The phenomenon has been labelled 'shrinkflation'
For many, Christmas hasn’t really started until you find yourself surrounded by a sea of colourful chocolate wrappers with nothing but a near-empty tub of Quality Street by your side to show for it.
But that image is beginning to look a little lacklustre, as it turns out that the nation’s favourite Christmas chocolate selection tubs are getting smaller.
Quality Street, Celebrations and Cadbury Roses are among those to have reduced the size of their tubs as part of a phenomenon dubbed “shrinkflation” that sees confectionery brands reducing the size of their products without changing the price.
This year, the standard size of Quality Street tubs has shrunk from 750g to 720g, which is the equivalent of roughly three green triangles.
Meanwhile, Celebrations tins have been reduced from 680g to 650g. But both remain priced at £5.
Cadbury Roses have also been getting smaller, going from 729g to 660g in 2017.
According to Robert Opie, founder of the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill, London, shrinkflation is “outraging” consumers.
“These brands are trusted — we have grown up with them. They are part of our lives and particularly part of the tradition at Christmas,” he tells The Sunday Times.
“You change the weight [of boxed sweets] at your peril.”
Commenting on the reduction, a spokesperson for Nestlé, who produces Quality Street, said, “This year’s tub of Quality Street is 720g, which is slightly lighter than in 2017.
“Nevertheless our tub is very competitive when compared to similar products on the market.”
They explained that the slight drop in weight this year is “to counter the increased costs to manufacture Quality Street that happen, naturally, over time.
“We chose to change the weight rather than the RRP because the weight of our tubs is still very competitive and tubs are regularly on promotion during the season.
“Where possible we try to reduce the RRP to reflect the reduction is size, for example the RRP for the 720g tub today is £7.74. In 2012 the tub was 820g but the RRP was £8.47 so we believe that we offer good value for money.”
News of the shrinkage comes after research by consumer group Which? revealed that chocolate manufacturers are putting fewer of their most popular sweets inside Christmas selection boxes.
For example, despite Quality Street fans voting the Purple One (hazelnut in caramel) as their favourite, the research showed that there are just five of these chocolates in the average Quality Street tub.
Harry Rose, editor of Which? magazine, said: “Our analysis shows that it’s not your family’s fault that your favourite disappears so quickly – there really are too few Purple Ones to meet demand.