The Reading / Listening - Shrinkflation - Level 6

A new phenomenon is taking hold across the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce the size of their products or range of services while maintaining prices. It is in reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in the production process. Another tactic being used is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes, providing an illusion to shoppers that they are getting more for their money. Shrinking the size of products is in effect a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are relying on psychology here. They know that consumers are more sensitive to price than quantity or quality. Most shoppers will still make a regular purchase, even if it has shrunk, as long as the price has not risen.

The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has resorted to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to maintain its bottom line. A company spokesperson said: "We look to absorb costs…in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decision to slightly reduce the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them competitive." The service industry is also being inventive to try to refrain from raising prices. The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping services "opt in". This means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room. Many other free services we have taken for granted are on the wane and being shrunk.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Shrinkflation - Level 4  or  Shrinkflation - Level 5

Sources
  • https://qz.com/2129426/inflation-and-supply-chain-snags-are-shrinking-your-products/
  • https://www.ft.com/content/042af8db-a201-4d9d-9f61-cc783be0d725
  • https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/mar/28/cadbury-family-size-dairy-milk-bars-get-10-smaller-but-price-stays-the-same


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice activities, drag and drop activities, sentence jumbles, which word activities, text reconstructions, spelling, gap fills and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)

Warm-ups

1. SHRINKFLATION: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about shrinkflation. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       phenomenon / shrinkflation / products / services / price / tactic / cost-cutting / quality
       chocolate bar / bottom line / costs / competitive / hotel / housekeeping / cleaning
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. PRICE RISE: Students A strongly believe price rises are preferable to shrinking products; Students B strongly believe the opposite. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. SERVICES: What services in these industries could companies cut to save costs? How would tiy feel about this? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Cuts

How I'd Feel

Hotels

 

 

Gyms

 

 

Internet providers

 

 

English schools

 

 

Hospitals

 

 

Airlines

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. INFLATION: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "inflation". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. SHRINKAGE: Rank these with your partner. Put the things or services you would least want to shrink at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Chocolate bars
  • Cereal
  • Hotel services
  • Gym benefits
  • Coffee
  • Internet services
  • Healthcare
  • French fries

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. phenomenon a. A set of different things of the same general type.
      2. range b. A sly appearance or impression of something.
      3. reaction c. An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific result.
      4. tactic d. Something done, felt, or thought in response to a situation or event.
      5. illusion e. A fact or situation that we see, but its cause or explanation is in question.
      6. relying f. Get something by paying for it; buy.
      7. purchase g. Being dependent on.

    Paragraph 2

      8. resorted h. Choose to participate in something.
      9. flagship i. Chose a course of action (especially an extreme or undesirable one) so as to resolve a difficult situation.
      10. bottom line j. Having the ability to create or design new things or to think originally.
      11. absorb k. Assume that something is always there without thinking about it.
      12. inventive l. The final total of an account or balance sheet; profit.  
      13. opt in m. Take up and reduce the effect or intensity of.
      14. taken for granted n. The best or most important thing owned or produced by a particular organization.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. The article says shrinkflation is in all countries in the world.     T / F
  2. Shrinkflation is in part due to rising raw material prices.     T / F
  3. Manufacturers are using illusionary tactics to cut costs.     T / F
  4. Most shoppers will buy shrunken goods as long as the price doesn't rise.  T / F
  5. The chocolate maker Cadbury has shrunk all its products by 10 per cent. T / F
  6. The last time Cadbury cut the weight of its products was in 2012.     T / F
  7. Some hotels are not automatically giving guests traditional services.     T / F
  8. Other hotel services we take for granted are not being affected.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. range
  2. reaction
  3. illusion
  4. relying
  5. purchase
  6. resorted
  7. absorb
  8. slightly
  9. inventive
  10. taken for granted
  1. deception
  2. to some degree
  3. answer
  4. incorporate
  5. turned
  6. expected
  7. variety
  8. creative
  9. depending
  10. acquisition

