Sneaky price rises on shrinking products

New Which? research reveals the products that are shrinking in size but not in price.

Since we last looked into the sneaky ways prices go up on everyday items, we’ve found more evidence it’s still going on.

We looked at prices of products before and after they shrank and found the price didn’t drop and in some cases the cost actually increased.

The majority of manufacturers said that shops ultimately set the prices of products but unless the wholesale price drops, supermarkets are unlikely to drop prices when products shrink.

Our research found:

  • In Sainsbury’s, Tetley Blend of Both tea cost £2.55 for 80 tea bags but the price increased to £2.75 after the pack was shrunk and reduced by 5 tea bags.
  • Philadelphia Light Soft Cheese shrank 10%, from 200g to 180g, but we found the price increased from £1.84 to £1.87 in Asda.
  • Surf Essential Oils Powder Tropical Lily & Ylang Ylang remained priced at £5 in Ocado and Tesco despite shrinking from 25 washes (2kg) to 23 washes (1.61kg).
  • At Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s the prices of Birds Eye Select Mixed Vegetables and Hovis Best of Both bread remained the same despite shrinking.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“Shrinking products can be a sneaky way of putting up costs for consumers because pack sizes shrink but the prices don’t. It’s now time for action on dodgy pricing practices that stops people from easily comparing products to find the cheapest.”

Notes to editors

1.    We used data from independent shopping website MySupermarket.co.uk to find out the products that had shrunk and looked at the prices before and after the pack size was reduced. All products mentioned shrank in 2014 with the exception of Hovis Best of Both bread, which shrank in 2013.

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