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Backlash as Lurpak cuts the size of a block of butter

lurpak butter size - Twitter
lurpak butter size - Twitter

Lurpak is facing a backlash from shoppers after blocks of its butter were shrunk by 20pc.

Arla Foods, which makes the Danish butter, has reduced the size of its 250g packs to 200g. It comes after the price of butter across all brands rose by 15pc over the last year.

Inflation data published last week revealed that food prices have risen by 19pc in the past year, with concerns about supermarket shop costs prompting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene with a proposal to impose price caps.

Downing Street suggested to ask retailers to agree to maximum prices for some basic goods such as bread and milk in an effort to lower food prices and tackle inflation.

The average price of Lurpak’s unsalted butter pack has increased by nearly 20pc in the past year – well above the current rate of inflation at 8.7pc, according to trolley.co.uk. Arla Foods said it started phasing out the 250g packs for its Lurpak and Anchor brands of butter last month.

The cheapest 250g pack of Lurpak’s unsalted butter used to cost £0.90 per 100g, but the cheapest 200g pack now costs £0.95 per 100g, according to trolley.co.uk, an analyst.

The lowest price for the 200g block is now £1.90, compared with £2.25 for 250g.

Shoppers took to posting outraged reviews on the Sainsbury’s website, with one user saying they “won’t buy Lurpak anymore”. They added: “Looks tiny in the butter dish and won’t last very long.”

Another wrote: “This is the only butter that doesn't seem to have jumped ridiculously in price. Then it arrived and I see that the pack size has shrunk by 50g! Sneaky.”

A third added: “Nothing more annoying than getting home to discover you are 50g short of a recipe.”

Consumer champion Martyn James said: “The price of Lurpak shocked the nation last year and photos of overpriced butter went viral on social media. So it’s perhaps inevitable that the company opted for shrinkflation to save their reputation.

“But this is so blatant it will have the opposite effect. Cheaper alternatives are available and consumers are now much less brand loyal.”

Security tags were added to packs of Lurpak last year as the price of a 1kg tub reached more than £9, prompting outrage on social media.

The practice of shrinking products, known as “shrinkflation”, has become increasingly common as companies battle soaring costs of everything from ingredients to energy and labour.

Recent examples include Mini Cheddars, which made some of its biscuits smaller and less cheesy last year, and Magnum Ice Cream, which shrunk some of its packs by a quarter in March.

The price of goods on shelf is ultimately set by the seller, although food suppliers can recommend a price.

Danny Micklethwaite, VP of marketing at Arla Foods, said: “We’re aware that the cost of living crisis has put pressure on shoppers’ available spend, and we want to make our price points more accessible for shoppers, which we believe can be achieved, by reducing our pack sizes.

“There are many different factors that affect the price consumers pay in store. These are set by the retailers themselves, but we work extremely closely with our retail partners to ensure we deliver tasty, quality dairy at the best possible price for both shoppers and our farmer owners.”

Sainsbury's said it priced its 250g block of salted Lurpak butter at £2.70 before it was phased out, and that the 200g usually costs £2.15 but is currently discounted to £1.90.