It’s come to my attention recently that businesses are now, more than ever, looking for new ways to save costs or make that extra few pounds on the products they sell. The products we buy seem to be getting smaller, while the price remains unchanged, or in many case increases. This is even evident in the world of protective packaging where ive come across many businesses who are being short changed by their current packaging supplier.

Am I getting bigger or are tasty snacks getting smaller?

When I was a kid I used to pop a certain monster shaped crisp on to my fingers and rock it as bling (which wasn’t even a word back then) for a while before devouring the pickled onion flavour delight. They were huge! Crumbs everywhere! Now of course, I no longer have the hands of a 7 year old but like many a person on the internet have asked; Have I got bigger, or have they shrunk?

Shrinkflation

Well the answer is, they along with lots of other things are shrinking! Whether it be the size of the Wagon Wheel, the number of Curlywurlys in a multipack or the shaved off edges on a Dairy Milk bar, we are definitely getting less for our pound! This was confirmed by the National Office For Statistics who seem to regularly publish figures confirming how customers are getting less for their money.

Why?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a little bit off here and a little bit off there, when you are manufacturing in bulk, will add £££ to the profit margin, nobody will notice will they? RESULT! Just to be clear it isn’t limited to crisps and chocolate.

Price Point 

In the fight against the competition, retailers do not want to increase their prices, it is all about finding smart ways to save money. I like to think of myself as quite savvy, my “big” food shop takes hours because I review the price per kilo of everything so that I know for sure I am getting the best deal (the Purchasing Manager in me is still there). For example (and I have to thank “How to eat well for less” for this one) if you buy carrots that are pre packaged instead of getting a bag and throwing a handful of loose ones into it, you will pretty much pay double per KG – it is scary the difference.

The other one they get you with is “it is cheaper to buy bulk”, I normally find this to be true – but if you check the price per KG sometimes it is not. However, do I pick up a packet of biscuits and measure the length and diameter of the packet to make sure that my 99p is getting me the same as it got me last month? No, and this is where they get you.

More shrinkage

Thank you to the Telegraph I just pulled a couple more things that are reducing:

  • Dettol anti-bacterial wipes. Once upon a time, you could buy a pack of 40 anti-bac wipes for £2 in Asda and £1.80 in Ocado. Now you can get a pack of 36 wipes for £2 in both.
  • Finish dishwasher tablets. Ocado used to sell packs of 28 dishwasher tablets for £7.65. Now they sell packs of 26 for £10.
  • Pledge furniture polish. Previously £1.30 was the lowest price for 300ml of multi-surface polish offered by a major retailer. Now, the same amount will get you 250ml.

Beyond the big retailers

The issues of being short changed actually cause me a monster headache at work as well. The Packaging industry faces the same issues. As the global demand for packaging increases manufacturers and merchants face fierce competition. As a merchant, Antalis Packaging has to tackle this 2 pronged;

1) We have to ensure that we are not short changed by our suppliers, and..

2) We have to ensure that when we work with potential customers that they are not being short changed by their current supplier – after all, if my roll of packing tape is 66 meters long (as is standard) and the one you are buying is 66 yards long chances are my price will not be competitive.

Lets talk stretch wrap 

The one that really upsets us at Antalis Packaging is the short changing that happens on stretchfilm. We set about on a recent experiment whereby our experts went into the field and using simple formula calculated the length of the customers stretch wrap rolls. So for those of you not in the know, a roll of stretchwrap is quite commonly 300 meters long – bring in the “manufacturers tolerance” and anything over 270 meters you are doing ok. So imagine the delight of the customer we visited last week whose roll we calculated to be 238 meters long. He was not a happy man, quite rightly he got straight onto the phone of his supplier, to whom he had been a loyal customer for 5 years, demanding to know why he has been short changed and for how long. The response was priceless. The roll was in fact 300 meters long but the film had been reduced in thickness from 17 microns thick to 12 microns without any communication or consent from the customer. Needless to say there is now a battle commencing over how much of his money he is going to get back.

Notice the change

The thing is would you notice? This particular customer was selling the film on so they never noticed, their customer never noticed either. If your supplier is shaving off a micron here or a couple of meters there, would you notice? If you are not the person using the film, can you rely on the warehouse personnel to inform you of a change? From my experience the only time people start complaining about these things is if the film doesn’t perform as well.

What are your options?

Regardless of whether you are a packaging merchant or a packaging user, Antalis Packaging has experienced nationwide representation who can very easily, with no obligation, visit your site to perform some simple tests on your stretch film and confirm whether or not you are being short changed. It really is that simple. If you have not considered it before, then how do you know? Did you notice when your favourite chocolate bar shrunk by 12% in the last couple of years?

If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to arrange a meeting with one of our packaging experts, we would like to hear from you

Do you have any examples of a time when you have been short changed?