/ Food & Drink, Shopping

When pack sizes shrink why don’t their prices?

Have you had suspicions that supermarket packs are shrinking? Well, we’ve trawled through a years worth of supermarket data to uncover the products that are shrinking – and their prices have stayed the same.

When we last asked you about this on Which? Conversation, you inundated us with examples of shrinking products.

So, we took these examples, along with the most commonly bought branded items, and checked whether their sizes had changed using data from independent grocery shopping site mysupermarket.co.uk.

We found a raft of products that had shrunk. Jars of Loyd Grossman Balti Curry Sauce have gone from 425g to 350g. Tubs of Dairylea Cheese Spread are 40g lighter. And there are two fewer nappies in a pack of Pampers Baby Dry Maxi.

In fact, we found shrinking products from most aisles of the supermarket – including laundry tablets, chicken, jam, dishwasher tablets, yoghurts and cereals.

But when we checked the prices of these smaller products, we found them for sale at the same price as before, or more per 100g, at the time the sizes changed.

What you think about shrinking products

We’ve had over 100 comments on our shrinking product Conversations, so what was said? Chris Fowler thinks manufacturers have something to answer for:

‘It is clear many manufacturers have changed the shape of bottles, jars and other containers to conceal the fact that the volume is smaller, and the weight of the product has gone down. So this process of reducing the amount of a product while keeping the price the same is underhand, and manufacturers are deliberately trying to hide it from consumers.’

Lovodale wants us to be more vocal about these pack size changes:

‘Manipulation of weights and measures instantly improves profits, confuses the public and there seems to be insufficient strong public opinion to bring about changes to a more open and honest industry.’

And KC sums up the anger felt by supermarket shoppers:

‘I don’t want to have to do a maths test to make sure I am not being ripped off every time I enter a supermarket.’

What did manufacturers and supermarkets say?

So we wanted to find out why manufacturers were shrinking their goods. When we asked, most said it was to keep prices down in the face of rising costs. Other companies said the product formulation had changed at the same time as the size.

And even though manufacturers told us that supermarkets dictated the final price, when we asked whether they had dropped the recommended retail price, those that answered said they hadn’t. As for the supermarkets themselves, they said manufacturers had reduced the sizes, and that they based their own prices on wholesale costs.

So, is shrinking a product an underhand way of raising prices? Would it be ok to shrink pack sizes if we were told about it? And what examples have you spotted?

What types of products have you seen shrinking?

Food (45%, 588 Votes)

Drinks (21%, 274 Votes)

Cleaning (19%, 252 Votes)

Beauty (9%, 124 Votes)

Other (share in comments) (6%, 82 Votes)

Total Voters: 691

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Comments

@Jim,
Yep it’s a tough world full of things we don’t like, but have to swallow.
We can either follow the Gorden Brown model, ‘I refuse to accept that’ and keep being disappointed when we discover we are not living in Utopia, or realise that our reality is sometimes unkind, unfair and hurts a bit.

Social responsibility:, I think it’s cooperate interest vs Human responsibility, a difficult juggling act for Executives who have to make a profit, but want to do something worthwhile for their fellows, this is the reason so many CEOs have psychopathic type personalities, they need to, to be able to place profit before people.

I often make this simple distinction, and ask which village would you rather live in?
3 men from a village go fishing, they catch fish return to the village and give the fish to the women, who cook and feed everyone including the fishermen.

3 men from a village go fishing, they catch fish return to the village keep a portion for themselves and sell the rest of the fish to any who can afford to buy, the rest starve.

Springheeledjim says:
20 April 2012

Good question. And for all my cynicism, I’d rather live in the first village. It would be lovely to be in a place where everyone co-operated for the common good. Some could catch fish, others could grow crops, others could cook – everyone would have a role, and everyone would be happy.

But we’ve moved on from that. Our societies are so developed, so fragmented, that those roles don’t work any more.

