector has struggled to implement such business strategy. Although the likes of Coca-cola and Pepsi tried the strategy but it backfired spectacularly when Big Cola and Bigi brands made their way into the market with competitive prices in the same period that Coca-cola and Pepsi company added numbers to their price points. 

The disruption caused by Bigi and Big Cola with bigger and affordable products showed that Pepsi and Coca-cola could actually offer consumers value for their money. Both companies later return to the drawing  board to win back the low-end of the market but it was too late as majority of the distributors had already adopted Big Cola and Bigi variants as ideal replacements for the expensive Pepsi and Coca-cola.

[READ ALSO: Superstores in Nigeria: Can SPAR and Shoprite’s business models keep them afloat?]

Akinleye added: “There are substitute products everywhere. If the price of Sunlight soap is too much, I can go for Ariel. If I can’t afford Milo, I can go for Bournvita, etc. That’s the beauty of capitalism..” 

Competition is not a lasting solution 

While competition compelled Pepsi and Coca-cola to backtrack to some extent, it does not always work for all FMCG markets as evident in the biscuit market. While there are surplus substitutes, most brands have their own unique tastes which cannot be easily substituted for others.

There were reports that some companies collude to fix market price. So, competition at times isn’t as effective as customers expect. In South Africa some years back, it was discovered that four of the country’s largest milling companies Premier Foods, Tiger Brands, Foodcorp and Pioneer Foods (makers of Nigerian loaf, Butterfield) had colluded to fix market price. 

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Shrinkflation is another source of revenue (Photo Credit: The London Economic)

South African Competition Commission uncovered their secret meeting points to be churches, stadia, hotels, and other places. These companies were later fined by the regulator. 

The action taken by the regulator is laudable because when household brands choose to dump competitive prices for a fixed price, it’s almost impossible for new and smaller entrants to disrupt the market or break the grips of these household products as their entry will not have far-reaching effect in the long-term.

[READ ALSO: Day-light robbery behind Apapa gridlock]

The way out

To find a lasting solution to this scenario, a Deputy Director at the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Abiodun Obimuyiwa, had in 2018 promised to probe manufacturers of sachet goods after acknowledging the menace of shrinkflation 

“Information reaching our offices showed that consumers feel short-changed with the goods purchased with their hard-earned money,  he said.



Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]



  1. David

    July 30, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    This is an investigative article that I appreciate. It’s true that the economy could be blamed outright, but there are some very annoying acts of shrinkflation particularly involving some of these new chips that look bulky going for ₦100 yet the quantity should be for ₦50 plus the air in it.

  2. Mayowa

    July 30, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I’m not sure it’s fair to tag the reduction of product prices as ‘deceptive’. It is the same way you noticed the reduction in size that other consumers would notice the same reduction. The choice is then finally up to the consumer to buy or not, especially when there are numerous FMCG substitutes.

    • Mayowa

      July 30, 2019 at 4:21 pm

      Prices, I meant to say, in the first sentence.

  3. WAHEED A Lawal

    July 31, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    That’s not rip-off but for company struggle to stay in business. The consumer should make a right choice. I am a Costco customer and used to spend $300-400 a month. But now no more overtime at my job, I spend between $80-100 for necessary items and use store promotion coupons and customer discounts

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COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 4th of August 2020, 304 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.



The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 44,433 confirmed cases.

On the 4th of August 2020, 304 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,601 samples across the country.


To date, 44,433 cases have been confirmed, 31,851 cases have been discharged and 910 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 289,133 tests have been carried out as of August 3rd, 2020 compared to 287,532 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 4th August 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 44,433
  • Total Number Discharged – 31,851
  • Total Deaths – 910
  • Total Tests Carried out – 289,133

According to the NCDC, the 304 new cases are reported from 19 states- FCT (90), Lagos (59), Ondo (39), Taraba (18), Rivers (17), Borno (15), Adamawa (12), Oyo (11), Delta (9), Edo (6), Bauchi (4), Kwara (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Bayelsa (3), Plateau (3), Niger (3), Nasarawa (2) and Kano (1)

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 15,414, followed by Abuja (4,087), Oyo (2,782), Edo (2,317), Rivers (1,859), Kano (1,598), Delta (1,529), Kaduna (1,498), Ogun (1,411), Plateau and Ondo (1,243), Enugu (846), Ebonyi (808), Kwara (790), Katsina (746), Borno (628), Gombe (620), Abia (602), Osun (584), and Bauchi (565).

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Imo State has recorded 469 cases, Benue (356), Bayelsa (342), Nasarawa (341),  Jigawa (322), Niger (226), Akwa Ibom (221), Adamawa (176), Sokoto (154), Ekiti (152), Anambra (135),  Kebbi (90), Zamfara (77), Taraba (72), Yobe (67), Cross River (58), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.



READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
August 4, 2020444333049101431851116727
August 3, 202044129288896820663225707
August 2, 202043841304888520308226457
August 1, 202043537386883420287225677
July 31, 202043151462879119565227077
July 30, 202042689481878519270225417
July 29, 202042208404873519004223317
July 28, 202041804624868818764221727
July 27, 202041180648860218203221177
July 26, 202040532555858217374223007
July 25, 2020399774388561116948221737
July 24, 2020395395918451216559221357
July 23, 2020389486048332016061220547
July 22, 202038344543813815815217167
July 21, 202037801576805415677213197
July 20, 2020372255628011215333210917
July 19, 2020366635567891115105207697
July 18, 202036107653778614938203917
July 17, 202035454600772314633200497
July 16, 202034854595769914292197937
July 15, 202034259643760613999195007
July 14, 2020336164637541013792190707
July 13, 202033153595744413671187387
July 12, 2020325585717401613447183717
July 11, 2020319876647241513103181607
July 10, 2020313235757092012795178197
July 9, 202030748499689512546175137
July 8, 2020302494606841512373171927
July 7, 2020297895036691512108170127
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

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FG increases hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million, moves against monopoly and antitrust

The new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code.



Coronavirus, covid-19, Minister of information briefing

The Federal Government on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, announced the increase of fine for hate speech from N500 to N5 million.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, at the unveiling ceremony of the revised National Broadcasting Code by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in Lagos on Tuesday.


This new regulation is part of the amended Nigerian Broadcasting Code which contains Antitrust provision aimed at boosting local content and encouraging the growth of the local industry, among other provisions.

This disclosure is contained in a press statement that was issued by the Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister for Information and Culture, Segun Adeyemi.

The Minister said that the Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. The provision will also open access to premium content.

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, ‘’I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting. I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights.”

In a bid the protect broadcast stations and promote sustainability for the station owners and content producers, the revised code contains law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts. It also contains law on the registration of Web Broadcasting, which will grant the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can be harmful to the country.

Going further the minister also said, ‘’The provisions on the responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies…obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

He revealed that the review of the broadcasting was done in the national interest as it was necessitated by the Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections, which sought for an inquiry into the regulatory role of NBC.

The Minister also disclosed that President Buhari had ordered the probe of the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after the polls.

Mohammed also pointed out, ‘’But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry. We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.


It can be recalled that in a bid to stem the tide of rising cases of hate speech and fake news, the Federal Government moved to introduce the fake news and hate speech bill, which they said creates apprehension, a lot of mistrust and divides the country along ethnic and religious lines.

Stakeholders and the general public were very critical of the bill because of some harsh clauses in the bill which includes the death penalty.

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Economy & Politics

NDDC reveals more lists of contracts awarded to federal legislators

The Commission said it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly.



NDDC corruption probe: Commission denies spending N81.5 billion in 6 months 

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said there is another list of emergency contracts that were awarded to National Assembly members in 2017 and 2019. This list was not submitted to National Assembly following the recent probe of the NDDC.

This disclosure was made in a press statement by the NDDC earlier today which was signed by the commission’s Director for Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili. According to the statement, the initial list that was submitted by the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, was actually compiled by the former management of the commission in 2018, not the minister himself.


READ ALSO: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

The statement by the NDDC went further to note that the Interim Management Committee of the Commission stands by the list which came from the files already in the possession of the forensic auditors.

The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list. The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” the statement said in parts.

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READ MORE: 2021 Budget: FG projects spending plan of N11.86 trillion and deficit of N5.16 trillion

In the meantime, the NDDC has urged prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta, whose names appeared on that list, not to panic, because the NDDC is aware that their names were used to secure contracts. The ongoing forensic audit would help to unearth those behind those contracts, the NDDC said in the statement.

Furthermore, the commission disclosed that it released the list to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the NDDC, some of which were never executed. Interestingly, the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts that were signed for and collected in one day by one person, ostensibly for members of the National Assembly.

While assuring that the forensic audit exercise is on course, the NDDC noted that the commission had positioned 185 media support specialists to identify the sites of every project captured in its books for verification by the forensic auditors.

READ MORE: NDDC Probe: Akpabio accuses NASS members of getting most of the commission’s contracts

The NDDC then enjoined members of the public not to be distracted or swayed by a lot of misinformation and falsehood that are being orchestrated by mischief makers, even as more of such will be expected by those opposed to the IMC.


It can be recalled that Akpabio, while appearing before the members of the house of representatives ad-hoc committee probing the N40 billion corruption allegation against the IMC of NDDC, said that most of the contracts that are being awarded at the commission were given to members of the national assembly.

READ ALSO: Akpabio denies accusing Reps of receiving 60% of NDDC contracts

Not that likely, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the minister to provide within 48 hours, the names of the legislators that benefitted from such contracts with full details or face legal action.

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Senator Akpabio, in response to the ultimatum, sent an official letter to the Speaker, providing the names of the national assembly members that benefitted from such contracts.

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