(Not so) Funny money: Over 2,500 consumer goods hit by ‘shrinkflation’

25 July 2017
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Shoppers’ suspicions have been confirmed by new figures, which reveal consumer goods – in particular food and drink – really are shrinking in size but remaining the same price.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found that 2,529 different consumer products have decreased in size or weight since 2012.

This so-called “shrinkflation” is a phenomenon which means that while you don’t pay a higher price, you receive less for the same amount of money.

As Moneywise reported last year, maker of Toblerone, Mondelez, admitted to making its famous triangular chocolate bars smaller in order to not increase prices. It also cut the size of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, blaming rising prices for the raw ingredients.  

However, while many manufacturers have blamed the falling pound for rising costs, the ONS data would suggest that the practice of shrinking products long outdates this more recent economic trend – dating back to 2012.

See the graph below for how goods have shrunk – in particular food and drink. 

Graph of how particular foods have shrunk in size

Source: ONS, June 2017.

The ONS keeps regular tabs on what is known as a “basket of goods” - an average selection of consumer products that helps keep track of inflation – and this includes tracking the size of packaging as well as the cost of the product.

It says it’s found no discernible impact from shrinkflation upon inflation, owing to the fact that inflation figures are drawn from a huge variety of sources, including energy prices, housing costs, and transport.

But it has found changing pack sizes in one subcategory – sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionery – has contributed 1.22% to the rate of inflation since 2012.

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

How many products are they monitoring in their basket and what percentage of that total basket does the 2,529 figure represent.It isn't just that stuff is shrinking there is also the growing practice of diluting, substituting and bulking which is far more difficult to quantify.In short (real) price inflation is rampant and at least where food is concerned, much, much higher than reported for most folks doing the weekly shop.

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