The Great British Shrink Off: Examining the awareness and impact of shrinkflation on Britons
April 10th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

The Great British Shrink Off: Examining the awareness and impact of shrinkflation on Britons

In recent years, a growing number of Britons have reported feeling like they are getting less for their money when they shop for groceries. This feeling is not unfounded. Though producers and supermarkets across Europe have been passing on higher production costs to consumers for years, ‘shrinkflation’ - a tactic where brands reduce the size of their products while keeping prices the same - has become more noticeable in the face of high levels of inflation. While manufacturers claim that shrinkflation is necessary to prevent price increases, a new YouGov Surveys: Serviced poll explores whether Britons are concerned about getting a fair deal in 2023 and if they plan to change their spending habits as a result.

Data from the study reveals that three quarters of Britons (75%) are concerned about shrinkflation – with 29% who are very concerned and 46% who are fairly concerned.

Consumers in the UK are clearly concerned about getting less for more. But across which product categories have they been noticing shrinkflation over the past six months - i.e., since September 2022?

Snack foods like crisps and confectionary items (68%) top the list of product categories where Britons are noticing this trend with dry goods like cereals, flours and pasta (32%) in a distant second followed by fresh produce, meat and paper goods (27% for all).

One in four consumers in Great Britain are also noticing shrinkflation in the case of frozen foods (26%), cleaning products (26%), and bread and bakery products (25%).

A fifth of Britons are seeing shrinkflation in personal care products (20%) and bottled and canned products like condiments (20%). This proportion falls significantly when it comes to pet foods and treats (13%).

Evidently, a significant proportion of Britons have been noticing the trend of shrinkflation across almost all major product categories over the past six months. So, do they plan to change their spending habits over the next three months - i.e., until May 2023 - as a result?

Half of all respondents are likely to switch to a different brand (50%) while two-fifths are likely to purchase generic products over their name-brand versions (40%)

Consumers aged 55 and above are significantly less likely to purchase products in bulk (15%) as compared to their 18-34-year-old counterparts (40%).

On the other hand, while one in four 18-34-year-olds (27%) and 35-54-year-olds (25%) indicate that they are likely to buy whole and/or fresh foods instead of pre-packaged products, this proportion increases to more than a third amongst Britons above the age of 55 (36%).

Britons are significantly more likely to wait or hold off on purchasing some products all together compared to their transatlantic neighbours in the US (48% vs. 33%)

With significantly less than a tenth of Britons (4%) who do not plan to do any of the above, it is clear that combating shrinkflation is a major concern for the British shopper. What’s more, it’s a concern that may cause significant changes in consumer spending habits over the next few months at the very least.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online from February 23 – 24, 2023 with a nationally representative sample of 2,100 adults in GB (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted to be nationally representative. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.