/ Food & Drink, Shopping

The new Cadbury Creme Egg pack size – what a yolk

Shrinking products certainly gets people whisked up. So when it emerged that one of the nation’s favourites, the Cadbury Creme Egg, had shrunk, it was no surprise people scrambled to complain.

You may remember our investigations into shrinking products. We’ve previously discovered products reducing in size, even though the price stayed the same or went up.

In our 2013 investigation, we found that the size of a Walkers Cheese & Onion crisp packet had shrunk 6% from 34.5g to 32.5g, while the price remained the same at 49p. But the worst offender was Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes. These were £1.40 in Waitrose when the pack contained 12 shortcakes and £1.50 when it shrank to 10.

And now it seems the same is happening to my favourite egg, the Cadbury Creme Egg.

I’m not seeing the sunny side

It’s worth remembering that this isn’t the first time we’ve been subject to change from Cadbury. Four years ago the Cadbury Dairy Milk shrank from 140g to 120g, but still cost 99p.

Now Kraft, the American owner of Cadbury, has taken the eggsecutive decision to reduce the size of a Cadbury Creme Egg pack from six to five eggs. I understand they aren’t real eggs, but when was the last time you saw a box of five eggs?

And it seems I wasn’t the only one who got a bit eggsterical about it. Waves of Creme Egg fans cracked and took to social media to raise their concerns, using the Twitter hashtag #cremeegggate. But there’s one saving grace; there’s been a slight reduction in the price of a box from £3.05 to £2.85. Although, that’s still an increase of 7p per egg.

At least they still taste the same, right?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It seems as though it’s out with the old and in with the new – there’s been a change in the recipe too. The iconic Dairy Milk shell has been thrown out and replaced with a ‘standard cocoa mix chocolate’ after testing with consumers. A Kraft spokesperson added:

‘The Creme Egg had never been called Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Creme Egg. We have never played on the fact that Dairy Milk was used.’

The good news (well at least for me) is that the new shell apparently gives a sweeter taste, so I’m not going to judge it until I’ve had a taste.

Are you a Creme Egg fan? What do you think about the pack size shrinking? Do you think it’s an underhand way to increase prices? We want simpler pricing so you can easily compare products to see which is the cheapest.

Comments
Guest
Clare says:
13 January 2015

Reducing down to a 5 egg pack is totally uneggeptable.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Sounds like a Krafty marketing stunt to get people talking about Creme Eggs. 🙂

Profile photo of Alex Toplis
Guest

By the way, Clare and Wavechange – I’m sorry if I poached any of your yolks in the convo, it was an eggsident.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

I fully approve of the recycling of yokes, Alex. We need a bit of humour to keep us cheerful during the short days of January. No doubt there will be some hard-boiled contributors who will not approve.

Guest
MrTayto says:
13 January 2015

FACTOID: Cadbury’s were not able to call it ‘Cadbury’s cream egg’ due to milk not dairy cream in the Dairy Milk, hence the spelling creme

[This comment has been tweaked. It looks as though you may have over-egged the truth. Thanks, mods]

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Yes. Non-milk fat does not sound appealing, does it?

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Guest

We used to litter these round the garden for Easter egg hunts. Off course some were never found, so I’d come across them when digging and use them to sustain me. Now they are too sweet (not tasted the Kraft ones, but never had much time for Kraft anyway).

Look round the supermarkets and you can pay up to 60p each, 3 for £1 (Tesco and Sainsbury) and at Waitrose 12 for £6.68 or 2 for 90p (hang on, that means 12 for £5.40 doesn’t it?).

Doesn’t non-milk fat also appear in nasty ice cream? And you can get creme egg ice (creme) as well. Perhaps there is a connection.

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Guest

And if you look carefully Tesco are even claiming they’re on offer, which is odd as they’ve only been available since the start of the year and not the standard 28 days prior to going on offer.

A box of 5 is “only £2.00” and these boxes of 5 (40g eggs) are listed as being 197g. Hmmm

Suffolk and Surrey Trading standards have tweeted that they will not be investigating the recipe change. Nice of Tesco to do the wrong thing, as Trading Standards can instead investigate them.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

I suggest that anyone concerned about the number or weight of the Creme Eggs should contact the appropriate regulator, presumably Ofcreme.

