What is shrinkflation and does it mean you're getting less chocolate?
“Things aren’t what they used to be” might sound like a refrain your grandpa often repeats, but he’s actually not far off.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published a report on shrinkflation, and it shows a startling change in the sizes of various products.
Here’s everything you need to know about shrinkflation, which really isn’t as cute as it sounds.
What is it?
Shrinkflation is the term coined for products that have diminished in size, but stayed the same price.
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.
What did the ONS study find?
It found that more than 2,500 products have been affected by shrinkflation in the past five years.
The majority of shrinkflation was found in food and drink.
Whilst this is bad news for those who enjoy a full-sized chocolate bar, luckily the move has had little impact on the headline rate of inflation.
What has caused this shrinkflation?
The ONS said chocolate manufacturers had pointed the finger at the rising cost of raw materials as the trigger for the drop in size. However, this raises a few questions as the European import price of sugar sank to its lowest level on record in March, while cocoa prices have also dropped sharply since 2015, the ONS said.
It brushed aside the idea of Brexit being a key factor behind the shrinking size of chocolate bars.
“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 ONS said.
“But our analysis doesn’t show a noticeable change following the referendum that would point towards a Brexit effect.
“Furthermore, others (including Which?) had been observing these shrinking pack sizes long before the EU referendum, and several manufacturers have denied that this is a major factor.”
Which beloved products have been hit by shrinkflation?
It’s not just Toblerone that has been slowly getting smaller. The package sizes of Doritos crisps, Coco Pops, Peperami and Maltesers have also shrunk since 2016, according to reports. M&M’s and Minstrels have both been getting smaller by up to 15%.
A spokesperson for Kellogg’s said in a statement: “Kellogg’s Coco Pops packs reduced in weight due to a recipe change, which removed sugar and changed the coating. Although the packs now weigh less, the number of Coco Pops in each box increased by more than 10%.
“It would be misrepresentative to claim that these changes were for any other reason.”
Some people aren’t best pleased with this phenomenon hitting some of their favourite products.
Whereas others aren’t taking it particularly seriously.
Well, at least there is still a decent enough chunk of Toblerone available to drown your sorrows in.