Products are shrinking – so why aren’t prices?
Have you noticed certain items shrinking in size? We have, and the price doesn’t always shrink accordingly. But we’ve also found some good value Best Buys from our tests, proving that shopping doesn’t have to go up.
The price of grocery shopping is rising so we’re all looking for better deals and hoping our favourite products don’t jump in price.
But we’ve found that price rises don’t always happen in the most straightforward way.
Incredible shrinking products
Cadbury’s has reduced the number of chocolates in a tin of Roses but the price remains the same. And they’re not the only ones who are giving us less and not passing on the savings.
We trawled through the Which? back data of everyday products we’ve tested and found a number of items that aren’t all they used to be.
There’s the Sainsburys Ketchup that shrank 30g – and stayed at 95p. To be fair, after we complained to Sainsburys, they apologised and have agreed to drop the price in line with the size decrease.
But not all manufacturers have responded so well to our findings. There’s also Persil Small and Mighty washing liquid – the smallest size used to be 730ml and 20 washes – it’s now 630ml and 18 washes. There hasn’t been an equal drop in the widely available retail price.
When we questioned Persil, this was their response:
‘The Small & Mighty range changed from two pack sizes (20 and 42 washes) to four (18, 28, 54 and 85 washes) – helping us offer better value. Retail prices are up to retailers; however, our larger packs sell at an average cost per wash which is lower than this time last year.’
Fairy liquid has also shrunk – from 450ml to 433ml. They say it’s just been concentrated but this assumes you know to squeeze out less.
As these changes are incremental it’s incredibly hard to spot them yourself – unless of course you have spreadsheets of data, as we do. Which is presumably why they do it – the price has effectively gone up but you never get to know about it.
Cut your bill in half…
However, if you’re worried about the rising price of your weekly shop there is some good news. We’ve also gone back through our 2011 tests and uncovered a bumper crop of good value Which? Best Buys that you can get at budget supermarkets for a fraction of the cost of leading brands.
For instance, when we checked Aldi’s dishwasher tablets they were £3.99 for 40. Brand leading Finish costs around £10.20. Likewise, we gave Aldi’s Evoo olive oil our ‘Worth Considering’ stamp – this is a bargain £2.25 – the brand leader (Filipo Berio) is more than double that.
Overall, we found buying the leading brands of ketchup, orange juice, olive oil, laundry liquid, washing powder, washing-up liquid and dishwasher tablets, would cost £38.67. For the equivalent supermarket brand Best Buys and the Worth Considering olive oil and laundry liquid you’d pay just £18.35 – a saving of 53% on your bill.
So, will you be looking out for our Best Buys and shopping around budget supermarkets to save on your shopping? Manufacturers making products smaller certainly isn’t saving us anything, so you may have to.
Personally I’d like to know when products have shrunk and be aware of what it means to the overall cost. Is it an underhand way of reducing prices? Have you got any examples of your own shrinking products or budget buys?
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