Stories of shrinking supermarket essentials are rarely good news for your pocket. Well we’ve found that toilet roll has been shrinking, but the price has barely budged. So do you feel short changed?
When we asked Which? members to tell us which products had shrunk we were inundated with responses, but the one which kept cropping up was toilet roll. Several eagle-eyed contributors contacted us about Andrex toilet roll shedding sheets over the years.
Contributors such as Paul W who left this comment on Which? Convo:
‘Have Which? looked at toilet rolls? It is noticeable that they have reduced in width, not by very much, but a millimeter reduction means a “free” full roll every 100 for the manufacturer. When I built shelves in the airing cupboard to take toilet rolls a 2 roll height just fitted, now there is room to spare.’
So we decided to investigate further, delving into the archives to when we tested toilet roll in 2006 and 2008.
What we found was that the standard Andrex toilet roll used to have 240 sheets, it now has 221 sheets – an 8% reduction. Andrex ‘Puppies On A Roll’ had 221 sheets per roll but now has 190 – 14% less.
But when we checked the price of the pack of standard Andrex four pack, we found that it stayed around the £2 mark.
Not content with this we continued our quest and investigated the length of Andrex toilet roll from 15 years ago.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of one Which? member who still had a pack of this artefact stored away and kindly sent us photographic evidence. This investigation revealed that Andrex toilet roll used to contain 280 sheets per roll – 59 more than the current pack.
Andrex said that the most recent size change was in early 2015 and that it didn’t drop the RRP:
‘We invested significantly in improving our product strength and softness. Reducing the roll by a very small number of sheets (this equates to five to six wiping occasions) has helped make this multi-million pound investment possible.’
Andrex also told us the earlier change took place in 2001, however, it said the RRP had dropped by roughly the same amount and that it had made improvements.
Toilet roll isn’t the only product we’ve found to be shrinking – biscuits, juice and coffee are just some of the other products that we’ve also spotted slimming down. But as far as we’re concerned, these shrinking products are all very well and good, providing it’s not a sneaky way of increasing prices.
So do you feel short changed by shrinking toilet roll? Or do you think that it doesn’t matter? Have you noticed any other shrinking products?