‘Shrinkflation’ crunch for Maltesers, Lindt and Cadbury Easter eggs | UK | News

Easter egg lovers may find a bitter taste in their mouths when tucking into chocolate next weekend as inflationary pressures mount.  

Malteser, Lindt and Cadbury eggs are the latest victims of ‘shrinkflation’ – the practice of reducing the size of a product while continuing to offer it at the same price or more, according to Which?.

The seasonal treats cost at least 50 per cent more than they did a year ago, while some have also decreased in size, the consumer group found.

Overall, the price of chocolate has risen by 12.6 per cent in a year, Which?’s supermarket food and drink inflation tracker has revealed – far more than the overall price of supermarket food and drink, which is up 5.6 per cent.

It comes after a huge rise in global cocoa prices due to dry weather in West Africa, with prices roughly doubling in a year.

A Maltesers Truffles Luxury Easter Egg 286g was the worst example of Easter egg inflation, going from an average of £8 to an average of £13 at Waitrose in the one month to the end of February 2024, compared to the same time a year earlier (an increase of 62.5 per cent).

At Asda, a Lindt 5 Gold Bunny Milk Chocolate 50g increased from £2 on average to £3.11 on average (up 55.6 per cent).

Another egg which saw a huge rise was a Ferrero Rocher Golden Easter Egg 250g which rose in price from £10 on average at Tesco in the one month to the end of February 2023 to £15 on average in the same period of 2024 (an increase of 50 per cent).

Which? also found that at Ocado, a Cadbury Mini Eggs Large Pouch 1kg cost £8.86 on average in the one month to the end of February 2023, but in the same period in 2024 this product cost an average of £12.95 (an increase of 46.2 per cent). 

At Sainsbury’s, a Kinder Easter with Surprise 36g rose in price from £1.50 on average to £2 (an increase of 33.3 per cent).

As well as price increases across the board, the watchdog also found some examples of Easter products that had shrunk in size since last year while the price stayed the same or increased.

For example, a Mars milk chocolate large Easter egg was 252g in 2023 but was 201g in 2024 at Morrisons and Tesco. 

Similarly, a Terry’s chocolate orange Easter egg and mini eggs changed from 230g in 2023 to 200g in 2024 at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. 

A Smarties chocolate orange egg changed from 226g to 188g at Asda and Tesco. Another example was the Twix milk chocolate Easter egg, which changed from 246g to 200g at Tesco. 

While shoppers may think that shrinking products is a sneaky tactic on the part of manufacturers, there are no rules against it as long as the packaging is labelled with the correct size, weight and ingredients, Which? said.

However, the consumer group believes businesses should be upfront when making these changes, so their customers can make informed choices.

Ele Clark, Which? Retail Editor, said: “Easter eggs are a non-negotiable highlight of Spring for many of us, but Which? has found that paying for your chocolate haul will be more of a stretch this year. Some eggs are over 50 per cent pricier than in 2023 – while others have shrunk in size but not price. 

“To ensure you get the best value for money on your Easter chocolate, shop around and compare the price per gram across different pack sizes, retailers and brands.” 

A spokesperson from Waitrose said: “We work incredibly hard to keep prices down and also have a wide range of special offers to help customers make even greater savings.  

“Thanks to our ongoing focus on price, the eggs that feature in this study are now considerably cheaper than the prices quoted. The Maltesers Egg, for example, is available for £8.50 rather than £13.”

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley UK, which makes Mars, Maltesers and Twix, said: “Our focus is always on ensuring that we offer our great tasting, high-quality chocolate at the best possible value. 

“We have been actively trying to find ways to absorb the rising costs of raw materials and operations, as we know the increase in the cost of living has impacted both consumers and businesses across the UK.  

“Unfortunately, the growing pressures mean that more needs to be done. Reducing the size of some of our products, whilst raising prices, is not a decision we have taken lightly but it is necessary for shoppers to still be able to enjoy their favourite Easter eggs without compromising on quality or taste.” 

A spokesperson for Nestlé, which makes Smarties, said: “Like every manufacturer, we have been experiencing significant cost increases making it much more expensive to manufacture our products. 

“We have been working to be more efficient and absorb increasing costs where possible. However, in order to maintain the same high quality and delicious taste that consumers know and love, it has sometimes been necessary to make adjustments to the weight of some of our products. Retail pricing is always at the sole discretion of individual retailers.” 

All other mentioned manufacturers were contacted for comment.

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