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Shrinkflation: Paying for air

Apr 08 2014 14:24
Fin24 user Len Dempsey writes:

I have been in the confectionery industry since the 1970s. I worked with a Swiss chocolate company when the pound was revalued, doubling our prices overnight!

In the early 1970s inflation was having a devastating effect on every facet of life. Some products though had a maximum perceived value and just could not be seen to double, treble in price in short periods of time.

So manufacturers started to alternate price rises with size reductions... so a sixpence ( old money ) bar of chocolate shrank one month, then went up in price by a penny, etc.

Then, of course, consumers noticed. Amazingly, large bars, or chunky bars, were introduced - at a higher price. Boxes of chocolates that used to be half a pound in weight were brought into line with European metric packs and became 250g; they then started to shrink in size, not price, to 227g (old ½lb), then 200g.

Other tricks (!) include manufacturing products to be the same volume but lighter; a Milky Way bar is much more aerated than it originally was. Why did Cadbury spend so much time formulating a Wispa bar? It was because Rowntree discovered early how to get people to pay for air (sell them bubbles in their chocolate!). 

The trick is to wait around - everything comes back, LIVE LONG and become cynical.

 - Fin24

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* Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyFin24 have been independently written by members of the Fin24 community. The views of users published on Fin24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent those of Fin24.

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