Cadbury’s shrinking Animals had a not-so-sweet impact on its brand perceptions
March 8th, 2024, Stephan Shakespeare

Cadbury’s shrinking Animals had a not-so-sweet impact on its brand perceptions

Concerns around “shrinkflation”, where manufacturers reduce the size of a product without altering its price, are becoming a recurring feature of the cost-of-living crisis: YouGov data can reveal that some 82% of Britons have noticed it in some form of another. But however commonplace it might be, the public won’t necessarily take it lying down. Cadbury, for example, saw negative headlines late last year – after shrinking the size of Roses and Twirls tubs – and just last week, when it was reported that the brand had changed the amount of Animals bags in a packet from 7 to 5, without discounting the product.

Data from YouGov BrandIndex UK can shows the move has already gone down badly. Since 28 February (the day before the news about the shrinking Animals had broken), perceptions, Cadbury’s Quality scores were at 48.5; they have fallen to 41.7 as of 3 March (-6.8). Value for Money scores have fared even worse, crashing from 36.9 to 23.8 (-13.1).

There has been a similar decline in the measure tracking consumer advocacy. Recommend scores have fallen from 47.2 to 41.4 (-5.8), while Impression scores (a measure of general positive and negative sentiment towards a brand), have deteriorated from 55.7 to 51.9 (-3.8). Cadbury Index scores, which average general brand health across several measures, tell the fullest story: these have slumped from 47.2 to 41.6 (-5.6).

Being accused of shrinkflation isn’t going to make any brand more popular, and these headlines are far from what the chocolatier would have wanted right before it celebrates its 200th anniversary. Still, there is the question of whether these changes will cause consumers to hold a long-term grudge or not. In time, consumers might not recall a time when you could get seven Animals biscuits for the price of five – but the brand that manufactures Freddos should be all too aware of how easy it is for a sweet treat to become a symbol of the rising cost of living.

This article originally appeared in City A.M.