It found more than 2500 products shrunk without getting any cheaper

Tuesday, 25 Jul, 2017

As many as 2,529 products on sale in United Kingdom shops have reduced in size while prices remained the same between January 2012 and July 2017, it found, compared with 614 products that have increased in size.

However the ONS said: "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 2,529 goods getting smaller over the last five years compares to just 614 products that increased in size between 2012 and 2017. "Government is asking food companies to reduce sugar in foods, including reducing portions, with soft drink manufacturers set to pay a substantial tax on some of their products in the near future".

However, the general impact on inflation was negligible.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the feature, called "shrinkflation", has taken place predominantly among chocolate and candies, but can also found in products as diverse as loo rolls, coffee, beer and sausages.

Changes in packet sizes for candies has increased the inflation rate by 1.22 per cent.

The figures come following high profile cases like Toblerone a year ago, resulting in the downsizing of a bigger bar from 400 grams to 360 grams.

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Packets of Maltesers have shrunk from 121g to 103g, a reduction of 15%.

Major multinational companies have sold less of their product for the same price, helping to increase profit margins.

Toblerone has shrunk by 12%, with larger spaces between the triangular "mountains".

The ONS said chocolate manufacturers had blamed the drop in size on the rising cost of raw materials. However, this raises a few questions as the European import price of sugar sank to its lowest level on record in March, while cocoa prices have also dropped sharply since 2015, the ONS said.

The prices of both white sugar and cocoa are now nearing five year lows having peaked in July last year.

The ONS also dismissed speculation about a "Brexit" effect, saying the phenomenon had not become notably more prevalent since the Brexit vote.