Shoppers are being hit with a bad news onslaught as the cost-of-living crunch bites and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate is the latest victim.
Supermarket executives have warned that they cannot swallow the rising costs to keep shelf prices the same as inflation reached a 30-year high of 6.2 per cent in the year to February.
Shrinkflation — the art of reducing a product’s size to keep its price — has been slipping into British stores as part of the wider surge in inflation.
Ingredients and raw materials are rising and for more and more businesses the only way to keep a price point — especially one as sensitive as the British sweet tooth — is to lose some size.
Cadbury has reduced the size of Dairy Milk sharing bars by 10 per cent as it passes on the impact of soaring costs to customers.
Parent company Mondelez blamed rising inflation in the production of its chocolate as it reduced the size of its larger bars from 200g to 180g. The bars are still being typically sold for £2 despite the size reduction.
Other products — in a far-from-exhaustive list — to see cuts in weight include Quality Street chocolate boxes, which now weigh 650g compared with 1.2 kilograms in 2009.
Jaffa Cakes are down by two biscuits to 10, Walkers crisps have reduced their multipack down by two, and the Frazzles multipack now only has six instead of eight packs.
Cabdury’s Creme Egg used to be in a traditional six-box package. Now it contains just five.
Persil washing powder is down by 75g, keeping the price at £5 but cutting the number of washes per pack.
Mondelez, Cadbury’s US parent company, said it was the first shrinkflation for its chocolate in a decade.
In 2011, the 140g chocolate bar was reduced in size to 120g and in 2012, a 49g bar was reduced to 45g, but the price remained at 59p.
“We're facing the same challenges that so many other food companies have already reported when it comes to significantly increased production costs — whether it's ingredients, energy or packaging — and rising inflation,” a Mondelez spokesman said.
“This means that our products are much more expensive to make.
“We understand that consumers are faced with rising costs too, which is why we look to absorb costs wherever we can, but, in this difficult environment, we've had to make the decision to slightly reduce the weight of our medium Cadbury Dairy Milk bars for the first time since 2012, so that we can keep them competitive and ensure the great taste and quality our fans enjoy.”
Consumer price inflation struck a 30-year high of 6.2 per cent in February and is expected to soar beyond 8 per cent in the coming months.
Figures for February showed that food price inflation increased by 5.3 per cent year-on-year, with milk, fresh meat and coffee seeing particularly sharp increases.