Mars and Cadbury have been quietly taking chocolates out of their Christmas tubs. Mars Celebrations have been stunk by 105g to 750g, and Cadbury's Heroes have been reduced 20g to 780g. The price, meanwhile, has not been cut in the same way - so they have effectively sneaked in a price rise.
And this isn't the first time we have seen the chocolate firms sneaking chocolates out of the tin.
The change was reported by the Daily Mail, which said that there were around 11 fewer chocolates in each Celebrations tub and 2 or 3 fewer in each tub of Heroes.
Not the firstThis is far from the first time our Christmas chocolates have taken a hit. This time last year we reported that Nestle had cut the number of chocolates in its festive tins of Quality Street chocolates. The tins were 18% smaller, down to 820g. A year earlier Roses and Heroes tubs were shrinking - with Roses losing 11 chocolates, and Heroes cut 150g.
For the last couple of years, our chocolate bars have been shrinking too. Maltesers, Mars, Snickers, Yorkie and Rolo have all got smaller - seeing the last Rolo removed from the packet. This year there was an outcry when Cadbury's Dairy Milk went from being 49g to 45g when the shape of the bars was changed.
Why?In 2009, when Mars and Snickers Bars were shrunk 7%, the company initially said it was an effort to tackle obesity - as Mars bars had 19 fewer calories and Snickers had 23 fewer. However, it also admitted that prices had stayed the same.
Since then, the chocolate companies have defended the move as being a response to rising prices. Companies have seen rises in the price of sugar, cocoa, and the energy used in manufacturing. They need to pass it onto the consumer, and they say that in order to avoid hitting consumers with rising prices, they have shrunk the packets instead.
From their point of view, this is a smart move. Chocolate bars are a discretionary spend, so if we see prices start to rise we are likely to cut back fairly quickly. By keeping prices the same, it's only those people who carry weighing scales and a calculator who are going to notice that they are paying more for every gram of chocolate.
Is this fair?However, critics point out that by shrinking the packet companies are cashing in on the fact that not everyone will notice the change in pack size. So people will be getting less value for money, without actively being able to make a decision as to whether or not this is something they are prepared to accept.
They add that shoppers are particularly likely to have the wool pulled over their eyes when they make this sort of change at Christmas. We're going to be too overwhelmed with the enormous shopping list, and too weighed down with extra food, to start weighing packets and working out whether we're being ripped off.
But what do you think? Would you rather an honest price rise, or do you think you'll have plenty of chocolates at Christmas anyway?