To the unsuspecting Aussie, it might seem like the cost of many popular grocery items hasn’t gone up, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
To the unsuspecting eye, it might seem that the cost of many popular groceries like chips, chocolate bars and peanut butter hasn’t increased amid the much-publicized cost of living crisis that hits Australia.
Shoppers looking at the labels of these items will have assumed they were paying the same prices as several months ago despite rising inflation.
However, a maddening new report has revealed that these products have been reduced in size despite costing the same or even more.
Money saving app Frugl published a list of products affected by the phenomenon known as “shrinkflation”.
He found that the size of some products had decreased by up to 20%, with no change in price.
For example, Mars chocolate bars have gone from 53g to 47g and still cost customers $2, while Arnotts Tina wafers have gone from 250g to 200g and still cost $3.05.
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Both Burger Rings and Twisties have reduced their serving size from 100g to 90g and still cost shoppers $2.20 instead of $2.
The report found that other grocery items were reduced in size by 17% when they actually cost shoppers more.
A jar of Bega Peanut Butter went from 500g to 470g and in June 2020 its price increased by 20 cents from $5.70 to $5.90.
Here is a breakdown of some of the popular products that have been affected by “shrinkflation”:
Mars chocolate bar – 53g to 47g – Cost: $2
Helgas Wraps, Traditional White – 508 8 pack to 508 8 pack – Cost: $5
Arnotts tina wafers – 250g to 200g – Cost: $3.05
Original Oreo cookies – 137g to 133g – Cost: $2
Doritos Cheese Dip – 300g to 280g – Cost: $2.50
Bega Peanut Butter – 500g to 470g -Cost: $5.70 to $5.90
Cheetos Cheese Balls -100g to 90g – Cost: $2 to $2.20
Jumpys Chicken Crisps – 6-pack to 5-pack – Cost: $3.20 to $3.50
Chicken Twisties – 100g to 90g – Cost: $2 to $2.20
Burger rings – 100g to 90g – Cost: $2 to $2.20
Frugl CEO Sean Smith told the Mail Mailthe chances of these products ever returning to their original size are slim, adding that prices were more likely to drop in the distant future.
“These pressures aren’t looking to ease anytime soon and if we look at the past 12 months, the wholesale price increases were in the last quarter,” Smith said. “It’s quite recent due to major events including the war in Ukraine and its impacts on fuel prices.”
Food inflation across the country began to rise late last year and although it initially affected mainly meat and imported products, it has since risen to affect almost all categories.
Vegetable prices have skyrocketed, with some Australian supermarkets charging as much as $10 for a lettuce due to shortages caused by a poor growing season and flooding on the east coast.
Supermarkets take action on rising costs
As the cost of basics and conveniences like petrol and fresh produce continue to soar, Coles and Woolies have taken action to deal with the crisis.
For the first time, Woolworths has announced it will freeze prices for ‘meaningful essentials’ until the end of 2022.
The freeze will affect essential produce and items like flour, sugar, canned tomatoes, frozen peas, chicken fillets, washing powder and dishwashing liquid.
In an email that will start circulating among customers on Thursday, Woolworths Group leader Brad Banducci said the average family spends more than $200 on groceries and basic necessities a week.
“We know it’s a big chunk of the weekly household budget,” he said.
“As we all grapple with the challenges of inflation, rest assured that the entire Woolworths team is committed to ensuring that you can always get the value from your Woolies.”
Customers can find the full price gel product list here.
The items join the existing 300 “winter essentials” whose prices have dropped.
It comes after Coles announced his own solution to the cost of living crisis this morning, offer customers 10% off select Coles MasterCard gift cards.
Starting Wednesday, for one week only, Coles is offering 10% off the total transaction price for $100 and $250 gift cards, although there are additional purchase fees.
The majority of consumers (58%) use gift cards for their weekly groceries, followed by utility and utility bills.
Coles non-food managing director Jonathan Torr said the offer was aimed at helping Australians cope with the current cost of living crisis.
“We understand that many Australians are feeling the pinch of rising cost of living pressures and we are always looking for ways to provide the best value at Coles to help make a difference,” he said.
“The 10% off select Coles MasterCards will provide temporary relief on day-to-day spending, as the gift cards can be used on anything from the weekly shop to paying household bills – they can even be used to maximize savings at other retailers in the end. – sales for the financial year.
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