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. A new phenomenon is taking
  2. It is in reaction to the rising prices
  3. a cost-
  4. consumers are more sensitive
  5. shoppers will still make a regular purchase,
  6. one of its flagship
  7. maintain its bottom
  8. We look to absorb
  9. being inventive to try to refrain
  10. on the
  1. even if it has shrunk
  2. line
  3. products
  4. of raw materials
  5. from raising prices
  6. hold across the world
  7. wane
  8. cutting strategy
  9. to price
  10. costs

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
range
purchase
relying
hold
sensitive
illusion
tactic
effect

A new phenomenon is taking (1) _____________________ across the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce the size of their products or (2) _____________________ of services while maintaining prices. It is in reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in the production process. Another (3) _____________________ being used is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes, providing an (4) _____________________ to shoppers that they are getting more for their money. Shrinking the size of products is in (5) _____________________ a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are (6) _____________________ on psychology here. They know that consumers are more (7) _____________________ to price than quantity or quality. Most shoppers will still make a regular (8) _____________________, even if it has shrunk, as long as the price has not risen.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
refrain
slightly
chains
resorted
wane
absorb
opt
competitive

The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has (9) _____________________ to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to maintain its bottom line. A company spokesperson said: "We look to (10) _____________________ costs...in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decision to (11) _____________________ reduce the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them (12) _____________________." The service industry is also being inventive to try to (13) _____________________ from raising prices. The hotel (14) _____________________ Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping services "(15) _____________________ in". This means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room. Many other free services we have taken for granted are on the (16) _____________________ and being shrunk.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  This is when companies reduce the size of their products or ______...
     a.  derange of services
     b.  rage of services
     c.  range of services
     d.  grange of services
2)  It is in reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in ______
     a.  the production prowess
     b.  the production progress
     c.  the production processed
     d.  the production process
3)  is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes, providing an ______
     a.  illusion to shoppers
     b.  allusion to shoppers
     c.  delusion to shoppers
     d.  a luge on to shoppers
4)  Shrinking the size of products is in effect a ______
     a.  cost-cutting strategy
     b.  cost-cutting strategic
     c.  cost-cutting strategise
     d.  cost-cutting strategies
5)  Most shoppers will still make a regular purchase, even if ______
     a.  it has shrank
     b.  it has shrunk
     c.  it has shrink
     d.  it has shirk

6)  The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has resorted to shrinking the size of one of ______
     a.  its frog-shaped products
     b.  its flogs lip products
     c.  its flagship products
     d.  its frogs lip products
7)  A company spokesperson said: "We look ______
     a.  to absorb coasts
     b.  to absorb costs
     c.  to absorb cots
     d.  to absorb cossets
8)  in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decision to slightly ______
     a.  reduce the weighty
     b.  reduce the wait
     c.  reduce the whey
     d.  reduce the weight
9)  The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping ______
     a.  services "opting"
     b.  services "option"
     c.  services "op tin"
     d.  services "opt in"
10)  Many other free services we have taken for granted are ______
     a.  on the vane
     b.  on the mane
     c.  on the bane
     d.  on the wane

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

A new phenomenon is (1) ____________________ the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce the size of their products or range of services while maintaining prices. It is (2) ____________________ the rising prices of raw materials needed in the production process. Another tactic being used is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes, (3) ____________________ to shoppers that they are getting more for their money. Shrinking the size of products (4) ____________________ a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are relying on psychology here. They know that consumers are more (5) ____________________ than quantity or quality. Most shoppers will still make (6) ____________________, even if it has shrunk, as long as the price has not risen.

The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has (7) ____________________ the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to maintain its bottom line. A company spokesperson said: "We look (8) ____________________...in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decision (9) ____________________ the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them competitive." The service industry is also (10) ____________________ try to refrain from raising prices. The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping (11) ____________________. This means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room. Many other free services we have taken for granted are (12) ____________________ and being shrunk.

