Bakery items among foods hit by shrinkflation

Pizza, biscuits and cakes are among the 200-plus consumer products that have shrunk in size, according to new research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The greatest number of size changes was recorded in the bread and cereals category, with 36 reductions in size and 18 increases.

Within this, pizza and quiche as well as ‘other bakery products’ – which includes cakes, biscuits and bars – had the highest number of reductions, with 11 apiece. Meanwhile, three size reductions and six size increases were recorded in bread products.

More than twice as many products fell in size than got larger during the sample period of September 2015 to June 2017.

The ONS said prices recorded during this period “tended not to change when size changes occurred, regardless of whether the size change was an increase or a decrease”, suggesting some products underwent shrinkflation.

Shrinkflation is a term used to describe a product size being reduced while its price remains the same. This means the price has inflated as consumers pay the same amount for less. Reductions in size were also found in products including toilet roll and confectionery.

 “This analysis suggests that when size changes occur, the prices charged for the products frequently remain the same, meaning that when products get smaller, consumers tend to end up getting less good value for their money – in other words, products undergo ‘shrinkflation’,” the report stated.

However, the ONS was keen to highlight that only 1% to 2.1% of products in its sample shrank in size, while 0.3% to 0.7% got bigger.

Table: Frequencies of products with size changes, by category

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