In the latest instance of shrinkflation caused by the cost of living crisis, Twix owner Mars has announced the popular chocolate bars will be shrunk by 15 percent. Shrinkflation refers to when the size of a product is reduced, but the price remains the same – meaning consumers ultimately pay more for the same amount. The 23-gram Twix bars in their multipacks have been scrapped, and replaced with ones weighing just 20 grams.
This comes as owners Mars face down the rising price of making the snack and look for ways to cut costs. A spokesperson for the chocolate company while it had been “absorbing the rising costs of raw materials” for a while, they were facing “growing pressures” to cut production costs.
The 23-gram bars were included in the four, nine and 16 multipacks, and have been swapped for the new 20-gram bars. As for how much the new smaller chocolate bars cost, Sainsbury’s is charging £1.50 for 4x40g – the new 20g multipacks, while Tesco is charging £1.25 for the same size pack.
For the 9x40g multipacks, both Asda and Tesco have a price tag of £2. Shrinkflation has been taking place in the UK for the past decade, with data from the Office for National Statistics revealing that 206 products shrank in size between September 2015 and June 2017.
Twix is not the only chocolate bar to face being downsized, with Dairy Milk recently reducing the size of their sharing bars by 10 percent – from 200g to 180g. While the price is staying the same, at £2, consumers will technically be paying more for the chocolate.
The move has been blamed on the rising price of inflation which producer Mondelaz stating: “We’re facing the same challenges that so many other food companies have already reported when it comes to significantly increased production costs – whether it’s ingredients, energy or packaging – and rising inflation.
“This means that our products are much more expensive to make.”
Meanwhile Cadbury’s large Crunchie and Creme Egg Easter eggs dropped in weight by almost 10 per cent last year – from 258g in 2019 to 233g and its Heroes egg by 7 per cent from 254g to 236g. In other products, Nestle slimmed down its Nescafe Azera Americano coffee tins from 100 grams to 90 grams.
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Edgar Dworsky, a consumer advocate and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts who has documented shrinkflation on his Consumer World website for decades, said: “It comes in waves. We happen to be in a tidal wave at the moment because of inflation.”
He added shrinkflation appeals to manufacturers because they know customers will notice price increases but won’t keep track of net weights or small details, like the number of sheets on a roll of toilet paper. Companies can also employ tricks to draw attention away from downsizing, like marking smaller packages with bright new labels that draw shoppers’ eyes.
Hitendra Chaturvedi, a professor of supply chain management at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said he has no doubt many companies are struggling with labour shortages and higher raw material costs.
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He said: “I’m not saying they’re profiteering, but it smells like it.
“Are we using supply constraints as a weapon to make more money?”
A spokesman for Mars said they had been “absorbing the rising costs of raw materials and operations for some time, but the growing pressures we are facing mean that more needs to be done.
“Reducing the size of our products is not a decision we take lightly.
“But we’re confident that our chocolate brands still offer our customers and consumers the best possible value for money without compromising on quality or taste.”