Now what happens is that 3 men go fishing, they bring the fish back to the village. A couple of other men have been sitting around all day; they ask for fish. But the fishermen are tired; they don’t see why they should give their fish to people who haven’t worked for them. So a fight breaks out. Meanwhile, their women are p****d off at always being expected to do the cooking. One of them is drunk on alcoholic fish juice, and a fight breaks out there too.

While all the fighting is happening, a kid from the next village sneaks in and steals all the fishing gear.

I think the point I’m making ( somewhere ! ) is that utopian societies are just an ideal. Capitalism is far from ideal, but it’s all we have. The Russians tried communism; that didn’t work either.

But until someone can come up with a better system, we’re stuck with capitalism and the free market model. And the free market model requires businesses to strive for growth. And that’s why we have what we have. People might not like it, but I think you and I would agree – we’re stuck with it.

Anyway, all this banter is making me hungry. Fancy coming over to mine ? I’ve got fish.

Forget all these high fallutin’ tales of villages, fish, communism, capitalism and all the other isms, forget that you ‘know’ about these high fallutin’ ways that supermarkets work, forget all that tosh!
At the end of the day I have to watch my pennies, every single one, and I’d sooner starve than let my dog starve, and there have been occasions when he’s eaten and I haven’t, yes the very bottom of the ladder, one step, perhaps two, from the gutter.
‘THEY’ are ripping us off basically, instead of my buying a tin full of meaty chunks in jelly I’m gettin some meaty chunks and a lot of jelly, or rather the Hound From Hell is, and he don’t like all that jelly!
I’m not an economist, nor have I degree in Business Managment, my degree is in History and Politics that at least have some relation to the real world, I say it like I see it and the supermarkets are taking us for mugs!
Still no reply from Morrisons!

@Crazytrucker.
Exactly what we are saying, supermarkets are going to maximise profit no matter what we do or say, and as long as we live in a world where the free market rules, your tin size will gradually decrease, the chunks will be fewer and the jelly’s nutritional value will fall.

The fish talk is just us yearning for a better, fairer world to live in, and realising that it just aint going to happen.

I used to cook Skippers food [bless his hairy soul] from butchers scraps, veggies with a little fish oil thrown in, as I could never be sure what was in those cans, and it was a damned sight cheaper too, but it seems the days of free scraps from the butcher are over as well.

Remember while you are watching every penny, so is our Government working on new ways to get it off you!

‘Remember while you are watching every penny, so is our Government working on new ways to get it off you!’

This is exactly why we should let ‘them’ know that we are on to their little games, and over the years Governments of all persuasions have had enough pennies off me, for instance my Pension Credit went up £8:47, my rent went up £9:50! What it gives with one hand it snatches back with two! Similar to many other writers if they had done the, shall I say the honourable thing and just hiked the price with the same quantity of ‘meaty chunks in jelly’, and not just some meaty chunks in loadsa jelly, I may have felt slightly less bitter about it as we have had to suffer with so many other items not just food stuffs. The quality of the ‘meaty chunks’ I dare not contemplate, the cat eats it when given a chance so it’s a fair bet it does contain meat, but meat of what I will not ponder on here, what with the Hound From Hell being so ‘picky’ in old age I’m just glad when he eats, and touch wood he’s eating like the little gannet he always was, just dosed with cod liver oil, which incidentally has also exploded in price! Never knew there were so many different strengths, surely CLO is CLO, isn’t it?
He’s back to Winalot on Monday when I will make a further report on my investigations.
We should all shout it from the rooftops that we are not going to take it any more!

Still no reply from Morrisons.
I am not holding my breath.

Chash says:
23 April 2012

Sainsbury’s have been doing this for some time. Cuppasoups come 4 to a packet, Harpic Loo Cleaning tablets and Washing Machine sachets are all in containers half full. Why don’t they just be open and reduce the price for less quantity?. To be fair Sainsbury’s give a “Price Per Qty” on some labels in store.

@Springheeledjim.

Fish sure sounds good to me….
Maybe any community that grows larger than a village will fail as a civil society?

