Which? has uncovered a raft of big name products that have shrunk in size, but have not proportionally dropped in price to match.
The papers have been full of headlines about how Cadbury’s Creme Eggs will now come in boxes of five, rather than six, but we’ve discovered that many more brands have also been shrinking their products. In our latest investigation, we uncovered 13 products that have lost 50g here or a few centimetres there, which all adds up to a more expensive shop.
We’ve put eight of these examples in the gallery below, all of which shrank between 2013 and 2014. Which? members can discover the other five in the full article ‘Shrinking products and sneaky price rises’ in the March 2015 issue of Which? magazine, which you can also view online in the My account area.
We used data from the independent shopping website mysupermarket to find out more about these shrinking products.
What the manufacturers say
We contacted the manufacturers of these products to ask why their products have shrunk. The majority told us that shops ultimately set the prices, which is true – but unless the manufacturers drop their wholesale prices, it’s not surprising that the supermarkets don’t charge less. Where the manufacturer didn’t answer our questions about whether they’d dropped the wholesale prices, or they said that they had actually dropped prices, we asked the supermarkets for their take on things.
Philadelphia said it hadn’t dropped the price when the product shrank because of economic factors, and that it also changed the recipe to one that proved popular in tests.
Birds Eye told us it sometimes reduces pack sizes to keep costs down and, in this case, to introduce zip-lock packaging – something it said the majority of people wanted.
Surf is owned by Unilever which said the RRP dropped proportionately, but couldn’t reveal its supermarket charges. Tesco said its pricing was ‘clear’ and ‘affordable’, and Ocado said it price matches Tesco.
Aunt Bessie’s – we were unable to get a response from Aunt Bessie’s, but Asda told us it was charged the same wholesale price.
Cif and Domestos are owned by Unilever which said it dropped the recommended retail price (RRP) a proportionate amount, but that the answer to whether it charged supermarkets less was confidential. Asda said it was charged the same by Unilever.
Hovis said it improved the recipe and health benefits and that it has the same number of slices. It didn’t answer about wholesale prices or RRPs. Asda said it was charged the same price, Sainsbury’s said this loaf was now £1, and Morrisons said Hovis had reformulated.
Tetley said that what it charges supermarkets is confidential. Sainsbury’s said the product is regularly on offer at £2 and didn’t comment on wholesale prices.