While Americans are contemplating the consequences of a Donald Trump presidency, British consumers are digesting a consequence of Brexit that they didn’t anticipate – the size of Swiss chocolate bars sold in UK stores is decreasing.
There was an outcry in the country yesterday (Tuesday) as snack-manufacturer Mondelez International announced that it would be reducing the size of the popular Toblerone chocolate bars because the UK currency, the pound, doesn’t buy as much Swiss chocolate as it did before the country voted to leave the European Union in June.
The company said the small chocolate bar would reduce from 170g to 150g, while the larger 400g product would go down to 360g. Although the length of the bar will remain the same, there will now be a bigger gap between the chunky chocolate triangles for which Toblerone is known.
“Like many other companies, we are experiencing higher costs for numerous ingredients. We carry these costs for as long as possible, but to ensure Toblerone remains on-shelf, is affordable and retains the triangular shape, we have had to reduce the weight,” a spokesperson for Mondelez said.
The British, it seems, have not taken the matter lightly. “Is this the diet version?” asked ‘The Mirror’ newspaper in a headline, adding that people “feel cheated”.
Associated Press, the international news agency, quoted economist Pippa Malmgren as saying that the announcement was part of the corporate practice of shrinkflation (when a product is made smaller but the price remains unchanged). She believed Mondelez was using the recent political situation in Britain to test to see if consumers would notice.
Robert Haigh, of marketing consultancy Brand Finance, said the strategy was risky and could be seen as deceptive by shoppers. “Toblerone has an impact on the cultural consciousness that far outweighs its actual popularity,” he noted