McVitie's is set to reduce packets of its classic Digestive biscuits by 100g, leaving consumers with seven fewer biscuits than before, as 'shrinkflation' continues to take hold of the UK retail market.
The company, which is owned by Turkish food group Pladis, announced that the packet size will be reduced from 500g to 400g by the end of January, as a result of increased post-Brexit costs, according to the Independent.
“The rising cost of ingredients and changes in the exchange rates means it has become more expensive to bake our products,” said Nick Bunker, managing director for Pladis UK & Ireland.
The company said that 10% of its product range, which includes favourites such as Hobnobs, Rich Tea and Ginger Nuts, will also be reduced in size.
McVities's Jaffa Cakes have already been affected, with the company reducing packets from 12 to 10 biscuits last year.
According to a 2017 report by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), over 2,500 products in the UK have shrunk in size over the past five years, but are still being sold for the same price.
This move, called 'shrinkflation', has affected products such as toilet paper, coffee and fruit juice, but has primarily centred on the confectionery category.
In particular, Mars reduced the size of its Maltesers bags by 15%, while Mondelez widened the gaps between Toblerone segments, decreasing the weight of its Alpine chocolate bars.
Several companies, including McVities, have cited recent Brexit developments as the reason for these changes, however, the ONS dismissed this trend.
It noted that the data shows shrinkflation has been used in practice consistently over the past five years, and not just since the EU referendum.
The ONS report also noted that if products 'shrink' in size, inflation rises even if prices stay constant, as consumers are paying the same amount of money for less of the good.
Food inflation has been soaring in the UK in recent months, boosting the value of grocery sales over the Christmas period, while volume sales fell.
Today, the British Retail Consortium said that the UK government should do 'all it can' in forthcoming trade talks with the EU, to ensure that the pain of recent price increases is not accelerated by new tariffs on imports.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.