Back on topic, now the supermarkets know that we know, maybe it’s time to come clean, package the goods in smaller sized containers, saving shelf space and packaging materials [don’t know about retooling].
Or do as Crazytrucker suggests and just hike the price.
Despite protests people will still buy the goods and pay the price asked.

Springheeledjim says:
24 April 2012

Maybe you’re right. Maybe any community larger than a village is doomed to fail. Would be sad if that were the case.

The supermarkets have known that we know for a long time. They’re just not worried about it. Largely because they can ( with some justification ) pass the blame onto suppliers, and partly because all supermarkets are in the same boat, so there’s little risk of losing competitive advantage.

There are actually rules now on how much space you can leave in packaging ( part of the environmental directives ) so you shouldn’t see suppliers reducing pack contents and leaving lots of empty space.

You probably wouldn’t find suppliers retooling unless they have to though – packaging tools are pretty damn expensive.

Research studies have shown that consumers actually prefer reduced pack sizes to increased prices – which is why suppliers do what they do.

Furthermore – and I know most people on this thread won’t believe me – supermarkets actually hate it when they are forced to increase their prices. Not so much out of a sense of public spirit – but more because they are all publicly shouting about reducing prices. So any price increase ( and pack size reduction ) is normally resisted by the retailer.

Last time I was at a supplier – we had a material cost increase that we had to face into. Eventually we phoned the retailers and told them we had to put through a 10% price increase. At first they wouldn’t accept it, but eventually they told us that they would accept it in twelve weeks time.

Doesn’t quite sit with the notion of fat cat retailers ripping us off whenever they can, does it ?

Gretal says:
25 April 2012

More cheese? No, less… I discovered at lunchtime that Pilgrim’s Choice cheddar has shrunk from 400g to 350g in a pack .

I don’t know about you lot but I’m growing web feet and takent qhacking!
My latest report on the ‘Meaty Chunks’ saga.
We are now on to Winalot Meaty Chunks in Jelly (Classic).
I’m pleased to report that Winalot contains Meaty Chunks to the very bootom of the tins with little extraneous jelly substances! Having said that it is 40p per six pack more expensive, but as regards meat vs extraneous jelly stuff Winalot seems the better option, plus Morrisons have it on special offer at £2:50 per six pack so I bought 4! It will be a while until my next report where I will try out Toscos own brand!

Still no word from Morrisons, not even an acknowledgment of my email which I know they received.
Not holding my breath on this one though old Billy Morrison will be rolling around in his grave.

Sorry, ‘taken to quacking’!

I know this is a little off subject, in fact this could be a whole new thread.
I bought a squeezy container of Hellmans Light Mayo the other week on special offer.
Fine until you come to near the end trying to get the final dollop of mayo out, you unscrew the top and poke about with knives, sqeezing and shaking and yet there’s still mayo in there that refuses to budge or be got at!
This is just one example, jam and spread manufacturers are the worst with nooks and crannies inbuilt to annoy the hell out of you. There is one brand with square jars that are particularly annoying, though their cherry, strawberry and apricot jams are really nice whilst not being too OTT on price.
Any opinions? Or am I just a pickey old git? No don’t answer that, it will upset the dog!

Liam says:
2 May 2012

M & S food playing the same game. Recently noticed pack of Coriander and Lime Chicken 360g, still the same price as previous pack which weighed 420g!! This applies to other packs in this range including the peppered chicken etc. Also noticed reduction in size of desert, the lemon soufle. Unsure about the weight but the ramakin dish is definitely smaller.

Calum says:
6 May 2012

One shrinkage I have noticed that effects a multitude of products – namely the Tin Can used to sell Baked Beans, Soups and Custard etc. They all used to be 454G (1ib in old money) now they are rapidly heading downwards to in some cases under 400g. In fact they are all different sizes now 425g 415g 400g etc etc – must play havoc with the packaging.

