By VERONICA SPAGNA
What if you were to pay the same amount of money that you usually pay for a bag of M&Ms, but with fewer M&Ms? Well, this is happening in Britain and not only with M&Ms. Because of Brexit, big American food companies have acted under pressure in accordance with the decreasing value of the pound, by diminishing the sizes of their products but leaving it at the same price.
The term Brexit comes from Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. The voting was held June 23 last year and the decision of leaving Europe was a very close call as “exit” won by 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.
Since June, the pound has dropped 17 percent against the U.S. dollar. This is changing foreign exchange rates and is impacting the cost of commodities, such as ingredients and materials, increasing the price of imported goods such as food and electronics.
The chocolate industry seems to be one of the most impacted, as cocoa is priced in dollars and so producers in the U.K. pay more.
The process of shrinking the packages or decreasing the amount of the product in the packages is called “Shrinkflation.” Firms use shrinkflation hoping that their consumers do not notice, in fact, most of the time consumers do not seem to check the quantity or weight of the product on the packages.
Companies such as PepsiCo and Mars have been downsizing their products to make up for the decrease in values of the pound, which is why reporters in news articles have been calling this situation “Brexit Diet.”
For example, the 160 grams bag of M&Ms has been downsized to a 145 grams bag of M&Ms, but has remained the same price. Another example is the bags of Doritos, Tostitos, and Fritos, which now have 20 percent fewer chips than before but at the same price.
The retail sales have dropped significantly in the U.K. for three consecutive months. Many articles seem to focus mostly on how companies are decreasing the packaging, but not the impact that this is having on the British economy.
There doesn’t seem to be as much coverage on American news sites on this issue. The few American articles that do feature this topic, lack to mention how Brexit and how these current events also impact the American economy. Yes, the dollar is getting stronger, but this only makes American products more expensive outside the country, making them less attractive in the U.K.