Shrinking candies? 'You're not imagining it,' ONS tells shoppers

Violet Powell
July 25, 2017

While the move has had little impact on the headline rate of inflation, the change in packet size has contributed 1.22 percentage points to the rate of inflation for products such as sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionary.

Over 2,500 every day household products have shrunk in size over the past five years but continue to be sold for the same price, as companies profit from "shrinkflation". Elsewhere, Andrex toilet roll was cut by 8% after its 240-sheet length was reduced to 221 sheets.

Whilst chocolate bars that have been subject to this controversy for some time, the ONS found that toilet rolls, coffee and fruit juice were also being sold in smaller packet sizes.

The European import price of sugar sank to its lowest level on record in March this year, while cocoa prices have dropped sharply since the record highs seen in 2015, the ONS said.

The ONS also said there was no noticeable change after last year's referendum decision to leave the European Union which hit the value of the pound and made imports more expensive.

It's called shrinkflation because, while the product itself is shrunk, in most cases the price isn't.

Toblerone made the news late previous year when its U.S. producer Mondelez International changed its distinctive mountain peak shape and made bars lighter because of rising ingredient costs.

An example of this that recently caused a social media firestorm is when Toblerone halved the amount of chocolate "mountains", meaning that bars became 10% smaller.

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The consumer website said Tropicana Creations Pure Premium Orange and Raspberry Juice has also decreased from 1 litre to 850ml, but the price in Asda remained at £2.48.

Changes in packet sizes for candies has increased the inflation rate by 1.22 per cent.

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

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.

He said: "Companies are now reaching a point where they must either reduce portions or make modest price increases to protect jobs".

The majority of shrinkflation was found in food and drink.

It's not just Toblerone that has been slowly getting smaller.

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