I have two tins of Ambrosia Custard in my cupboard one 425g and one 400g !!!

ladyruskin says:
7 May 2012

Sainsbury’s in Dulwich have currently got Pampers Active Fit size 4 in 2 different styles of packaging. The ‘old’ version has 46 nappies in it. The ‘new’ better fitting version has only 44. Both are being sold for £9.99 or £16 for two packs.

Ken Grahame says:
8 May 2012

This is all getting really tiresome. We could spend the rest of our lives listing endless examples until we reach the point where all there is left on the shelves are empty packs, (or just totally blank spaces if the environmentalists have their way).
No matter how the supermarkets/manufacturers try to hide it with their lame excuses, its nothing short of THEFT!!!
Before buying a new car/computer/TV or whatever, I look at the details, go see examples of them etc, before placing an order. When it arrives, I don’t expect my car to be lacking the alloy wheels I was expecting, or my computer to have 20% less hard drive space etc. I expect them to be the same as current examples, unless I am told otherwise.
So why should it be that I buy something that APPEARS to be exactly the same as the last one I bought, only to find that a substantial portion of it is missing!!
They are literally ROBBING us, and it’s time Which? stopped reading all this, and DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

I agree that these continual examples are tiresome. There will be literally thousands of them; you could go on forever if you wanted.

Your analogy of a new car / computer / tv etc is flawed though. Of course if you buy a car with alloy wheels as part of the spec and don’t get it you’re being cheated. But a more relevant comparison ( with the tin of beans getting smaller etc etc ) is if you buy a car and then find that it’s not as good as the one you bought last time. My advice ( in both situations ) is check carefully that you’re buying what you think you’re buying.

But you’re not being robbed. How can you be ? The price is clearly visible, so is the weight. The ingredients and GDA are also on each pack.

And I reiterate my earlier point – there are worse things in life than food grocery pricing ( which is actually lower for some goods than it has ever been ) How about petrol prices ? Insurance costs ? airline tickets ? Estate agent fees ? Credit card admin charges ? These are the real things we should be complaining about – not a tin of beans that used to cost 50p for 400g and now costs 50p for 350g ( and in 1975 cost 40p for 400g )

This is partly the reason that you won’t make any progress on this issue: it’s simply not big enough, or has enough people annoyed about it, for anything to happen. Look at this thread as an example – lots of people whining about tins of dog food and firing off emails to supermarkets. No real suggestions for how to deal with it.

The second reason you won’t make any progress on this issue: everyone’s at it. There isn’t one supermarket / manufacturer that you can single out as being worse than the others. So even if you did ( for the sake of argument ) manage to get size changes flagged on the label – what are you going to do about it ? If you go to a different shop – odds are you’ll find the same can on the shelves.

The third reason – is that Which is showing itself to be completely toothless on this issue. Does it have a proposal ? Does it have a view ? Where is its moderation on this thread ? Nothing. Nada. Zip….

So unless someone comes up with some concrete proposals on this one – I think this thread will continue to be fairly aimless….

Ken Grahame says:
8 May 2012

While I agree that the car analogy may not have been the best example, I think the basic point is still true – we ARE being robbed through DELIBERATE and INTENTIONAL DECEPTION.
If you buy something week after week, I think you are fully entitled to expect what appears to all intents and prposes to be the same thing to be just that – the SAME thing. Yes that small print will indeed show that the contents are a certain quantity, (though not because they want you to know how much there is or isn’t in there), but everything else is exactly the same, and as such they are presenting the item in every way they can as BEING the same item – when, of course it isn’t. This is true not only where they have reduced the overall quantity, but even worse in my mind, where they actually CHANGE the contents – invariably for the worse – by reducing or removing the “best” bits (eg, the quantity of meat in a meat and potato pie), once they have got people buying it.
As for concrete proposals to deal with it, I have suggested before, that where changes in quantity or other content are altered, they should be CLEARLY displayed on the FRONT of the packet/container – with a minimum area/type size etc – and such notice should be included for a certain period of time – 3 months say.
This conversation is running on a Which? site, and it’s time Which?, as an organisation to protect the consumer started to do just that, and put an end to these con tricks.
Finally, if people sat there in apathy because “nothing can be done about it” we’d all still be dying in droves in our childhood at the hands of greedy mill owners!

