Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - Page 16 News List

McVitie’s digests slump by shrinking packaging

AFP, LONDON

A much-loved British biscuit has fallen victim to the Brexit-linked slump in the pound, as McVitie’s Digestives on Friday said its packets will shrink.

Packets of the quintessentially British brand will be cut from 500g to 400g this month, after the weakened pound ramped up import costs.

“The rising cost of ingredients and changes in the exchange rates means it has become more expensive to bake our products,” said Nick Bunker, the UK and Ireland managing director of Pladis, which owns the brand.

The change was necessary “in these challenging times,” he said.

Britain’s decision in 2016 to leave the EU led to a sharp drop in the value of the pound against the euro and US dollar.

A company spokeswoman denied that the change was the result of one specific event such as the Brexit vote, but said it was rather a response to “changing market conditions and the increased cost of ingredients.”

The sweet wheaty biscuit is a British staple, often dunked into a cup of milky tea, and is sold internationally.

“It would appear that nothing is safe from the effect of rising costs in a post-Brexit world,” the Times newspaper wrote.

The pro-EU campaign group Open Britain said: “This really takes the biscuit.”

Pladis has suggested retailers drop the price of the packets from £1.25 (US$1.73) to £1.15 to reflect the new size.

While some saw smaller packets as a way to tackle obesity, others were not so enthusiastic.

“Mr Robert McVitie must be twisting in his grave,” reader Ahmed Bayram said on the Times Web site.

In October 2016, Toblerone announced the triangular-shaped chocolate had shrunk over rising costs.

Consumers have since complained of numerous companies selling smaller versions of their products.

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