Thankfully, Creme Eggs have not been implicated in campylobacter infections but there was a recall in 2006, when salmonella contamination was found in the factory.

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Guest

Do they deep fry creme eggs in Scotland? (This might kill any confection infection).

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Guest

Very good Malcolm. And it was you that was questioning the need for the new body Food Standards Scotland. Nutrition is within its remit.

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Guest

I don’t like Creme Eggs. There, I said it. I don’t understand them. They have grainy syrup that tastes of nothing but sugar in the middle of average chocolate. I much prefer the caramel eggs. Five Creme Eggs in a pack is five too many in my view.

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Guest

I used to like (probably still would if allowed) Nestles sweetened condensed milk spooned out of the tin. Essentially reproduced a much nicer version of the creme egg filling, albeit without the chocolate-flavoured shell. Perhaps I’ll try it spread on a 70% cocoa chocolate bar….. The shape doesn’t matter.

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Guest

That sounds like Dulce de Leche, which is delicious.

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Guest

I had to look this up. sounds tempting.

Nigella’s community recipe sounds the most entertaining to make, using 4 litres of milk and bicarbonate of soda in a very large pan.

More practical sounds the BakersRoyale recipe just using a tin of sweetened condensed milk.

Must give it a go – or buy a jar from Waitrose.

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Guest

+1 for condensed milk.
Any decent recipe with condensed milk in only needed 3/4 can thus leaving some for spooning.

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Guest

I was yet to buy any creme eggs this year. Since the new broke, I won’t be buying any more.

I’ll have to drown my sorrows with Jaffa Cakes instead. Lets hope boxes of 12 stay boxes of 12.

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Guest

I welcome this industry created food rationing. Sounds good for the health of the nation!

Guest
Clare says:
14 January 2015

Good point, Dave — but surely the price should be reduced along with the quantity?

Guest

My view is that Cadbury should leave the underlying product completely unchanged i.e. no changes to the size or recipe of Crème Eggs (don’t mess with a product so many people like!) and simply adjust the price in line with inflation on a yearly basis. That’s not too hard is it?

Guest
Mike.W says:
15 January 2015

I was a crème egg fan I have now shaken the eggdiction. I agree with the continued decrease in size, now numbers. As a thought have you seen the Wagon wheel is now the side of a skate board wheel. I think they should change the name to just biscuit. Both have lost my custom.

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Guest

Likewise the Walnut Whip.

Guest
Sophie Gilbert says:
15 January 2015

I took one bite at a Creme Egg once and spat it right out again, eugh (each to his own). I knew from the convo introduction, however, that there would be good puns in it. I haven’t been disappointed and enjoyed each of them. Cheers!

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

I had a look at the UK site for Cadbury and it does not even mention Creme Eggs, only a bar called Creme Egg Twisted. Maybe Mondelez, the current owner of Cadburys does not see much future for Creme Eggs.

Mondelez have recently announced plans to cut 200 of the 900 jobs at the Bournville factory. Maybe it would have been better to keep Cadbury in this country rather than let Kraft take over.

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Guest

I believe Kraft said they would keep Cadbury jobs in Britain. So much for business ethics. However, I am not a fan of the sweet chocolate they make – there are much nicer bars of chocolate around, and much better assorted chocolates. The only thing I miss from years ago is their roasted almond plain chocolate bar.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Further investigation has located a page about Creme Eggs on the Cadbury website: https://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/Creme-Egg-2392?p=2392

I don’t know why it does not appear in the products section. Perhaps an investeggation is needed.

Profile photo of John Ward
Guest

A few seconds ago I was looking at the Conversation on dental treatment. I think a liking for Creme Eggs might have some bearing on the other matter.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

There is a serious point to this Conversation. It’s in the Consumer Rights section and tagged ‘food pricing’, ‘packaging’ and ‘supermarkets’.