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

” If you buy something week after week, I think you are fully entitled to expect what appears to all intents and prposes to be the same thing to be just that. ”

But you’re not. Legally, each transaction is separate. The fact that it cost you 40p for 400g one week does not entitle you to expect it to be the same price or weight next week. And logically, if that were true, then prices would never change. Hence my point about cars, houses, in fact any other type of consumer goods – IN NO OTHER CATEGORY DO WE EXPECT PRICES TO STAY THE SAME WEEK IN / WEEK OUT. Why should grocery prices be any different ? We moan about petrol prices going up ( one of my pet hates, in fact ) but we all seem to accept it. Why is there no clamour for petrol stations to display ‘ Last week : 146p per litre, this week 149p per litre. ? Because we all know that prices are subject to change.

I really don’t understand where this belief that grocery prices shouldn’t fluctuate comes from; it’s very odd.

Ken Grahame says:
8 May 2012

The whole point here is that it’s not the PRICE thats changing. We can all see the price because its clearly there in front of us to see, while the contents of a tin or packet are hidden from view. If I buy a kg of something from a greengrocer, while the price may vary, I don’t expect to get it home, and find it now only contains 900g.
I do feel we have a RIGHT not to be conned, and while they hide behind legal mumbo-jumbo that’s no excuse for allowing it to continue.

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

But that’s my point. You’re not being conned. The price is clearly displayed – but so is the weight. The supermarkets even work out price per gram / litre for you ! How on earth are you being conned ?

Ken Grahame says:
8 May 2012

I give up! You are clearly the supermarket’s dream customer who will accept any sort of abuse from them. Unfortunately, as you pointed out earlier, there are so many people who meekly go along with the same resigned attitude. Well I don’t, and I’m sure there must be plenty of people out there who can see how we are all being taken advantage of, and surely must feel this isn’t right. What’s not right is WRONG, and needs changing.

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

Perhaps I am the supermarket’s dream customer. Maybe it’s just because I work for one.

I’m not disputing that you ( and others on here ) feel that you’re being wronged on this. I just think that there are bigger battles to be fought than this.

Your suggestion of a label showing price increases / volume changes isn’t workable. Effectively, the supermarkets would push this back to the suppliers ( given that the suppliers have responsibility for the pack labels ) This would increase costs at the suppliers ( additional label print runs / stock write offs etc ) so would increase the price of the product you want to buy.

Are you really willing to pay even more for your food just to see how prices have changed ?

How would changing an EPOS (shelf edge label) cost suppliers more?
In case you hadn’t noticed Jim, the pack sizes are already changing, they have to be displayed on packaging by law.
The price or pack size on a supermarket label, means adding one piece of information, in the same way as the supermarkets change prices. It would cost very little extra from what they already have to do.

Have a look at how supermarkets are currently reporting prices.
XX amount per 100g changes to a bigger weight when it reveals a higher price per selected weight!

I am with you, Ken. If I go to a supermarket I expect to be cheated and probably will be.

I would respect a supermarket that advertised ‘Smaller packet – same price’.

It is not going to happen because advertising and marketing is based on deception and misrepresentation.

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

” It is not going to happen because advertising and marketing is based on deception and misrepresentation. ”

Not really. This is the kind of paranoid conspiracy nonsense that doesn’t really wash.

Advertising is about presenting a product in its best light and trying to persuade you to buy it. It’s not deceptive ( in fact, it’s not allowed to be; there are codes of practice for that sort of thing ) but it does put a positive spin on things.

There are two types of marketing. There’s crap marketing – where you try and convince the public to buy the crap product that you make – or there’s good marketing – where you find out what the public would like to buy and try and convince the organisation you work for to make it for them.

Most of the leading organisations in business try and do good marketing rather than the bad marketing. Most of the companies that do bad marketing ( ie Ratners ) get found out in the end.

