Products shrinking but prices stay sameSome groceries are being downsized

19 August 2008

A woman pushes a shopping trolley around a supermarket.

The size of some UK groceries have been shrunk without any reduction in price by manufacturers claiming inflationary pressures.

Manufacturers have reduced the size of products including a Cadbury's chocolate bar, Pampers nappies, Kraft Foods' Dairy Lea triangles and Birds Eye garden peas, but the prices have remained the same.

The trend means consumers could be unknowingly paying more for products, while household budgets are being hit by spiralling fuel, petrol and food prices.

Cadbury's chocolate

Cadbury said it had downsized the Family Share bar from 250g to 230g but kept the original £1.38 cost.

A Cadbury spokesman said: 'The food industry, in line with other sectors, is facing rising costs across the board from raw ingredients to energy and transport bills.

'We seek to keep our confectionery affordable in order to offer our consumers value for money and therefore we have slightly reduced the size on some of the larger sharing packs rather than directly raising prices.'

Cider

Strongbow cider has reduced its cases of cider from 18 cans to 15 cans for £10.98.

Mark Gerken, managing director of manufacturer Scottish & Newcastle, said: 'The decision to introduce a new 15-can pack of Strongbow was brought about by our need to raise wholesale prices in the face of the widespread and unprecedented increase in business costs and the retailers' desire to continue to offer the brand in similar party pack format at the same price point.

'Had retailers not chosen to go down this route they would have had to pass on a hefty price increase to purchasers of the old 18-can pack and they clearly feel that no price increase on a smaller pack offers better consumer value.'

Pampers

Pampers Baby Dry Economy Packs have four fewer nappies across the entire range of sizes.

But the company added it had added extra nappies to some other packs without increasing the cost.

A spokeswoman said: 'The nappy industry has seen a significant increase in the cost of raw materials over the past few years driven by commodity cost inflation, for example pulp prices have increased by 18% since 2005 and crude oil by 25%.

'This is a global macro-economic problem that the whole nappy industry is facing, and is having an impact on product costs.'