Comprehension questions

  1. What is taking hold across the world?
  2. What are small numbers of items being put into?
  3. What does the article say manufacturers are relying on?
  4. What are we more sensitive to than the quality of goods and services?
  5. What must happen for shoppers to continue making regular purchases?
  6. What has Cadbury shrunk by 10 per cent?
  7. What does Cadbury want to absorb?
  8. What did Cadbury do in 2012?
  9. What does the article say is trying to be inventive?
  10. What does the article say we have taken for granted?

Multiple choice quiz

1) What is taking hold across the world?
a) phenomena
b) raw materials
c) shrinkflation
d) stagflation
2) What are small numbers of items being put into?
a) larger boxes
b) tactics
c) illusions
d) strategies
3) What does the article say manufacturers are relying on?
a) psychology
b) economic recovery
c) intuition
d) money
4) What are we more sensitive to than the quality of goods and services?
a) quantity
b) price
c) changes in the weather
d) quality
5) What must happen for shoppers to continue making regular purchases?
a) life
b) shops must open
c) consumer confidence
d) prices do not rise

6) What has Cadbury shrunk by 10 per cent?
a) the size of cocoa beans
b) its flagship product
c) the chocolate market
d) its profits
7) What does Cadbury want to absorb?
a) costs
b) heat
c) milk
d) taste
8) What did Cadbury do in 2012?
a) it launched a new product
b) it merged with a hotel chain
c) it reduced the weight of chocolate bars
d) it became competitive
9) What does the article say is trying to be inventive?
a) inventors
b) the chocolate market
c) guests
d) the service industry
10) What does the article say we have taken for granted?
a) free services
b) delicious chocolate
c) hotel beds
d) being on the wane

Role play

Role  A – Chocolate Bars
You think a chocolate bar is the thing you would least like to shrink. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them seeing a shrinkage in their things would not be so bad. Also, tell the others which is the least bad of these (and why): hotels, French fries or airlines.

Role  B – Hotels
You think hotel services are the thing you would least like to shrink. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them seeing a shrinkage in their things would not be so bad. Also, tell the others which is the least bad of these (and why): chocolate bars, French fries or airlines.

Role  C – French Fries
You think French fries are the thing you would least like to shrink. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them seeing a shrinkage in their things would not be so bad. Also, tell the others which is the least bad of these (and why): hotels, chocolate bars or airlines.

Role  D – Airlines
You think airline services are the thing you would least like to shrink. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them seeing a shrinkage in their things would not be so bad. Also, tell the others which is the least bad of these (and why): hotels, French fries or chocolate bars.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'shrink'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'inflation'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • new
    • maintaining
    • tactic
    • effect
    • sensitive
    • long
    • flagship
    • absorb
    • slightly
    • try
    • means
    • wane

    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Shrinkflation

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'shrink'?
    3. What do you know about shrinkflation?
    4. Has shrinkflation affected you?
    5. Would you prefer the same and pay more, or less at the same price?
    6. Why are we experiencing shrinkflation?
    7. How much smaller can things like chocolate bars be?
    8. What do you think of a small number of things in a big box?
    9. How price sensitive are you?
    10. What advice do you have for manufacturers?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'inflation'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. What do you think about shrinkflation?
    5. Do you think chocolate bars should be a standard size?
    6. Do you feel duped by shrinking product sizes?
    7. What do you think of opt-in services at hotels?
    8. How could English schools shrink their products or services?
    9. What hotel services do you take for granted?
    10. What questions would you like to ask manufacturers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________

    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    A new (1) ____ is taking hold across the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce the size of their products or (2) ____ of services while maintaining prices. It is (3) ____ reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in the production process. Another tactic being used is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes, providing an (4) ____ to shoppers that they are getting more for their money. Shrinking the size of products is in effect a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are (5) ____ on psychology here. They know that consumers are more sensitive to price than quantity or quality. Most shoppers will still make a regular purchase, even if it has (6) ____, as long as the price has not risen.

