The rise of Shrinkflation continues to make its mark as manufacturers feel the strain
Alas, it seems it’s back in town, like the equivalent of the party guest that nobody really wants to see, “shrinkflation” of product portion sizes is on the horizon once more amid major pandemic, Covid-19 and post Brexit pressure on manufacturers.
Perhaps the phenomenon has never truly gone away, but as UK shoppers are facing up to the prospect of higher energy bills, product shortages due to ongoing issues surrounding the estimated lack of 100,000 HGV drivers in Britain, and the prospect of rising prices for some of our favourite ranges as industry grapples with a chaotic array of business challenges.
Not unsurprisingly, one of consumers greatest pet hates of the past few decades has been the deliberate reduction in size of chocolate, sweets and snacks among other wider food product series, meaning shoppers get less for the same (if not greater price), which manufacturers hope will quietly slip through without too much of a public fuss.
But shoppers may well just end up voting with their feet if a recent survey is anything to go by, with a snapshot of 2,000 customers stating that 90% of them disapproved of shrinkflation.
Consequently, in an age of social media, little, if anything, slips through the net on that front, with some of the latest ranges to feel the wrath of consumers are Walkers – in cutting two bags from its 24 multi-pack, Smith’s Frazzles reportedly selling 6 rather than 8 bags for £1, and KP Peanuts, reducing bag sizes from 250g to 225g for the same price.
It comes as latest figures from Kantar reveal that savoury snacks prices have risen in the past month alone by an inflation-busting 7 per cent , and crisps by a reported 5%, leaving consumers notably concerned with Christmas on the horizon.
There have been many other examples in recent years – including Nutella, Toblerone losing one of its peaks, and Jaffa Cakes coming in smaller packs – these are deeply unpopular moves that may bring some short term manufacturing gains, but also run the risk of severe reputation damage for some of our most-cherished sweets and snacks.
Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production