You’re Right The Guardian Is Lying To Us Again, This Time Shrinkflation


The Guardian tells us that shrinkflation – the process whereby we get less of something for the same amount of money – is down to Brexit. The joy of this statement being that their information source, a report from the Office for National Statistics, says precisely and exactly the opposite.

Our Word, what could have happened here? The Guardian are incompetent? Our favoured explanation is that they’re lying to us. But in the interest of robust public debate we’ll leave that determination to you:

Brexit bites: more than 200 products subject to shrinkflation, says ONS

See, it’s Brexit:

More than 200 different consumer products, from toilet roll to chocolate, shrank in size about the time of the Brexit vote. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, as many as 206 individual items were made smaller between September 2015 and June 2017, more than double the number that increased in size. The analysis confirms a trend of “shrinkflation” – when goods are made smaller, but still sold at the same price – immediately after the EU referendum, when the sudden fall in the value of the pound pushed up the cost of importing goods to Britain.

Ho Yus, our temerity in leaving that warm embrace of Brussels means we’re being punished by smaller choccie bars. The BBC on the same story:

The Brexit vote sparked a fall in the pound and a rise in the price of imports. But the ONS said this did not lead to a pick-up in shrinkflation. “There was no trend in the frequency of size changes over this period, which included the EU referendum,” the UK statistics body said.

Ah. It’s something that happens over time and there was no change in it concerning Brexit.

As to why there’s a trend in it. Retailers like to price to a point. Things are 99 pence, £1.99. Silly but it does fool us humans. So, instead of just the normal level of inflation leading to a £1.99 this year, £2.04 the next and so on the size shrinks until it’s all getting more than a bit silly and the new extra large bar comes back in at the higher price point of £2.99. Perhaps not exactly but you get the idea.

Which is why ONS really does say this:

We identified 206 products that shrank in size and 79 that increased in size between September 2015 and June 2017. There was no trend in the frequency of size changes over this period, which included the EU referendum.

The Guardian, lying toads or just ignorant? You decide but do note those are not necessarily exclusive answers.

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moqifenGrope_of_Big_HornBarman Recent comment authors
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Isn’t this also government policy – insisting that the calories in just about everything are reduced by 20%. So in the case of a chocolate bar the only way you can realistically achieve it is to make it 20% smaller…?


Off topic – but I recommend you have your back catalogue of articles about price gouging ready in time for a non-deal Brexit.


“The Guardian, lying toads or just ignorant? ” Both i would say, often at the same time.