The whole nation has become size-blind as firms continue to flog their wares in reduced quantities for the same prices, and for no other reason than greed.
One of my favourite comedy scenes revolves around Father Ted trying to explain to his fellow priest Dougal the concept of size.
Craggy Island’s thickest is staring at cows in a field wondering why they look so tiny, when Ted picks up two toy ones and says slowly: “These are small… but the ones out there are far away. Small… far away.”
But Dougal just shakes his head, failing to comprehend dimensions. It’s possible the gurus who flog us their wares after seducing us with slick adverts have drawn inspiration from Dougal’s stupidity, as a report shows that 2,529 household name shopping items have shrunk in size over the past five years, while staying the same price.
Did you notice that a Maltesers sharing bag had decreased by 15%, M&M’s family packs had been cut by 25g and bags of Minstrels and Revels are 10% lighter? No. You just kept happily handing over your dosh, didn’t you, because you’d been tricked into becoming, like Dougal, size-blind?
When the big confectionary firms were asked to explain this unheralded downsizing, they blamed rising raw material costs. Imagine if football clubs ended matches five minutes early because their players were asking for higher wages? There would be riots.
But they weren’t even being truthful because the prices of sugar imports are close to their lowest level on record and the cost of cocoa has dropped sharply in the past two years.
When Andrex was asked why its toilet rolls had lost 19 sheets, a spokesperson said it was to allow them to invest in improved “product performance”.
We’re talking bog rolls, here, Andrex. Something used simply to wipe up the kind of stuff that comes out of your spokesperson’s mouth, which means less is definitely not more.
The great chocolate vanishing act raises different questions. Such as, if most bars are getting smaller, how come obesity and diabetes are on the rise? Are people gulping down Galaxy with sausage roll chasers? And will a well-known advert change to: “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play 1/5th less than it used to?”