Five products hit by shrinkflation

By Eleanor Lawrie
Business reporter, BBC News

image source, Which?
image captionWake up and smell the coffee? Some everyday products have shrunk without you realising

Is it just that your hands have grown, or has your favourite chocolate bar shrunk since you were a child?

News on Monday proved what many had suspected: thousands of supermarket items have been getting smaller.

This is known as 'shrinkflation' - manufacturers reducing the size of a product while keeping the price the same.

Shrinkflation is particularly common in the confectionary industry, with chocolate bars and sweets the most high profile culprits.

But the phenomenon can be seen in other household items too - although it often goes undetected.

While the Office for National Statistics has released data on the type of products that are shrinking, it won't be drawn on individual brand names.

However, research from consumer body Which?, released last year, revealed five products that have sneakily shrunk over time.

Chocolate biscuits

image source, Which?
image captionMcVitie's dark chocolate biscuits are lighter on your waistline - but not your wallet

McVitie's packet of dark chocolate digestive biscuits have shrunk from 332g to 300g, a 10% reduction - which is good for your waistline but not necessarily your wallet.

In Tesco the biscuits were sold for £1.59 before they shrank - and even increased to £1.69 after, according to Which?

However, the 300g packet is currently being sold for £1.50 in Tesco's website - a 6% reduction in price for a product that is 10% smaller.

Orange juice

image source, Which?
image captionA carton of Tropicana Creations Pure Premium Orange & Raspberry juice is now a less refreshing 850ml

Tropicana reduced the size of its carton of Creations Pure Premium Orange & Raspberry juice from one litre to 850ml.

However, the juice was still initially on sale in Asda for the same price - £2.48.

A price check on Monday shows that it is now available on Asda's website for a slightly cheaper price of £2.30 - a price reduction of 7%, even as the quantity was reduced by 15%.


image source, Which?
image captionThis Fairtrade Guatemala coffee has fallen in size more than it has fallen in price, according to Which?

A packet of Percol Fairtrade Guatemala Coffee has shrunk in size from 227g to 200g, a reduction of 12%.

This coffee was £3.90 in Sainsbury's and Waitrose before the reduction, and £3.65 and £3.75 respectively after, according to Which? - on both instances costing more per 100g.

It is currently being sold for £3.65 on the Ocado website.


image source, Which?
image captionSome tubes of Sensodyne toothpaste have shrunk by 25%

The tube of Sensodyne Total Care Extra Fresh toothpaste decreased in size from 100ml to 75ml, a 25% reduction, Which? found during its research.

Tesco had the product on sale for £2.40, reduced from £3.60, before it shrank to its present size. After the reduction it was priced at £3.49, representing poorer value for a smaller product.

It is presently on sale on the Boots website for £3.50, or you can get two tubes for £4, which is cheaper per tube, provided that you want to buy two.

Toilet roll

image source, Which?
image captionCaught short? Andrex four pack toilet roll now has fewer sheets than it used to

Bringing a new meaning to the phrase "being caught short", toilet roll has shrunk in size without the price going down.

In tests conducted from 2015 onwards, Which? found that a standard Andrex four-pack toilet roll had been cut down from 240 to 221 sheets, a reduction of 8%.

Yet the retail price had remained around £2.

A price check on Monday revealed a four-pack of Andrex Classic White now costs £2.20 online at Tesco's and at Sainsbury's - while the average number of sheets had fallen again to 200.