    The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has (7) ____ to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to maintain its (8) ____ line. A company spokesperson said: "We look to absorb costs...in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decision to (9) ____ reduce the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them competitive." The service industry is also being (10) ____ to try to refrain from raising prices. The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping services "(11) ____ in". This means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room. Many other free services we have taken for granted are on the (12) ____ and being shrunk.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    (a)     phenol     (b)     phenomenal     (c)     phoneme     (d)     phenomenon    
    (a)     service     (b)     quantify     (c)     vast     (d)     range    
    (a)     at     (b)     in     (c)     of     (d)     to    
    (a)     elision     (b)     allusion     (c)     illusion     (d)     illustrate    
    (a)     relaying     (b)     rely     (c)     relying     (d)     relay    
    (a)     shrunk     (b)     shrank     (c)     shrink     (d)     shirk    
    (a)     retorted     (b)     resorted     (c)     reported     (d)     reputed    
    (a)     bottom     (b)     top     (c)     middle     (d)     diagonal    
    (a)     sleight     (b)     slightly     (c)     sprightly     (d)     smitten    
    (a)     inverted     (b)     invention     (c)     inventive     (d)     inventory    
    (a)     upped     (b)     apt     (c)     opt     (d)     app    
    (a)     mane     (b)     bane     (c)     vane     (d)     wane

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. A new npnnmeooeh
    2. providing an ulinliso to shoppers
    3. a cost-cutting gtryaets
    4. Manufacturers are relying on ycogholysp
    5. consumers are more seevtiisn to price
    6. make a regular schpareu

    Paragraph 2

    1. one of its ifsgalph products
    2. We look to bsarbo costs
    3. hilglsty reduce the weight
    4. The service industry is also being tnenivvei
    5. irraefn from raising prices
    6. taken for deargnt

    Put the text back together

    (...)  of items in larger boxes, providing an illusion to shoppers that they are getting more for their
    1  ) A new phenomenon is taking hold across the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce
    (...)  or quality. Most shoppers will still make a regular purchase, even if it has shrunk, as long as the price has not risen.
    (...)  materials needed in the production process. Another tactic being used is to place smaller numbers
    (...)  The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has resorted to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to
    (...)  the size of their products or range of services while maintaining prices. It is in reaction to the rising prices of raw
    (...)  on psychology here. They know that consumers are more sensitive to price than quantity
    (...)  their room. Many other free services we have taken for granted are on the wane and being shrunk.
    (...)  inventive to try to refrain from raising prices. The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily
    (...)  money. Shrinking the size of products is in effect a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are relying
    (...)  since 2012, so that we can keep them competitive." The service industry is also being
    (...)  environment [so] we've had to make the decision to slightly reduce the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time
    (...)  housekeeping services "opt in". This means that guests must now request the cleaning of
    (...)  maintain its bottom line. A company spokesperson said: "We look to absorb costs...in this difficult

    Put the words in the right order

    1. phenomenon   taking   is   the   world   .   hold   across   A
    2. reduce   Companies   of   services   .   the   products   size   and
    3. reaction   prices   .   to   in   is   the   rising   It
    4. quantity   .   Consumers   sensitive   to   more   price   than   are
    5. a   will   Most   make   still   shoppers   purchase   .   regular
    6. the   one   size   Shrinking   its   products   .   of   of
    7. environment   .   this   look   We   to   in   costs   absorb
    8. being   industry   is   The   inventive   .   service   also
    9. cleaning   of   the   room   .   Guests   request   their   must
    10. for   granted   .   services   free   have   Many   taken   we

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    A new phenomenon is taking holding / hold across the world - "shrinkflation". This is when companies reduce the seize / size of their products or range of services while maintaining prices. It is in / on reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in / on the production process. Another tactic being used is to place smaller number / numbers of items in larger boxes, providing an illicit / illusion to shoppers that they are getting more for their money. Shrinking the size of products is in affect / effect a cost-cutting strategy. Manufacturers are relying / relaying on psychology here. They know that consumers are more sensitive to price than quantify / quantity or quality. Most shoppers will still make a regular purchase, even if it has shrunk, as long as the price has not risen / arisen.