How on earth do we stop manufacturers increasing price or cutting size of products? Perhaps they should be obliged to draw our attention to these changes with conspicuous labels. e.g. Cadbury’s Creme Eggs – New smaller pack.

I would like to see the Creme Egg fiasco as a way of encouraging more people to take an interest in how they are being treated by greedy companies.

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Guest

That’s very true, Wavechange. There’s definitely a serious point to this Convo and it’s something we have been trying to tackle. We’ve campaigned for simpler pricing in the past so it’s easier to compare products.

This convo from this time last year highlights some of our research on shrinking products costing us more. Although, as you commented I know you’ve already seen it, but it may be new to some 🙂

https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/supermarket-special-offers-pricing-tactics/

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I was amused by your comment about how much you would have to shell out for gym membership. 🙂

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There are surely more serious products than Cadbury’s Creme Eggs that should be leading the way in defeating underhand price changes. One problem with an inflation-based economy is that it is difficult to separate out actual price increases from those just due to inflation. Perhaps, as in pricing sales goods, shops should show the last “real” price at which something was sold when an increase occurs. However, I think it is impractical and up to us to keep value for money in mind when we shop.

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Guest

I find when buying anything that comes in a multi-pack that it pays to check the unit price and do a little multiplication. Multi-packs of crisps are a good test case for this. We are so conditioned to thinking that the more we buy the less we pay per unit, the maunfacturers and retailers frequently try to slip one past us that is actually more expensive than buying the product separately. This is frequently done with gift packs and the excuse is that the fancy wrapping and product presentation justifies the higher price for a more desirable set. With crisps it is also essential to check that the pack weight is identical in the different combinations being compared. This might also aply to Creme Eggs. It is a fact that different birds of the same species can produce eggs of different weights and that the same birds can lay eggs of different weights. It is also well known that egg yields are affected by the conditions in which they are kept as well as their diet and freedom of movement. It is possible that down on the cremey poultry farm some selective breeding and diet adjustment have taken place to produce a smaller egg, or alternatively, and more likely in my opinion, the hens – upset by the changes to their husbandry caused by the sale of Mr Cadbury’s business [run, until its demise, on beneficent principles] have decided to get their own back. Unfortunately the buyer gets a smaller treat and the producer gets a bigger profit.

Just a footnote : The creme egg first entered the market as a Fry’s product from the Somerdale factory [at Keynsham] when the boss of that subsidiary was one Egbert Cadbury. The Somerdale plant was closed down by Kraft immediately after its heavily-leveraged acquisition of Cadbury.

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Guest

John, “I find when buying anything that comes in a multi-pack that it pays to check the unit price and do a little multiplication”. Where we shop most product shelf price labels show the cost per unit (e.g. 100g) including products on multibuy. You can easily check whether the deal is beneficial – assuming you can make use of a multibuy, of course! As you say it is worth checking.

We’ve all seen instances where a mutibuy is more expensive – by mistake or deception. Whilst the creme egg issue seems a trivial eggzample to use in tackling the shrinking products issue, I did point out earlier that it was cheaper to buy 6 x 2 at Waitrose than a pack of 12 by around £1 (according to their website)

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Guest

You’re right Malcolm – it is fairly easy to check whether a multi-buy offer is a good one or not. I was trying to draw attention to multi-packs versus separate units. On the shelf label a multi-pack of five packets of Walkers Crisps, for example, is shown as one unit. You have to look at the individual packet -always on a different shelf – and multiply that by five to see how the prices compare but first you have to check that the individual packs and the multi-pack packs contain the same weight of product. If the price per 100 gms is shown in both cases the comparison speaks for itself but this is not always done correctly or at all in some cases. As for the creme eggs, well I’m eggshausted [its thirty miles to Waitrose and back and my feet are killing me].

Guest
Dave Hall says:
31 May 2015

A good example of the crisps multipak rip-off is at Home Bargains. They used to do a Walkers multipak of 5 x 25g for 99p. I noticed recently that the multipak has now shrunk to 4 x 25g bags, but the price remains the same at 99p.