If you believe this it must be because you work in the industry. The rest of us are slightly more enlightened. 🙂

I was going to mention Gerald Ratner, but decided not to in case his famous statement was intercepted by the Which? profanity filter. I respect him for his honesty, though not for stocking total rubbish.

Disagree, it is not “paranoid conspiracy” at all.
How is inflating a situation to it’s maximum to highlight the need for a product, not deceptive/misleading?

Advertisers/marketing speak should be allowed to say “this is our product, it can do this, this and this”
Instead we get, “You may have this go wrong or that go wrong, you could need this, or have to pay [insert inflated maximum here]… if you buy our product blah blah blah”
A good product will always sell itself, no need for making up scenarios to lure a customer in.
Like the new album or film that’s advertised on TV – if it was any good the marketing people wouldn’t have to waste their budgets on advertising it would they!

A major issue I have with supermarkets, is that they use marketing/advertising promoting the perception that they are saving people money, when for the most part, they are not.
I have more than 17 years retail experience, at local shops and national companies, at various levels from shop floor to management. I see on a weekly basis how supermarkets mislead the public.
Obviously there will be genuine mistakes now and again, thousands of product lines etc. Everyone accepts this, but when a shelf edge label or tv advertisement is deemed to be an offer when it is clearly not, like the price being falsely inflated for less than the legal timeframe before then being reduced back to the normal price it always was, to indicate a “sale”, it’s just not on.
Marketing is engineering a situation in target audience customer minds, to coerce them into buying a product.

“Paranoid conspiracy” indeed, next you’ll be telling us that insulation for vulnerable and low paid customers is really “free”
Have a day off…. :O)

Thanks Frugal. Next we will be told that the companies pay for all the expensive advertising. That is undoubtedly true, of course, but where does the money come from? That’s getting off topic, so time to get back to shrinking products.

Spring heeled Jim says:
8 May 2012

Yup. Been in marketing twenty years. Partly at supplier, and partly at retailer.

And whether you lot believe me or not, I try my best to do the good marketing I spoke about – ie if consumers tell me they want a better product, or a cheaper version, or more chocolate or whatever then I try and persuade the business to make it happen.

The one time I had to ‘ value engineer ‘ ie keep the price the same but make the product lower quality I fought it all the way. In the end though there wasn’t anything else we could do.

As for Ratner – well, you might admire his honesty, but that honesty cost him his business. What lesson does that teach us ?

Well, there are not many content customers in this discussion, so the happy and respectful ones must be too busy enjoying their shopping experiences.

You may do your best to deliver a good compromise between quality and price but it is fairly evident that many pack sizes are being cut to conceal price rises. We might as well leave it there because we are unlikely to change our opinions.

Maybe we need a few more like Gerald Ratner.

Spring heeled Jim says:
9 May 2012

” How is inflating a situation to it’s maximum to highlight the need for a product, not deceptive/misleading? Advertisers/marketing speak should be allowed to say “this is our product, it can do this, this and this”
Instead we get, “You may have this go wrong or that go wrong, you could need this, or have to pay [insert inflated maximum here]… if you buy our product blah blah blah”
A good product will always sell itself, no need for making up scenarios to lure a customer in.
Like the new album or film that’s advertised on TV – if it was any good the marketing people wouldn’t have to waste their budgets on advertising it would they! ”

I’m sorry, but this is totally wide of the mark. Yes, there are some misleading / scaremongering ads out there – and as a consumer I hate those too. ( My personal bugbear at the moment are all those ‘ have you been missold PPI ? ‘ ads – enough already ! ) But the majority of ads are pretty accurate. When I make an ad ( and I’ve made dozens ) I try and be funny, engaging, humourous and direct. Where’s the harm in that ? I also get the script checked by the Advertising Standards Authority – and they check to make sure I’m not making any misleading claims.

As for ‘ a good product will sell itself ‘ – I’m sorry, but that’s just garbage. I know of some brilliant products that are struggling simply because people just don’t know about them. You have to advertise so that people know you exist !

