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Student News

It’s official – products are shrinking, but not the prices!

Chocolate bars are getting so small that you can eat them feeling like a giant. Sounds cool, but is it fair that companies are shrinking products but not prices?
Food manufactures are gradually cutting costs by making their products smaller, and what's worse – they're doing it so sneakily that it's happening right under our noses without us noticing!

Maybe some new packaging, a new shape... or maybe the product just looks exactly the same but weighs a bit less.

Of course, they're not likely to publicise that they're giving you less for your money. One exception, however, is when Coke shrunk their 2l bottles to 1.75l and shouted from the rooftops about how they were doing this for the benefit of modern shoppers who don't like carrying a heavy shopping basket around... riiiiight.

The consumer group Which? have been busy doing some research on products getting smaller. What's worse is that a lot of these products have the same RRP, and in some cases the prices have even gone up.

Which? have accused manufacturers of shrinking products as a "sneaky way" of increasing prices.

Most products that are getting smaller are chocolate bars (how could you do this to us, Cadburys?!) but also household products. Some manufacturers claim they're reducing the size of products so that they don't have to hike up prices. They claim it's down to supermarkets to set the prices of products, but this is obviously not the case if wholesale prices go up.

What's shrinking?

coke Another excuse manufacturers give is that they're shrinking their products for our own health. Earlier this year, ice-cream makers Unilever announced that they are making their delicious treats smaller to cut calories. Thanks, but no thanks!

Here's a list of some things that have shrunk, according to the study. If you thought you were getting less for your money, you're not wrong!

  • Mars bars – The 90s were a brilliant decade for music, TV... and big choccie bars! Since the 90s, Mars bars have shrunk by an incredible 22%. Back then, a Mars bar weighed 65g but now it's a much more minuscule 51g.
  • Quavers crisps – Multipack bags of Quavers have recently gone from 14 packs to just 12 packs. The average price for the bigger packs was £1.82 last year, but the smaller packs now retail for around £2! You're paying more for less (but they're still so delicious...)
  • Sensodyne toothpaste – Their Total Care Extra Fresh toothpaste now only comes in a 75ml tube. It was previously 100ml, and the price has stayed the same.
  • Tropicana – Their Orange & Raspberry bottle has shrunk from 1 litre to 850ml, so you're getting one glass less per bottle – a reduction of 15%. But has the price been reduced 15%? Nope! It's stayed the same.
  • Toilet roll – Since 2001, Andrex toilet roll has gone from 280 sheets per roll to 221 per roll but the price has stayed the same. Andrex have said that it isn't a big deal as it only "equates to five or six wiping occasions" which is the probably the worst phrase they could've used. And Andrex have obviously never lived in student housing if they think that's not a big deal!

Why aren't prices shrinking too?

Dairy Milk ShrunkCredit: David Hedges -
Products naturally get more expensive over time – this is thanks to a nasty little word, 'inflation'. However, the issue is that rather than risk losing customers due to increasing prices by a few pence to reflect new costs, these companies are sneakily shrinking products to save a few bob and just hope we won't notice.

Pretending that this is to benefit consumers in some way – for our health, to enable them to offer us more promotions, or to make the products less heavy to carry – is pretty ridiculous.

Have you noticed any of your favourite products shrinking recently? Tell us in the comments below! Alternatively, take matters into your own hands – check out our guide on how to complain and get results!


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