Revealed: big name products shrinking in sizeWhich products are getting smaller, but cost the same?

19 September 2011


Which? has uncovered several big-name products that have been shrinking in size - without a similar cut in the price.

Fairy washing-up liquid, for example, has shrunk from 450ml to 433ml, with no drop in price. Fairy told us this was because it had concentrated the product - but this only helps if you actually know to squeeze out less.

Less laundry detergent

A bottle of Persil Small & Mighty laundry liquid used to be 730ml and gave you 20 washes – it's now 630ml and gives you 18 washes. The price has changed from £3.99 in October 2008 to around £4.30 today.

Persil bio and non-bio tablets are now sold as a 40-tablet (20 wash) pack, when they used to come in a pack of 48. The price has also decreased, but not by the same ratio. You now get 83% of the contents but at 94% of the August 2010 cost, if bought at the widely-available prices.

Persil told us: 'When sold at their recommended retail price the tablets are the same price per wash. The Small & Mighty range changed from two pack sizes (20 and 42 washes) to four (18, 28, 54 and 85 washes) – helping us offer better value. Retail prices are up to retailers; however, our larger packs sell at an average cost per wash, which is lower than this time last year.'

See how these products fared - and if there are cheaper alternatives - in our washing-up liquid and laundry detergent reviews.

Food products shrinking

It's not only cleaning products - some food items have also been shrinking.

Own-brand ketchup from Sainsbury's reduced in size from 485g to 460g - yet it still costs 95p. After we pointed this out to the supermarket, Sainsbury's apologised, saying it never intended to mislead customers. It has agreed to lower the price.

Have you spotted companies shrinking the size of their products? Head over to Which? Conversation, where we're collecting more of your examples.

Brand versus supermarket Best Buys

If you're worried about rising shopping prices, one way to cut your shopping bill might be to switch from branded to supermarket-own items. You don't have to compromise on quality, either, as we've had a bumper crop of good value Best Buys this year. 

Overall, we found buying the leading brands of ketchup, orange juice, olive oil, laundry liquid, washing powder, washing-up liquid and dishwasher tablets would cost £38.67.

But if you swapped those for the top-rated equivalent supermarket items - made up of Best Buys, or items we think are worth considering - the bill would come to just £18.35 - a saving of 53% on your bill.

More on this...