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Shrinkflation means you get less but pay the same

Shrinkflation is a common phenomenon in the world of consumer goods, where manufacturers reduce the size of products whilst keeping prices the same. The latest victims of this trend are ice cream tubs, with popular brands such as Haagen-Dazs and Ben and Jerry's reducing the size of their tubs by 40ml and 35ml respectively, whilst increasing prices. As household budgets continue to be squeezed, this latest trend is causing concern for those who feel that they are being short-changed by manufacturers. Consumers are left feeling cheated as they are paying the same amount for less of the product they have come to expect. The fact that this phenomenon has been happening for many years is not new, but it has gained more attention recently due to the impact of the pandemic on people's finances. This shrinking of products can be seen in other areas too, such as confectionery, where Cadbury has come under fire from shoppers after making significant changes to its Easter eggs. Bags of Mini Eggs have reduced from 130g to 97g whilst the price remains at £1.25. Similarly, a medium Wispa Easter Egg is now 182.5g, down from 224g, but remains priced at £3. Such changes have not gone down well with some consumers, who have vowed not to buy them. The Office for National Statistics has been monitoring shrinkflation since 2015 and found that around 206 products had reduced in size whilst their price remained the same in the five years to June 2017. However, this figure is likely to have increased significantly since then, given the recent trend of manufacturers using shrinkflation to offset rising production costs without raising prices, which could put off customers. Despite the rising cost of living, some manufacturers have claimed to be mindful of the pressure shoppers are feeling. Unilever, which owns brands including Magnum and Ben and Jerry's, has stated that it regularly reviews ranges to ensure that it continues to offer choice and value through a range of products and sizes. Manufacturers argue that they are faced with increasing production costs such as raw materials, transport, and labour, and that shrinkflation is a necessary measure to ensure that they remain profitable whilst still offering products at a reasonable price. However, this argument is unlikely to sway consumers who feel that they are being short-changed. The rise of shrinkflation has led to a denting of consumer confidence in brands, with some consumers feeling that they are being taken for a ride. This could lead to a decrease in sales for affected brands, as consumers become more discerning and opt for products that offer better value for money.
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