    The chocolate bar maker Cadbury has resorted / resorting to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products / produce by 10 per cent to maintain its bottom line. A company spokesperson said: "We look to / for absorb costs...in this difficult environment [so] we've had to make the decisive / decision to slightly reduce the weight of [chocolate] bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them / it competitive." The service industry is also being / been inventive to try to refrain for / from raising prices. The hotel chains Hilton and Marriott have made daily housekeeping services "opt in / opt out". This means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room. Many other free services we have taken / given for granted are on the wane and being shrunk / shrank.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    _  n_w  ph_n_m_n_n  _s  t_k_ng  h_ld  _cr_ss  th_  w_rld  -  "shr_nkfl_t__n".  Th_s  _s  wh_n  c_mp_n__s  r_d_c_  th_  s_z_  _f  th__r  pr_d_cts  _r  r_ng_  _f  s_rv_c_s  wh_l_  m__nt__n_ng  pr_c_s.  _t  _s  _n  r__ct__n  t_  th_  r_s_ng  pr_c_s  _f  r_w  m_t_r__ls  n__d_d  _n  th_  pr_d_ct__n  pr_c_ss.  _n_th_r  t_ct_c  b__ng  _s_d  _s  t_  pl_c_  sm_ll_r  n_mb_rs  _f  _t_ms  _n  l_rg_r  b_x_s,  pr_v_d_ng  _n  _ll_s__n  t_  sh_pp_rs  th_t  th_y  _r_  g_tt_ng  m_r_  f_r  th__r  m_n_y.  Shr_nk_ng  th_  s_z_  _f  pr_d_cts  _s  _n  _ff_ct  _  c_st-c_tt_ng  str_t_gy.  M_n_f_ct_r_rs  _r_  r_ly_ng  _n  psych_l_gy  h_r_.  Th_y  kn_w  th_t  c_ns_m_rs  _r_  m_r_  s_ns_t_v_  t_  pr_c_  th_n  q__nt_ty  _r  q__l_ty.  M_st  sh_pp_rs  w_ll  st_ll  m_k_  _  r_g_l_r  p_rch_s_,  _v_n  _f  _t  h_s  shr_nk,  _s  l_ng  _s  th_  pr_c_  h_s  n_t  r_s_n.

    Th_  ch_c_l_t_  b_r  m_k_r  C_db_ry  h_s  r_s_rt_d  t_  shr_nk_ng  th_  s_z_  _f  _n_  _f  _ts  fl_gsh_p  pr_d_cts  by  10  p_r  c_nt  t_  m__nt__n  _ts  b_tt_m  l_n_.  _  c_mp_ny  sp_k_sp_rs_n  s__d:  "W_  l__k  t_  _bs_rb  c_sts..._n  th_s  d_ff_c_lt  _nv_r_nm_nt  [s_]  w_'v_  h_d  t_  m_k_  th_  d_c_s__n  t_  sl_ghtly  r_d_c_  th_  w__ght  _f  [ch_c_l_t_]  b_rs  f_r  th_  f_rst  t_m_  s_nc_  2012,  s_  th_t  w_  c_n  k__p  th_m  c_mp_t_t_v_."  Th_  s_rv_c_  _nd_stry  _s  _ls_  b__ng  _nv_nt_v_  t_  try  t_  r_fr__n  fr_m  r__s_ng  pr_c_s.  Th_  h_t_l  ch__ns  H_lt_n  _nd  M_rr__tt  h_v_  m_d_  d__ly  h__s_k__p_ng  s_rv_c_s  "_pt  _n".  Th_s  m__ns  th_t  g__sts  m_st  n_w  r_q__st  th_  cl__n_ng  _f  th__r  r__m.  M_ny  _th_r  fr__  s_rv_c_s  w_  h_v_  t_k_n  f_r  gr_nt_d  _r_  _n  th_  w_n_  _nd  b__ng  shr_nk.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    a new phenomenon is taking hold across the world  shrinkflation this is when companies reduce the size of their products or range of services while maintaining prices it is in reaction to the rising prices of raw materials needed in the production process another tactic being used is to place smaller numbers of items in larger boxes providing an illusion to shoppers that they are getting more for their money shrinking the size of products is in effect a costcutting strategy manufacturers are relying on psychology here they know that consumers are more sensitive to price than quantity or quality most shoppers will still make a regular purchase even if it has shrunk as long as the price has not risen

