Shrinkflation: The size of sweets and chocolate bars is reducing, but prices are staying the same

Caitlin Morrison
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Got a sweet tooth? Then prepare to be annoyed - and possibly vindicated, because the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed that sweets and chocolate bars have been shrinking in recent years.

Shrinkflation - whereby manufacturers reduce the package size of goods while keeping the price the same - has hit the sweet treat market, as well as affecting other household goods such as loo roll, coffee, fruit juice, sausages, beer and chips.

According to the ONS, shrinkflation had "no noticeable effect" in the food and non-alcoholic beverages category - but in the sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionery category, changing pack sizes contributed 1.22 percentage points to the rate of inflation of those items since the beginning of 2012.

This won't come as a surprise to dessert lovers - there was uproar in November last year over Toblerone-gate, when it emerged that the shape of the Swiss favourite was changing, and in 2015 Cadbury announced plans to shrink the size of Roses and Heroes tins.

Most chocolate manufacturers have blamed the need to resize their products on rising raw material costs, the ONS noted.

The price of sugar and cocoa, two key ingredients in confectionery, has "fluctuated considerably in recent years", it added. The European import price of sugar has been slowly falling since the middle of 2014 and in March 2017 it reached its lowest level since the International Monetary Fund records began in 1991.

However, there was good news for chocolate makers in April this year, as commodity experts pointed to falling cocoa prices due to a predicted supply surplus.

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