As for this: ” Next we will be told that the companies pay for all the expensive advertising. That is undoubtedly true, of course, but where does the money come from? ” – yup, you got it – the companies pay for the advertising themselves, using money generated from the sale of the products. For a new product, companies often make a loss ( ie spend more on advertising than they generate in revenue ) in the belief that once it is established they will make the money back.

Hardly daylight robbery, is it ? Honestly, I should dig out one of my old product P&Ls so you lot can see exactly what goes on. The level of naivety on this thread is staggering in places.

I’ve already accepted that I’m something of a lone voice on this thread. That’s fine. I don’t expect any of you to agree with me. Clearly you’re far happier with this as some kind of ‘ misled-consumer-support-group ‘ . That’s fine too. If you read my earlier comments you’ll see that I accept that there are some sharp practices in retail ( mainly in property management and promotional pricing though rather than ongoing retail price ) and manufacturing.

But seriously – this ‘ All advertising is lies, All retail is robbery, All suppliers are greedy ‘ stuff just doesn’t hang together. Are you all really so cynical that you find it hard to believe that some ( the majority, even ) companies just want to make decent products, sell them at a fair price, and make a reasonable return ?

As I’ve already said, I’ve worked for three major retail chains in the UK. All of them have been very clear that customer value, customer satisfaction and product quality are at the very heart of what they do. And not just in shareholder meetings, but in internal discussions too. I’ve been in meetings where we’ve been told to reduce all our prices because we weren’t offering good enough value for customers – and you still think that supermarkets only exist to rip you off ? I’m not disputing that some dodgy things don’t happen from time to time, and that mistakes don’t get made – but genuinely, all this cynicism is so misplaced.

Any retailer / supplier that thinks the route to long term profit growth is ripping off its customers is an idiot. The only way to succeed is to generate loyalty with your customers by providing better quality, better service, better value than your competitors. THAT is what the supermarkets are focusing on. Why do you think that Asda are so obsessed with low prices ? ( and trust me, they are. ) Or that Tesco are pumping millions into putting more staff into stores to reduce queue lengths at the checkout ?

I’ve been in marketing for over twenty years. In all that time I have tried hard to be the voice of the consumer in my organisation. I’ve fought for better quality, lower prices, better packaging, clearer advertising – all the things you’ve complained about in this thread.

And to find that some of you are so cynical that you can only believe the worst of me and what I do – it just really depresses me.

No-one is accusing you, as an individual, of anything, but some of what you have said is obviously flawed. For example:

Any retailer / supplier that thinks the route to long term profit growth is ripping off its customers is an idiot.

The large supermarkets have put their opposition out of business. I’m sure that you don’t need me to explain that a small number of large supermarket chains can manipulate prices and profits without doing anything illegal.

“But seriously – this ‘ All advertising is lies, All retail is robbery, All suppliers are greedy ‘ stuff just doesn’t hang together. Are you all really so cynical that you find it hard to believe that some ( the majority, even ) companies just want to make decent products, sell them at a fair price, and make a reasonable return ?”
The issue is reducing the pack size of a product, selling it for the same price and marketing that they are “saving us money”
Supermarkets, as wavechange says, have destroyed almost all competition, and like it or not, it is a fact that they price using demographics based on information they get from the customer via card payments, area, club cards, online receipt comparisons, etc.
If it were simply advertising for a fair product, I doubt many would even bother to post about it.

Jim says that he has been in marketing and has been ‘the voice of the consumer’ for over 20 years.

I would like manufacturers to stop the practice of shrinking product sizes and so would many others who have posted on this Conversation. If you must shrink the package because of inflation or cost of materials, etc, then draw attention to the fact. As I have said before, label the products ‘New smaller size – same price’ so that the customer is well aware of what they are buying. If manufacturers and retailers advertise larger packages for the same price, then why not?

Honesty in advertising. There would be a USP for you, Jim. 🙂