    the chocolate bar maker cadbury has resorted to shrinking the size of one of its flagship products by 10 per cent to maintain its bottom line a company spokesperson said we look to absorb costsin this difficult environment so weve had to make the decision to slightly reduce the weight of chocolate bars for the first time since 2012 so that we can keep them competitive the service industry is also being inventive to try to refrain from raising prices the hotel chains hilton and marriott have made daily housekeeping services opt in this means that guests must now request the cleaning of their room many other free services we have taken for granted are on the wane and being shrunk

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Anewphenomenonistakingholdacrosstheworld-"shrinkflation".Thisi
    swhencompaniesreducethesizeoftheirproductsorrangeofservicesw
    hilemaintainingprices.Itisinreactiontotherisingpricesofrawmaterials
    neededintheproductionprocess.Anothertacticbeingusedistoplacesm
    allernumbersofitemsinlargerboxes,providinganillusiontoshopperst
    hattheyaregettingmorefortheirmoney.Shrinkingthesizeofproductsi
    sineffectacost-cuttingstrategy.Manufacturersarerelyingonpsychol
    ogyhere.Theyknowthatconsumersaremoresensitivetopricethanqua
    ntityorquality.Mostshopperswillstillmakearegularpurchase,evenifit
    hasshrunk,aslongasthepricehasnotrisen.ThechocolatebarmakerCa
    dburyhasresortedtoshrinkingthesizeofoneofitsflagshipproductsby1
    0percenttomaintainitsbottomline.Acompanyspokespersonsaid:"We
    looktoabsorbcosts...inthisdifficultenvironment[so]we'vehadtomak
    ethedecisiontoslightlyreducetheweightof[chocolate]barsforthefirstt
    imesince2012,sothatwecankeepthemcompetitive."Theserviceindus
    tryisalsobeinginventivetotrytorefrainfromraisingprices.Thehotelcha
    insHiltonandMarriotthavemadedailyhousekeepingservices"optin".T
    hismeansthatguestsmustnowrequestthecleaningoftheirroom.Many
    otherfreeserviceswehavetakenforgrantedareonthewaneandbeings
    hrunk.

    Free writing

    Write about shrinkflation for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    Higher prices are preferable to shrinkflation. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. SHRINKFLATION: Make a poster about shrinkflation. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. SHRUNK PRODUCTS: Write a magazine article about not shrinking products. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on shrinkflation. Ask him/her three questions about it. Give him/her three of your opinions on it. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    A Few Additional Activities for Students

    Ask your students what they have read, seen or heard about this news in their own language. Students are likely to / may have have encountered this news in their L1 and therefore bring a background knowledge to the classroom.

    Get students to role play different characters from this news story.

    Ask students to keep track of this news and revisit it to discuss in your next class.

    Ask students to male predictions of how this news might develop in the next few days or weeks, and then revisit and discuss in a future class.

    Ask students to write a follow-up story to this news.

    Students role play a journalist and someone who witnessed or was a part of this news. Perhaps they could make a video of the interview.

    Ask students to keep a news journal in English and add this story to their thoughts.

    Also...

    Buy my 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers eBook. It has hundreds of ideas, activity templates, reproducible activities for:

    • News
    • Warm ups
    • Pre-reading / Post-reading
    • Using headlines
    • Working with words
    • While-reading / While-listening
    • Moving from text to speech
    • Post-reading / Post-listening
    • Discussions
    • Using opinions
    • Plans
    • Language
    • Using lists
    • Using quotes
    • Task-based activities
    • Role plays
    • Using the central characters in the article
    • Using themes from the news
    • Homework

    Buy my book

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    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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