The Norwegians have come up with a word that describes how food producers disguise more inflation by putting less bacon or lefse rolls, for example, in the same packaging. Such crimping of contents is now called “krympflasjon,” and Norway’s language council found it worthy of recognition as its “Word of the Year.”
War, economy and electricity were the themes on which the council (Språkrådet) based its choices for the top 10 new words of 2022. The words reflected how some authoritarian leaders refuse to accept an election loss (valfornektar), how consumers have become much more familiar with their electricity bills (straumsmart) and how many people now tap each other’s knuckles instead of shaking hands (knokehelsing) to help avoid virus infection.
But it was krympflasjon that won top honours, after a series of media reports showing how consumers are getting less for more at the grocery store. Instead of simply raising prices again, food producers have resorted to putting just five slices of bacon instead of six in their packages, bagging smaller amounts of chocolates or slicing a box of margarine by 60 grams. Not only are consumers paying the same or even a higher price for less, they can feel cheated.
“There are many who are experiencing harder times right now because of the price hikes we’ve seen,” council director Åse Wetås told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). She called krympflasjon a new word for “an old phenomenon,” since new packaging often coincides with less contents. The council’s choice won praise from NRK’s business commentator Cecilie Langum Becker, who noted that the Word of the Year “reflects our times, in which folks feel they’re getting less and less for their money.”