Shrinking products but the price goes up

New Which? research has found many items in supermarkets are getting smaller but the price is staying the same – and in some cases actually increasing.

Toilet roll is just one of the products we found that had reduced in size without a reduction in cost.  A standard Andrex four pack toilet roll has been reduced from 240 to 221 sheets, 8% less yet the price has remained around the £2 mark.

We found Andrex ‘Puppies on a Roll’ had also reduced in size, from 221 sheets per roll to 190 – down 14% since 2006.

Other examples of shrinking products we discovered include:

  • McVitie’s Digestives dark chocolate biscuits: decreased from 332g to 300g, a 10% reduction.
    In Tesco these biscuits were sold for £1.59 before they shrank and actually increased to £1.69 after.
  • Tropicana Creations Pure Premium Orange & Raspberry juice: decreased from 1 litre to 850ml, a 15% reduction.
    This remained on at the same price (£2.48) in Asda after it shrank in size.
  • Dettol Power and Pure Bathroom Wipes: decreased from 36 to 32 wipes, an 11% reduction.
    These were on sale at £2 in Tesco and Ocado before they shrank, and remained at £2 in Tesco and went up to £2.03 in Ocado afterwards.
  • Sensodyne Total Care Extra Fresh Toothpaste decreased from 100ml to 75ml, a 25% reduction.
    Tesco had this on sale at ‘£2.40 was £3.60’ before it shrank.  Then £3.49 after it was reduced in size, which is more per 100ml.
  • Percol Fairtrade Guatemala Coffee: decreased from 227g to 200g, a 12% reduction. This coffee was £3.90 in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose before it shrank, and £3.65 and £3.75 respectively after – both more per 100g.

When we contacted the brands about our research, most of them said that it was up to the supermarkets to set the price, however, they wouldn’t disclose if they had charged the supermarkets a lower wholesale price.

78% of Which? members said they do not think it is right if consumers aren’t told when products drop in size but are sold at the same price.

Richard Headland, Which? editor said:

“Shrinking products can be a sneaky way of increasing prices. We want manufacturers and supermarkets to be upfront about shrinking products so consumers aren’t misled.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Which? used data from the independent shopping site The prices shown are for just before and just after the pack shrank. The examples are from January 2015 onwards.
  2. Which? asked 1,213 of its members in January 2016 on shrinking products with 78% saying they should be told when products drop in size but are sold at the same price.
  3. For pictures of the products referenced, visit


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