Shrinkflation

Posted by Lord Bearkeeper OBE DASc on
Category: Food & Drink13 Comments

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Here at Jammy Toast we have invented a new word for you all to mull over – shrinkflation. Manufacturers, instead of putting their prices up, are reducing the size of the items they sell. Many people wonder have their hands grown or has their favourite chocolate bar shrunk since they were children? News released on Monday proved what many have suspected: thousands of supermarket items have been getting smaller because manufacturers are reducing the size of a product while keeping the price the same.

Shrinkflation is particularly common in the confectionary industry, with chocolate bars and sweets the most high profile culprits. But the phenomenon can be seen in other household items too – although it often goes undetected. While the Office for National Statistics has released data on the type of products that are shrinking, it won’t be drawn on individual brand names.

However, research from consumer group Which? revealed five products that have sneakily shrunk over time.

McVitie’s packet of dark chocolate digestive biscuits have shrunk from 332g to 300g, a 10% reduction – which is good for your waistline but not necessarily your wallet. In Tesco the biscuits were sold for £1.59 before they shrank and have increased to £1.69 after, according to Which? However, the 300g packet is currently being sold for £1.50 on Tesco’s website – a 6% reduction in price for a product that is 10% smaller.

Tropicana reduced the size of its carton of Creations Pure Premium Orange & Raspberry juice from one litre to 850ml. However, the juice was still initially on sale in Asda for the same price – £2.48. A price check on Monday shows that it is now available on Asda’s website for a slightly cheaper price of £2.30 – a price reduction of 7%, even as the quantity was reduced by 15%.

A packet of Percol Fairtrade Guatemala Coffee has shrunk in size from 227g to 200g, a reduction of 12%. This coffee was £3.90 in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose before the reduction, and £3.65 and £3.75 respectively after, according to Which? – on both instances costing more per 100g. It is currently being sold for £3.65 on the Ocado website.

The tube of Sensodyne Total Care Extra Fresh toothpaste decreased in size from 100ml to 75ml, a 25% reduction, Which? found during its research. Tesco had the product on sale for £2.40, reduced from £3.60, before it shrank to its present size. After the reduction it was priced at £3.49, representing poorer value for a smaller product. It is presently on sale on the Boots website for £3.50, or you can get two tubes for £4, which is cheaper per tube, provided that you want to buy two.

Bringing a new meaning to the phrase “being caught short”, toilet roll has shrunk in size without the price going down. In tests conducted from 2015 onwards, Which? found that a standard Andrex four-pack toilet roll had been cut down from 240 to 221 sheets, a reduction of 8%. Yet the retail price had remained around £2. A price check on Monday revealed a four-pack of Andrex Classic White now costs £2.20 online at Tesco’s and at Sainsbury’s – while the average number of sheets had fallen again to 200.

Meanwhile, our favourite is the Cadbury’s Crème Egg multi-pack which has shrunk from six to five eggs in a box! Is there no end to manufactures and retailers cheeky tricks?

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About the Author

Lord Bearkeeper OBE DASc

A sad and lonely old man who used to have a life but it has now been taken over by his dedication to the cause of saving Renault Bears, running Jammy Toast and searching eBay, car boot sales, charity shops, lofts and even under beds for his beloved bears. He has even now taken in Flat Eric to save him from homelessness – his life is no longer his own!


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