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Proof at last: 'Shrinkflation' has been making your supermarket favourites smaller for five years

The maker of Toblerone blamed rising prices for shrinking its product (EMPICS/EMPICS Entertainment)
The maker of Toblerone blamed rising prices for shrinking its product (EMPICS/EMPICS Entertainment)

Thousands of products – from toilet rolls to chocolate – have shrunk in size but are still be sold at the same price.

But Brexit appears not to be to blame – despite many manufacturers citing more expensive raw ingredients or materials since the referendum vote.

According to research by the Office for National Statistics, some 2,529 products have been subject to “shrinkflation”.

MORE: IMF downgrades UK growth while European rivals surge

And it those with the sweetest tooth who are experiencing the biggest pain: in the category of sugar, jam, syrups chocolate and confectionery, the rate of inflation when adjusted for shrinking products was significantly higher.

For example, Toblerone chocolate bars have become 10% smaller. US producer Mondelez International said it had increased the spacing between the distinctive “mountain” chunks and reduced its weight significantly because of rising ingredient costs.

The same month, Mars too pointed to rising costs for its decision to shrink the size of Maltesers packets by 15%.

The package sizes of Doritos crisps, Coco Pops breakfast cereal and Peperami have also shrunk since 2016, according to reports.

Some of the products subject to shrinkflation
Some of the products subject to shrinkflation

However, the European import price of sugar sank to its lowest level on record in March this year, while cocoa prices have dropped sharply since the record highs seen in 2015, the ONS said.

MORE: Toblerone has shrunk the size of its bars and people are outraged

It also brushed aside the idea of Brexit being a key factor behind the shrinking size of chocolate bars.

Packets of Maltesers have also got smaller (Nick Ansell/PA Images
Packets of Maltesers have also got smaller (Nick Ansell/PA Images

“Manufacturers’ costs may also be rising because of the recent fall in the value of the pound – leading some commentators to attribute shrinkflation on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union,” the ONS said.

“But our analysis doesn’t show a noticeable change following the referendum that would point towards a Brexit effect.

“Furthermore, others (including Which?) had been observing these shrinking pack sizes long before the EU referendum, and several manufacturers have denied that this is a major factor.”

MORE: Hammond met Goldman Sachs board for private Brexit talks

According to the ONS, shrinkflation had “no noticeable effect” in the food and non-alcoholic beverages category.

Researchers said the phenomenon of shrinkflation has, in fact, been in evidence for at least five years.

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