United Kingdom Discovers 2,529 Products Hit By Grocery Shrink Ray, Calls It ‘Shrinkflation’

Image courtesy of Mondelez

The grocery shrink ray is a phenomenon that you may have noticed, where companies make their packaged products slightly smaller, charge the same price, and hope that no one notices. It’s not a new phenomenon, but the Office for National Statistics in the United Kingdom recently tallied up shrunken products in the last five years.

Toblerone and toilet paper

The best-publicized shrunken product during that period was, of course, the Toblerone from Mondelēz. The manufacturer shrank the chocolate bar’s distinctive triangles, angering its fans.

However, that’s just one of the 2,529 products that the government noted. Toilet paper brand Andrex, which uses the same puppy-centric marketing as its American cousin brand Cottonelle, shrank its rolls from 280 sheets to 221, but claims to have improved its quality while reducing the number of sheets, balancing things out. Maybe.

On the plus side, 614 consumer products got bigger during the same period.

Not buying companies’ excuses

The ONS dismissed the reasons that companies traditionally give for shrink raying products, noting that the cost of raw materials hasn’t increased recently, and that the impending Brexit of the U.K. from the European Union also wouldn’t have an effect on inflation or on costs. It actually became cheaper to import sugar into Europe over the period that the study covered.

It also wouldn’t explain items that shrank between 2012 and 2016.