More than 2,500 products have shrunk, says ONS

Chocolate bars, packets of sweets and fruit juices are amongst the 2,529 products that decreased in size between January 2012 and January 2017, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

So-called “shrinkflation” occurs when manufacturers of household goods cut the size of their brands but keep prices the same.

Mostly it occurs in the food and drink category. ONS concluded that the process has “no noticeable effect” on inflation – apart from in one small subcategory. In sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionery ONS discovered that the changing pack size had contributed 1.22 percentage points to the rate of inflation of those items since the beginning of 2012.

Rising costs of key commodities were largely to blame for shrinkflation, the ONS explained in a new analysis published this week. However, cocoa and sugar prices have been falling.

Those looking to blame Brexit for bigger prices and smaller packs would be left disappointed, ONS suggested: “Despite some media speculation, there has not been a change in trend since the EU referendum – our data shows that shrinkflation has been used in practice consistently across the past five years.”

However, some commentators said inflation, labour shortages and tariffs could result in increased shrinkflation once the UK leaves the EU.

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