It has long been suspected but now it is official: our chocolate bars are shrinking.
For the first time, the Office of National Statistics has revealed that the size of our chocolate bars and bags of sweets have reduced by as much as 10 per cent in the past year.
The government agency took the unusual step of mentioning the development in its latest consumer price index report so that the public were aware they were getting less for their money.
Rising food prices were said to be a major factor in the jump in October inflation to 2.7 per cent, up from 2.2 per cent the month before.
But the ONS also said consumers were facing inflation “by the back door” as confectionery products were being reduced in size but still costing the same money.
The report said: “The main upward pressures came from potatoes (where there have been reports of low yields as a result of the poor weather in recent months), fruit, and confectionery.
“In the case of the last of these, a number of confectionery products have reduced in size.
“This is treated as a price increase as consumers get less for their money.”
Richard Campbell, a statistician at the ONS, said: “We are always careful to compare like for like so if people are getting less for their money then it is effectively a price increase.
“Our price collectors noticed that chocolate bars and bags of sweets were decreasing in size by around 10 per cent so we felt it was important to inform the public.
Cadbury recently decreased the weight of its Dairy Milk chocolate bar from 49g to 45g while continuing to charge 59p.
It reduced the size in the wake of rising fuel and cocoa prices.
A 205g bag of Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles Sharing Bag reduced to 170g, a 175g Smarties bag is now 147g and Nestle’s Munchies Pouch dropped from 150g to 126g.
The shrinkage has been attributed to the rising cost of production and seems to have centered on family pack sizes, which are easier to alter than the single bars.
A spokesman for consumer magazine Which? said shrinking products could be an underhand way of inflating prices and called for pricing to be clearer and the food companies to make any changes obvious to their customers.
Global food costs had increased because of poor harvests in Britain and in the US which had a knock on effect on animal products such as milk.
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