Getting worth for cash may not be your prime purpose when shopping for Christmas presents however in case you are planning to snap up sweets or sweets for those you’re keen on, it pays to examine what you will get on your money. That fancy field or tub might come at a price (monetary and environmental) – and, opposite to appearances, it would imply fewer treats for the recipient, no more.
We’ve all heard about “shrinkflation”, the place corporations sneak by value rises by shrinking pack sizes, however in the case of festive confectionery, it’s essential to be sensible to the opposite packaging tips that producers and retailers possibly hope we gained’t discover.
At Marks & Spencer, for instance, upgrading from a bag to a field of fruit jellies means downsizing – regardless of the latter’s a lot increased price ticket – as a Guardian Cash reader who obtained in contact was shocked to find. In a London department of the excessive road retailer, a 200g bag of Fruit Jellies sells for £1.20, whereas a field containing 180g of equivalent trying sweets, badged as Jelly Fruits, is on sale for £2.60. Per 100g, the sweets within the bag price 60p and within the field price £1.40.
The unit costs are marked up on the cabinets however from the surface it’s not apparent that you’re shopping for a field with a small bag inside. The field successfully prices £1.52 as soon as the value distinction and the ten% fewer sweets are taken into consideration.
Pricing quirks and the price of extra packaging are all the time price allowing for, notably round Christmas and Easter when producers invent new methods to current their items.
This yr, Mars’s Celebrations model is on the market in a brand new “centrepiece” field, which holds 385g of the sweets. It usually sells for £1 greater than a pouch weighing 370g, and on the similar value – or extra – as a plastic tub weighing 650g. In Tesco, for instance, the pouch is priced at £3.50, or £2.50 for Clubcard holders, the centrepiece field at £5, or £4 for Clubcard holders, and the plastic tub at £4. Respectively, that’s a price per 100g of 95p (or 67.5p with a Clubcard), £1.30 (or £1) and 62p.
It’s a discrepancy that’s not gone unnoticed by internet buyers. On Ocado’s web site the centrepiece field will get one star, though on the time of writing it had been lowered from £5 to £3.50. The newest purchaser, who posted on Tuesday, complained that they’d “paid the value of a giant field for a tiny one”.
Ele Clark, a retail editor on the client group Which?, says: “Whereas costs will inevitably differ between supermarkets, buyers could be much less conscious that the value per 100g of a branded product also can fluctuate enormously inside a retailer, relying not solely on the pack dimension but additionally the packaging sort.
“Some choices will supply a lot worse worth for cash than others, so take note of the costs per 100g – and don’t assume you’re getting an excellent deal simply because the merchandise is on supply.”
Helen Chicken from the waste discount charity Wrap says that whereas presentation “could be an essential a part of the reward expertise”, it usually means extra packaging.
If you’re making an attempt to decide on between completely different packs primarily based on their environmental influence, she says: “A common rule of thumb is the longer we use issues, the higher it’s for the atmosphere. Some packaging is designed to be repurposed, equivalent to fancy tins. However one other common rule is that the heavier the packaging, the extra sources it’s utilizing and the extra gas it is going to eat in transportation. So if we’re not going to reuse one thing, a lighter pack could also be higher.”
Mars Wrigley, which makes Celebrations, has this yr lowered the plastic in its pouches by 19%. It says pricing of its merchandise is at a retailer’s discretion.
A spokesperson says: “At Mars Wrigley, our focus is all the time on making certain we provide our great-tasting, high-quality chocolate at the absolute best worth. Now we have a variety of Celebrations treats on sale this Christmas that, whereas out there in numerous sizes, codecs and value factors to swimsuit all events, present worth for cash to the British public this festive season.”
Chicken says that after the packaging is completed with, it is very important recycle as a lot as doable.
“Most packaging can now be recycled at house however paper or card that has glitter on it shouldn’t be recycled, so it’s additionally greatest to keep away from shopping for it, too. Plastic luggage, wrapping and pouches are usually not recyclable at house however a number of supermarkets, together with Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op, present recycling assortment factors at their shops as a part of their efforts to hit UK plastics pact targets for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2025. You could find out what and the place to recycle at www.recyclenow.com.”