Guest
Vlad the impellor says:
17 January 2015

So, a reduction of 16.66% in egg manufacturing costs and a probable equivalent reduction in packaging costs (individual and bulk packaging) and still an increase of 7% in the purchase price. We really should not be suprised. After all, it is American owned. And to correct a point made by the reporter who stated that the taste had not altered. I recently read an article that stated that the recipe for the chocolate had changed and had subsequently altered the taste (for the worse). Any comments?

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Guest

I think the casing is goo-ier than the filling now – I think they must have reduced the cocolate content in the couverture. I won’t try any more – I’m feeling a bit sick and I should eggsplode.

Guest
Jean says:
17 January 2015

Another eggample of manufacturers trying to get more money out of us. It’s ridiculous to have five eggs which will cost the same as six or more and I bet the eggs are smaller! I think the yoke is on us the public who buy them. As for changing the taste, my motto is if it ain’t t broke don’t fix it.

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Guest

I cannot recall ever having eaten a Creme Egg, so perhaps I should do some investigation concerning the pricing and availability of these items with a view to making a purchase and better understanding the focus of this Conversation. I was offered a Creme Egg to accompany an after-dinner coffee last Easter, and now regret that I declined.

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Guest

I think you might be shell-shocked when you discover what you have been missing.

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Guest

One of the problems with creme eggs was when the string of sticky white and yellow “fondant” ends up as you eat the egg – on your chin, fingers, or clothing? I expect a major engineering investigation was done to determine what consistency of shell at normal room temerature was necessary to prevent the structure crumbling and creating a squidge. So how much research was done on the mechasnical properties of the new “standard cocoa mix chocolate” (whatever that is)? I bet Mondelez haven’t thought of that!

What eating techniques do you use to avoid fondant escape? Bite off the top, lick out the contents, eat it whole (try mini eggs of you have a smalll mouth) or ……?

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Guest

The mechanical properties of chocolate bars and chocolate digestives have been subjected to testing on Instron machines, but sadly I cannot find any published information relating to the coating of Creme Eggs.

I suspect that if the Creme Eggs are stored in a refrigerator prior to attack by human incisors, the process could be less mess but less flavour. Alternatively, you could eat them in the bath.

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Guest

Never a fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs I noticed a pack of 6 Cadbury Creme Egg Limited Edition Biscuits selling at 99p per pack in my local convenience store. I have to say I found them more eggcceptible and less messy to eat with a similar interior as the egg with a yolk and white. Will they be reducing the next edition to a pack of 5? I wonder………

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Guest

That’s the end of the crème egg trail for me, and I’ve been eating them for over fifty years. Too small, too sweet and no longer milk chocolate – no thanks. It’s enough to drive a man to eating Snickers – except have you seen them lately? They’re tiny too.

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Guest

Though the UK Cadbury site still does not have links to Creme Eggs, they do feature on the Mondelez international site:

“The Cadbury Creme Egg has been a seasonal Easter icon worldwide since 1975. More than 300 million are made each year. The Cadbury Creme Egg is available annually from New Year’s Day to Easter Day.”

That would be a boxful for every man, woman and child, except that some are sold in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

If

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Guest

I hope Mondelez are not ashamed of Cadbury’s history. The creme egg first entered the market as a Fry’s product from the Somerdale factory [at Keynsham] in the early 1920’s when the boss of that subsidiary was one Egbert Cadbury. The Somerdale plant was promptly closed down by Kraft immediately after its take-over of Cadbury.

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Guest

Perhaps the history could be tweaked to refer to Eggbert Cadbury. 🙂

Were the Somerdale creme eggs ready to eat or did they have to be Fryed?

Guest
Kenneth says:
18 January 2015

There seems to be a nasty trend going on with substituting dextrose and other “man-made” sugars instead if the real thing. Now we have to put up with inferior American style chocolate. Guess I’m going to have to be creative and make my own sweets (or is that candy?).

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Guest

Kenneth – Dextrose is just another name for glucose. Glucose occurs naturally in plants and we all have it circulating in our blood. What you regard as the real thing – sucrose or table sugar – is much sweeter than glucose.

