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    New report highlights ‘shrinkflation’

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    Listerine Fresh Burst mouthwash and Lurpak butter have been named “among the worst examples of shrinkflation” in a recent report by a consumer group.

    In its report, Which? highlighted that a range of products are subjected to “shrinkflation” – when pack sizes are made smaller but the cost is not cut, or “skimpflation” – when expensive ingredients are reduced but the price consumers pay remains the same.

    Sausages with less pork and chicken enchiladas with reduced meat content are among the downsized and downgraded groceries being offered to consumers as manufacturers cut costs. Which? found the organic dairy brand Yeo Valley’s spreadable butter had gone from containing 54 per cent butter to 50 per cent. The consumer group also highlighted cuts in the pack sizes of some Lurpak and Yeo Valley products.

    Ele Clark, the retail editor at the consumer group, said: “Our research shows that, while some popular products are subtly decreasing either in size or quality, the same can’t be said for their prices – which means shoppers are inadvertently paying more for less.

    “Supermarkets and manufacturers must be more upfront by making sure changes to popular products are clear, and by ensuring that unit pricing is prominent, legible and consistent instore and online so that shoppers can easily compare prices across different brands and pack sizes.”

    More examples of recipe changes found by Which? included two own-brand lasagnes, with Morrisons and Sainsbury’s reducing their premium ranges to 26 per cent beef. Previously, Morrisons The Best lasagne had 30 per cent beef, while Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference version had 28 per cent.

    At Tesco, the meat content of “tex mex” chicken enchiladas had been cut from 27 per cent to 20 per cent, while the pork in the Finest sausages had been reduced from 97 per cent to 90 per cent.

    A spokesperson for Kenvue, which makes Listerine, said, “Like many other manufacturers, we are faced with cost increases, especially in raw material and production costs, and have had to adjust our prices. The current recommended retail price for Listerine reflects these cost increases and our ongoing investment in the product.”

    Yeo Valley said changes to pack size had been driven by rising costs and communicated in advance to consumers.

    Andrew Opie, the director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, which represents retailers, said prices and sizes of all products were clearly labelled so that customers could make informed decisions about their purchases.

    “Given the challenges facing households from the cost-of-living squeeze, retailers are solely focused to find ways to limit rising prices for customers against the rising cost of production, while maintaining the excellent quality of products,” he added.

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