A nation of chocolate lovers

* 2 min read
The worldwide consumption of chocolate every year is estimated to be at least 7.2 million metric tons, and in the UK we munch our way through an estimated 660,900 tonnes, an average of 11kg per person per year. This equates to about 3 bars a week, needless to say we’re a chocolate loving nation.

With Easter finally upon us, supermarket aisles are bursting with last minute panic purchases. Easter themed zones seem to appear earlier each year and promotions geared towards social gatherings and occasions include more products and cross selling opportunities under the ‘Easter’ banner. But even though the Easter occasion and momentum is on the increase, we have seen the size of some of our favourite sweet treats decrease and whenever a brand changes its product there’s always a risk that it will cause a stir amongst loyal consumers.

Chocolate giant Cadbury's is reducing the size of some of its most popular eggs by between 7-11 per cent - but they are only dropping the price by an average of 2.5 per cent.

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Cadbury's claim the move was necessary to make them 'affordable' for shoppers after seeing costs of ingredients and production rise. This has started to become common place for lots of brands over the years, especially recently, portion sizes have been high on brand and retailers’ agendas, so we’ve seen many of our favourite products down-sized. We've seen packaging prices in general rise Pre-Brexit and in a tough and highly competitive market where shoppers vote with their feet, the last thing brands want to do is pass these costs on to customers. The term being batted around is Shrinkflation:

"The process of items shrinking in size or quantity, or even sometimes reformulating or reducing quality, while their prices remain the same or increase"

Shrinkflation

It’s not just our favourite confectionery items either, more than 200 different consumer products have fallen victim to shrinkflation, from loo rolls to Birds Eye cutting the number of fish fingers in a packet from 12 to 10, recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) show as many as 206 products being made smaller between September 2015 and June 2017.

One that has particularly attracted attention was the increase in the space between the gaps of the Toblerone triangles in 2016 by Mondelez International, which has since been reverted, possibly due to public outrage. Mars have shrank its Malteasers, M&Ms and Minstrels by up to 15% while McVities Jaffa Cakes are around 10% lighter, but prices have remained unchanged.

Today’s consumers are very much focused on value, so any brand needs to approach cost saving very sensitively to retain their customers’ loyalty, especially when it comes to product size reduction.