Size does matter when shoppers pay the same price for less

Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

An ongoing rip-off facing shoppers is when big brand names reduce the size of their product almost imperceptibly and still charge the same price, according to the consumer watchdog Which?

They found that some food and household goods are now being sold in smaller packages though there is not associated reduction in price... unless they're found out an embarrassed by it.

Cleaning and laundry products seem to be the main culprits if you look at the Which? study.
Persil laundry tablets used to be sold in boxes of 48. Not that number is 40. That's a reduction of 16.6% in quantity though it's been acknowledged by just a 6% drop in price over the last two years.

Smaller, not mightier
Persil are also at it with their Small & Mighty Laundry Liquid which has become even smaller, though not necessarily mightier, as the bottle has shrunk from 730ml to just 630ml. Fairy, on the other hand claims that the justification for reducing the size of its bottle from 450ml to 433ml, without a commensurate price reduction, is because its washing up liquid is more concentrated.

Hmm, really?

The reality of this is that this is simple profit-making by the manufacturers. They are shrinking the size of their product packaging so that the shopper in a hurry and with a thousand things to by will never notice. When was the last time you compared bottle sizes among your groceries?

Innocent, the fruit juice and smoothie makers are perhaps not so guilt-free either. Their litre of orange juice is now only 900ml but did anyone notice?

One supermarket caught by Which? fiddling their bottle sizes was Sainsbury's who were found to have reduced the contents of their own-brand ketchup from 485ml to 460ml, a drop of around 5%. They claim they never intended to mislead customers – probably true because they just never expected them to notice. Now they are cutting the price of the ketchup accordingly.

Don't hold your breath waiting for others to follow suit.

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