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Guest

I think the sugar they put in the Cabury product is deggstrose.

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Guest

Well done. A pun that probably hasn’t been used hundreds of times before.

Guest
Kate Whelan says:
19 January 2015

No, I am not short changed; it is still five too many. Cannot stand the gooey mess. Apart from Bourneville, Cadbury’s has not the faintest idea of what chocolate is, nor do the people brought up on the fake stuff. It is little wonder there is so much diabetes in the UK!

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Guest

On the other hand, we have people being conditioned into chocolat snobbery, which is quite profitable for manufacturers. 🙂

Cadbury’s did recognise that some people are prepared to pay more for chocolate and acquired Green & Black’s, ten years ago.

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Guest

I enjoy chocolate – mainly plain – with a coffee or chocolate drink. I eat far less of a good quality bar than I would of, say, a sweet milk such as Cadbury or Toblerone. The strong flavour is the attraction, not the sugar.

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Guest

So do I, but I object to the inflated price. I know that cocoa butter is more expensive than vegetable fat and sugar is cheap, but I can see no reason why better quality chocolate is as expensive as it is.

Coffee beans and ground coffee are not that much more expensive than instant coffees but we are now being encouraged to spend more money by buying expensive coffee pods. In contrast, it is possible to buy top quality beer for little more or even the same price as the mass produced tasteless stuff. That could all change if the public is persuaded to spend more for ‘craft beer’.

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Guest

We fall for gadgets – either to dress our kitchen (not thinking of the space they take up) or receive as gifts. Coffee capsule machines are exactly that and, like inkjet printers, a means to lock you in to expensive consumables. We buy ground coffee in bags and make it in a cafetiere. Far cheaper than capsules and satisfies our taste. I did have a cheap espresso macine once that frothed the milk but got so fed up keeping it cleaned and descaled reverted to the easy method.

Incidentally, i’ve never understood why we elevate the status of someone who serves coffee with the pretentious name of “barista”. It comes from the Italian for “bartender” – much more appropriate.

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Guest

I think some people imagine they have a law degree and have spent seven years in chambers doing their articles. The gormless twits who do the job round here just like making a lot of noise with their Gaggias and then try to talk to you over the racket.

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I respect a good barista because good coffee is an important tradition, like Creme Eggs. Nestle seems determined to undermine any respect by giving a ‘Barista’s Tip’ on cans of Nescafe Azera INSTANT coffee, a mediocre product compared with their other offerings.

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Guest

Maybe then tea ladies should be termed brewmasters (or mashmistresses).

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Guest

Those in Canada can continue to enjoy a six-pack of Creme Eggs enveloped in Cadbury’s Dairy Milk: http://www.thestar.com/life/2015/01/21/canadians-spared-creme-egg-choco-horror.html

Emigrating seems a bit eggstreme.

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Guest

News eggstra. I didn’t know, until reading the DT today, that there are two makers of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Apologies if I’ve missed it. Hershey have the licence to manufacture them in USA – but to a different recipe approved by the FDA. Companies were importing the “real” Creme Egg from UK – presumably now with the Kraft recipe shell – but have now been stopped by a Hershey lawsuit. Consternation apparently for Americans and expats who prefer the “yummy English chocolate” to the “dreadful Cadbury approximation” from “so-called chocolate maker Hershey”.

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Guest

There are many things we can blame Kraft for, but I believe it was Mondelez that tinkered with the recipe for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. Maybe an eggspert can advise.

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Guest

Apparently Hershey and others want to change the EU definition of “chocolate” to include their chocolate-flavoured candy bars. So far the EU has resisted, but, if and when TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is forced through they will be able to bring legal action if their business is disadvantaged by the ruling. More serious products will also be in jeapardy. There comes a point when our own interests should take priority over greedy businesses, shouldn’t there?

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Guest

Thanks Malcolm. I was happier when TTIP was just a useful reagent in synthetic organic chemistry.

