Household brands shrink while prices go up

Many common household brands are shrinking in price, while costing the same - or in some cases, increasing in price, a new consumer study has reported.

Research by Which? has shown that McVities chocolate biscuits, Andrex toilet roll and Sensodyne toothpaste have shrunk in recent months, joining Cadbury’s Fingers and Creme Eggs, whose sizes decreased last year causing outrage among consumers.

The report found that McVitie’s dark chocolate digestives shrank from 332g to 300g. However, in Tesco the biscuits retailed at £1.59 before the pack reduction, but increased to £1.69 after the decrease in size.

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Meanwhile, a standard Andrex four pack toilet roll has shrunk from 240 to 221 sheets - eight per cent less – yet the price has remained the same, around £2.

And a 100ml tube of Sensodyne Total Care Extra Fresh Toothpaste has come down by a quarter to 75ml, yet despite retailing in Tesco for‘£2.40 was £3.60’, the post-reduction price was £3.49 - an increase per 100ml.

Also named in the report was Tropicana, whose 1 litre Creations Pure Premium Orange and Raspberry juice was repackaged in an 850ml carton. However, the price in Asda remained the same after the reduction in volume.

Other products to reduce in size but remain at the same price included Percol Fairtrade Guatemala Coffee and Dettol Power and Pure Bathroom Wipes,.

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More than three-quarters those surveyed by Which? Said they thought it was wrong if consumers were not told that a product had decreased in size but continued to be sold at the same price.

Richard Headland, editor of Which?, said: “Shrinking products can be a sneaky way of increasing prices. We want manufacturers and supermarkets to be upfront so consumers aren’t misled,” he said.

A British Retail Consortium spokesperson said: “Prices and sizes of all products are clearly labelled so that customers can make informed decisions about their purchases.”

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