Op-ed;The great food swindle
In January 2017 the Guardian and others reported inflation had hit a two-year high of 1.6% but Tuesday worse figures have been released with some calling it the BRexit effect kicking in.
Inflation in the UK jumped to 2.3% in February, pushing the pound higher.
The news may have pushed the pound higher but that will not help families struggling with the increased food and petrol prices which are responsible for the latest inflation hike.
It has never been more important to be a savvy shopper. Yes we know that food labelling is not always trustworthy but it is important to check labels, all the same.
The horsemeat scandal proved there are incidences of false food labelling, when horse and pork were part of meat products labelled as 100% beef but that said remember to read the labels and pack sizes in order to check value for money.
As the BRexit effect economic downturn continues to bite manufacturers look at ways to increase profits or just break even.
A good way is increasing pack size but reducing contents; for example, you may buy a huge packet of breakfast cereal but if there are fewer contents than smaller packs you are not a price savvy shopper getting value for money.
Products such as crisps and cereals are also good examples. As products that are light in weight already a reduction in contents could easily be missed unless you check the pack details for the actual weight.
Which the British consumer group checked facts and figures previously and found some shocking results. In 2013;
What "Which" discovered is that most manufacturers prefer to opt to reduce contents rather than increase the price on the label.
Prices did increase in some cases but were kept to a minimum by reducing sizes.
The problem is that no person or organisation can state if shrinkage and prices are comparable. For all consumers know they could be paying a higher price for less product and actually taking a bigger hit than believed.
As times get tough consumers will need to price aware to stay one step ahead of advertisers and retailers. They have many means available to persuade you to buy.
Clever packaging tricks can easily deceive you unless you stay alert.
British supermarket wars continue and as they all fight it out for your custom they will use each and every trick in the book.
Many consumers would rather pay a higher price than buy less contents or be tricked but in truth some are experiencing both; that is higher prices and less contents. Then there is still the matter of what the contents actually are!
This practise is now long standing but if you become a savvy shopper you can outfox the fiddlers.
So the next time you look at a product and think "I'm sure that used to be bigger" you could be right.
In January there were reports of Apple tech price hikes blamed on BRexit.
Now it is essential items.