Chocolate has many enthusiasts worldwide so there could be a lot of opposition to this change. Maybe those with an intolerance of cocoa will welcome blends of vegetable fat, sugars, synthetic flavours and synthetic colours. 🙁

Please don’t get me started on the subject of greedy businesses.

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Guest

My Daughter, loved crème eggs, before this American Company, completely changed the standard of ingredients(most definitely Cheaper, less Quality) horrible She said. She’s had Me out searching for any of the old ones still left on the Shop Shelves & luckily I managed to find Her some. When are the people of this Country going to stand up for themselves, We are being Cheated & thrown scraps , in place of most of our quality products. Were these mega companies can trick our taste buds with artificial, most probably genetically modified, chemicals/additives to make as much profit possible they will. They do not care one hoot, about supplying the customer with anything of quality or which is good for them, oh no, they do not care at all. I remember when those tripe Haribio 1st came over & flooded the UK sweet Market, pushing our beautiful Yummy Confectionary out of the market. Even as A child, I thought it a terrible disgrace, those Haribio Sweets are nothing in comparison to the sweets we had before they took over. In fact 2 Years ago in Blackburn I was lucky enough to find & purchase some sports mixtures, midget gems & wine gums, which were in fact the real deal, from My old School Shop, well the shop all the children from our school Used to Go. My Daughter said they tasted quite lovely, better than any She had ever tasted before. I examined the Jar, the maker:’The Good Sweet Company’
Alas try as I did, not even online could I trace were this company was located. Honestly the sweets which our now being sold to our children, are chemically laced, plastic tasting frauds, which are definitely bad for their Health & the Bottom line is: They DO NOT taste Good, No where near the absolutely scrumptious offerings that filled the Shop keepers shelves when I was a Child & that’s so terribly Unfair. If You would like to treat Your children, purchase good old fashioned wholesome, preferably organic(gmo’s, artificial additives & chemicals, or waste products, are NOT aloud) & make some sweets Yourself. Its really easy & the Result, You know what went into them & Your not going to risk their Health in any way. I’m a real foody, always have been & I say this, I find it quite impossible to offer anyone a plate of food which could potentially harm them. Cooking for someone is a total Love thing, a personal gift from Yourself, Untested, Risky, Poisonous components ought NOT to be Allowed.

Guest
john c says:
30 March 2015

Ainsley Harriets World Kitchen Packet Cup of Soups. Currently in supermarkets in two packing formats. – Old style contains four sachets, and sells at £1.26 reduced temporarily to 63p. The newcomer contains only three sachets currently selling at £1.64 reduced to 82p. What is Ainslie up to?

Latest ploy in some branches of Sainsbury’s is to replace at check outs the 10p carrier bag for life
with a 40p version, with the 10p version kept under the counter to be produced only on request!

M&S carrier bags – the 5p one produced several years ago, flaunted its green credentials by declaring the a percentage of the profit was going to green charities. Since M&S withdrew provision of free carrier bags, savings of £17 million accrued in the first few years may have been stuffed into their own pockets. Several requests to M&S for further information re this merely produced stock responses that “The question is not understood”. Does anyone know whether flourishing their green credentials has led to any change of heart, as all proceeds of carrier sales plus the mony saved by not providing carrier bags should have been donated to green charities?. I know some other shops had copied their example, and at one time Halfords bags were endorsed that a percentage of the profits went to charity. Those praising shops which refuse to provide free carrier bags might well ask “How green is their wallet?”
John C

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Guest

When Kraft made a hostile takeover bid for Cadbury it had to borrow £7 billion in order to finance it, it seems to have passed this bill onto Cadbury customers by progressively shrinking it’s products (without apparently reducing it’s wholesale price) and appearing to change the recipe to cheaper ingredients, fudge bars, chomps and Freddos appear to have halved in size and doubled in price recently. Also this was not publicised to the customer and inventive packaging was produced to appear to hide the size reduction from their customers (remember none of this happened until Cadbury were bought out) here is a sample of this from a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30wsqtiBrVw
Also Cadbury at the same time Kraft appeared to have moved the weight of the product to the back underneath the wrapping flap or fold from where it was at the front. At the time all of this was being exposed Kraft changed it’s confectionary arm name to Mondelez and if questions are asked about it’s size shrinkage it refers them on to Mondelez and say it’s nothing to do with them. Crafty! I’ve asked Kraft a number of questions about this over the last few years and I always receive spin back (and mainly same templated stuff). So there you fo, that’d Kraft for you! I’m surprised Which haven’t held them to account yet!

