Mike the Psych's Blog

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Chocoholics will pay the price

Not only will chocolate cost more but you will be getting smaller sized bars.

Over the years chocolate bars have shrunk in size.

I remember when a Mars bar a day really would “help you work rest and play” and Bounty bars are mere shadows of their former selves. Some companies even have the temerity to suggest this is to aid the war on obesity but the prices haven’t come down in proportion.

Many businesses will apparently be increasing their prices under the cover of the January VAT increase. But according to the Guardian (18/12/2010) Nestle and Cadbury are cutting the size of their biggest brands whilst putting up prices to maintain profit margins.

Poundland has negotiated a smaller size of Toblerone to keep the price at £1 – and I can see the logic of that (although customers might not be aware that when they buy teabags there they are only getting 88 bags instead of 100).

However the planned  reduction in the size of a block of Cadbury’s dairy milk from 140 gm to 120 gm  – similar to Mars’ reduction in the weight of a box of Maltesers last year – is a reduction of  14% equivalent to a price increase of 19% if the price stayed the same! But prices on many chocolate products went up 7% last year, over twice the rate of inflation.

Cadbury, now owned by Kraft, has previous on this as 2 Christmases ago they removed the more expensive chocolates from the tubs of Heroes and they have effectively increased the price of a Dairy Milk bar by 30% over the last three years.

We spend over £2 billion on chocolate in the UK so it’s unlikely that the demand will significantly change any time soon but we are paying heavily for having a sweet tooth.

Updated 3 January 2011: And to add insult to injury Roger Carr, the chairman who sold Cadbury to Kraft, has received a knighthood in the New Year’s honours list! He couldn’t even ensure that Kraft didn’t renege on their promise to keep the Somerdale plant open in Britain (production to be transferred to Poland with 400 job losses) but walked away with £1 million in shares plus a “golden goodbye”.

The Somerdale plant was originally built by the Fry family. It merged with Cadbury Brothers in 1919. Products made there included Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Dairy Milk, Chocolate Buttons, Creme Eggs and Mini Eggs, Cadbury’s Fudge, Chomp and the Crunchie. Double Decker bars are the last chocolates in production at the site (from BBC News web-site).

He’s also Chairman of Centrica, Britain’s largest energy company, which put up prices by 7% just before one of the hardest winters on record despite making vast profits. So he’ll be laughing all the way to the bank the way gas prices have rocketed. He’s been heavily criticised on both counts by Cadbury workers who lost their jobs and opposition MPs and union leaders but as the next head of the CBI he’ll be used to that. Doesn’t seem a friend of the British public to me.

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