The often spoken of “THERE’S LITERALLY EIGHT CRISPS IN THIS PACKET” conspiracy isn’t in your mind - manufacturers really are downsizing our food while putting up the prices. Branston Pickle, John West Tuna and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (among others) have all shrunk over the years, but don’t panic. We’ve scoured supermarkets to find the best own-brand alternatives that give you WAY more bang for your edible buck.
CADBURY’S DAIRY MILK: The Cadbury staple shrank by 4g while we were distracted by it’s “new shape”, and the 59p price stayed the same. Sneaky. Oh, and the 140g bars are now just 120g.
MEGA-CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Tesco Value milk chocolate is thick, chunky and tastes damn fine - a 100g chocolate binge costs 30p so you’d be better off opting for this when trying to save pennies. Dark and white alternatives are also available, if you’re into that sort of thing.
DAIRYLEA: A regular triangle pack used to be 180g, but is now just 140g, unless you want to splash out on 200g worth of weird cheese (does anyone actually eat Dairylea? Let us know if so. Genuinely interested).
MEGA-CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Asda offer a great alternative which is a cheese-dream-inducing 32p for 150g. It tastes like the real thing (i.e. weird cheese) and, while it may not be triangles, you’re probably over the age of 12 so you need to get over it. Life is hard sometimes.
JOHN WEST TUNA: Dolphin friendly and super-chunky, these sandwich filler favourites decreased from 130g to 112g with a marked non-change in price. The John West guys said they’d increased the quality though, but at £1.99, is it worth it?
MEGA-CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: Answer: no, because Sainsbury’s do it better. As in, their own-brand tuna is indistinguishable from the John West favourite, but costs just 75p for 185g of the badboys (i.e. “tuna”). Hooray for more economical sandwiches.
BRANSTON PICKLE: All hail the king of the ploughman's lunch, cheese and crackers, and that bit in Bridget Jones where she eats it out of a jar to the relief of people everywhere realising they aren’t the only one. However, a good jar of the original favourite costs £1.34…
MEGA-CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: …and Tesco have a lovely own-brand version that’s just 24p. After extensive taste-testing, there is a slight difference (it’s marginally sweeter, and there are a fewer chunks) but it still livens up a cheese sarnie like you wouldn’t believe.
QUALITY STREET: The 1kg tins are no more, replaced last September for a leaner 850g. No, you still couldn’t manage it in one sitting but we calculated, via complete guesswork, that this would shorten a tin’s lifespan for a family of five by roughly half a day.
MEGA-CHEAP ALTERNATIVE: There isn’t one that we can find, but they could at least get rid of the strawberry creams and replace them with more green triangles. After all, it’s about quality, not quantity.
AND FINALLY, SOME THINGS WE’VE NOTICED GETTING SMALLER BUT HAVE NO EVIDENCE FOR:
CRISPS: As previously mentioned, opening a packet to discover eight crisps is one of the main reasons for mid-afternoon rage. According to highly scientific testing (i.e. eating a lot of crisps), we found this abomination is occurring across the whole Crisp Empire, not just specific brands. Perhaps it really is a conspiracy.
HARIBO: Mainly because we just had some in the office, it was less than half full, and someone in the office counted three fizzy cherries in the whole packet. Three. Something needs to be done, and soon.
MCDONALDS LARGE FRIES/MCFLURRIES: Yes it’s great they got rid of supersizing, but considering the price has gone up under those Golden Arches, you’d expect the amount of fries to stay the same. And McFlurries are now bloody tiny.
PRE-PREPARED SANDWICH FILLINGS: Prawn and Mayonnaise, we’re looking at you, but we know there are many more offenders. Is there anything worse than biting into a sandwich and finding nothing but bread? No.