Richmond has become the latest perpetrator of shrinkflation after relaunching several meat-free SKUs with smaller pack sizes.
Sausage and bacon alternatives from the Pilgrim’s Food Masters brand have increased in price by up to 25% per gram after the brand reduced pack sizes this month, prompting consumer complaints on social media.
Its meat-free bacon SKUs have been reduced from 150g to 120g. However, both its back and streaky ranges have remained at the £2.70 per pack price point in the mults, analysis of Assosia data by The Grocer has revealed.
This reduction of the SKU’s pack size by a fifth has resulted in a price per gram increase by a quarter.
Meanwhile, packs of the brand’s meat-free sausages in both chilled and frozen have fallen from 336g to 304g.
Prices have remained the same at £2.15 for frozen sausages and £2.70 for chilled in most retailers. This shrinkflation is equivalent to a 10.4% price increase per gram.
Rising cost prices
“Unfortunately, like many in our industry we have had to reduce the size of some products in our Richmond Meat-Free range as a result of rising production costs,” said a Richmond spokeswoman.
“This is not a decision we made lightly and we remain committed to offering the best possible value for money without compromising on quality or taste.”
The move follows Pilgrim Food Masters’ discontinuation of Richmond’s sister plant-based brand Taste & Glory last spring to focus on the booming Richmond meat-free range.
Richmond has performed well in the plant-based category since its launch in 2019. Last year, it overtook Cauldron to become the third bestselling meat alternative brand with retail sales growing 50.2% to £35.4m in the year to 18 June 2022 [NIQ].
The relaunch comes at an uncertain time for many meat-free brands. This week, The Grocer exclusively revealed that Meatless Farm had hired advisors to search for new investment in a bid to save the brand, which is facing a cashflow crisis. The brand is understood to be set to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators with the courts to give it breathing room as it attempts to find a buyer.
Data published by NIQ last week, meanwhile, revealed plant-based categories were struggling for growth due to the cost of living crisis. Veganuary unit sales in 2023 declined for chilled meat alternatives by 16.8%, with sales of frozen meat alternatives falling by 13.5% compared to 2022 figures, NIQ said.
Other brands have also come under fire for shrinkflation in recent months, including Lurpak, which saw pack sizes decrease from 250g to 200g and Hellman’s mayonnaise at Tesco, which fell from 800g to 600g.