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Guest

It’s about time all shops not just supermarkets are made to show price per 100g in law, this will stop these unscrupulous cheating companies from trying to trick the consumer like this.

Guest
ExEggEater says:
7 April 2015

It’s not just the fact they shrunk them to one step beyond a mini-egg…they taste like crap now….as does most US type chocolate….Even in Canada its the same story…and beyond a yoke…

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Guest

Please can Which! campaign for food to be marked everywhere as price per 100g so that we get rid of this current practice of shrinking sizes but not prices (that I believe was started by Kraft with Cadbury Chocolate). Also please can you make clear to readers that the manufacturers trying to wriggle out of it by saying they’ve reduced the Recommended Retail Price, as that is only a suggestion by the manufacturer and does not mean that the prices will be reduced accordingly! I wish Tesco/ Sainsbury and the like would take a stand on this instead of idly standing by and letting the manufacturers dictate to them!

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Thanks for your suggestion John, I’ll pass your feedback to the relevant individuals here at Which? for their consideration. 🙂

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I personally think we’d have more success if manufacturers were forced to announce new smaller size across the front of each product they’ve shrunk. And retailers were forced to display the old size and average price over the previous 6 months on the same label in the same size font

It would be obvious what they’ve up to then.

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william, a bit like the regulations affecting sale goods. Pack unit price was..(£1.00 / 100g)….. Pack unit price is now..(£1.20 / 100g)…. Good idea.

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Perhaps the answer is to show the unit price in larger numbers than the selling price. If we start to pay more attention to unit prices then it does not matter what games the companies play.

But first we need unit prices on everything including the multi-buys.

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Trouble is, I forget what the unit prices were on all the products I bought last week. William’s suggestion of including the unit price over a previous period helps overcome that. A bit like showing last year’s insurance premium on your renewal letter.

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The suggestions made by you and William would certainly be helpful to shoppers.

I started focusing on unit price a few years ago when I realised the games that supermarkets were playing. I look at the unit price of ground coffee because the pack size varies but at the actual price of instant coffee because that’s sold in 100g jars.

Guest
DR Ruxandra Ion says:
9 May 2017

I am not sure if this can be categorised as a “shrinking product” or as a “blatant scam”: I bought these from a small independent TESCOs in New Malden (please see pictures). Both amounts were significantly less than advertised on the box. I was surprised to find in the Beef pack, a 200 g portion meant (if I believe the pack label) for two servings!

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Guest

Given that the pictures show Spar products I don’t think Tesco should be cited as responsible. So far as I am aware Tesco operate all their Express and Local format shops directly and not as franchises. I can only assume these meat packs were bought in a local Spar convenience store. Spar does operate as a wholesaler to franchised and independent shops under their branding.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

The official requirements for packaged goods are:

Three Packers Rules
These set out 3 rules that packers and importers must comply with:

– the contents of the packages must not be less on average than the nominal quantity
– the proportion of packages which are short of the stated quantity by more than a defined amount (the ‘tolerable negative error’) should be less than a specified level
– no package should be short by twice the tolerable negative error

They provide protection for consumers on short measure.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/packaged-goods-weights-and-measures-regulations

I am opposed to the ‘tolerable negative error’. That had a place when weighing machines were less accurate and could easily become inaccurate. That’s history and modern equipment is much better. The sold weight or volume should represent the minimum contents.

As John says, there’s no point in berating Tesco for underweight Spar products.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Guest

I agree that the best way for consumers is to sell in packs that show the minimum quantity – weight or volume. Therefore all packs will in practice be above this level, by the negative tolerance of the measuring plant plus, with allowance for any weight loss in storage. The price will increase accordingly to cover the average wight of production packs.