Shrinking chocolate bars 'bumping up total cost' of treats

Michele Moreno
July 25, 2017

Statisticians at the ONS who analysed the phenomenon of "shrinkflation" - where the size of a product is reduced while the price stays the same - found that shrinking chocolate bars have helped bump up the total cost of candies.

The BBC reported on Monday (July 24) that official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that as many as 2,529 products have been subjected to the so-called "shrinkflation" over the past five years.

Food giants including Mondelez, which owns Toblerone, and Mars, which owns Maltesers and Galaxy, have blamed rising raw material costs for the downsize.

McVities's Digestives dark chocolate biscuits have dropped in size from 332g to 300g, while the price increased by 10p to £1.69p in Tesco, according Which?

However the ONS said: "Manufacturers' costs may also be rising because of the recent fall in the value of the pound - leading some commentators to attribute shrinkflation on the UK's decision to leave the European Union".

The government's statistics body said that more than 2,000 products had been scaled back in size since 2012, something they call "shrinkflation" because consumers get less for their money.

Tropicana Orange and Raspberry. Elsewhere, Andrex toilet roll was cut by 8% after its 240-sheet length was reduced to 221 sheets.

Dettol power and pure bathroom wipes. The European import price of sugar has been slowly falling since the middle of 2014 and in March 2017 it reached its lowest level since the International Monetary Fund records began in 1991.

As for what that means for inflation, it found "no discernable effect" but said that was not very surprising given the size of the basket of goods and services that is tracked to gauge price changes.

The ONS said it had found 2,529 cases of non-chocolate products reducing in size but remaining priced the same.

The issue has regularly made headlines over the previous year after the decline in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote.

Since 2012, the inflation rate for products such as chocolate was actually 1.22% higher, when the smaller size was taken into account. "Food and drink is a relatively small proportion of this measure", the ONS said.

Shrinkflation happens when products get smaller, but retailers charge the same price.

Other reports by Insurance News

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