That takes the bis­cuit!

Num­ber of Jaffa Cakes in an Xmas box falls from 48 to 40

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Tom Payne

‘Un­nec­es­sary pack­ag­ing’

CHRIST­MAS… the time for giv­ing. Or tak­ing away, in the case of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes.

We’re al­ready used to get­ting less for our money in other sea­sonal treats.

Now it’s the turn of McVitie’s, which has been crit­i­cised for shrink­ing the con­tents of its bumper boxes of Jaffa Cakes while keep­ing the price the same. Last year the ‘yard­long’ Christ­mas box con­tained a to­tal of 48 Jaffa Cakes, but this year’s ver­sions con­tain only 40.

To make mat­ters worse, the ‘Jaffa Cracker’ tubes – which are pop­u­lar stock­ing fillers – re­main the same size, which means an ex­tra four inches of un­nec­es­sary card­board and plas­tic pack­ag­ing. And de­spite hav­ing no­tice­ably fewer con­tents, the box still car­ries the same £3 price tag at Tesco.

The prod­uct con­tains four of the stan­dard boxes of ten cakes that were phased into shops last Se­pof tem­ber, re­plac­ing the old packs of 12. The new Jaffa Cracker tube weighs just 500g com­pared with the 750g one sold in pre­vi­ous years.

The cakes are the lat­est of many treats to shrink in size. Qual­ity Street, Toblerone and Wal­nut Whips have also got smaller over the years as part of a trend dubbed ‘shrink­fla­tion’ by con­sumer an­a­lysts.

McVitie’s yes­ter­day said it an­nounced changes to the pack sizes of Jaffa Cakes more than a year ago, in­clud­ing chang­ing stan­dard packs from 12 cakes to ten.

A spokesman said: ‘Our new sea­sonal Jaffa Cracker con­sists of four in­di­vid­ual packs of ten cakes which are stacked and de­signed to be gifted over the fes­tive pe­riod.’ The firm also said some on­line in­de­pen­dent re­tail­ers were mis­lead­ing shop­pers by sell­ing McVitie’s prod­ucts with ‘in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion’.

Con­fec­tion­ers have of­ten been crit­i­cised for slim­ming down the size treats but keep­ing the price the same. In 2012, Nestlé cut the stan­dard tin of Qual­ity Street from 1kg to 820g, while keep­ing the price at £5.

Cus­tomers ac­cused the firm of shrink­ing the tin again in 2015. The fol­low­ing year Toblerone owner Mon­delez in­creased the gap be­tween the peaks of the choco­late bar in or­der to cut the weight.

First made in 1927, Jaffa Cakes are not with­out con­tro­versy of their own. The ques­tion of whether the or­ange jel­ly­filled favourite is a cake or a bis­cuit was the sub­ject of a much-pub­li­cised tri­bunal in 1991.

McVitie’s won af­ter ar­gu­ing its prod­uct should be ex­empt from VAT be­cause it is a cake. The com­pany’s proof was that cake goes hard when it is stale, while bis­cuits turn soft. Although it is of­ten found in the bis­cuit aisle in shops and its size is more akin to that of a bis­cuit, Jaffa Cakes ac­tu­ally have a base of Genoise sponge.

How it stacks up: The new McVitie’s ‘yard-long’ tube now has eight fewer cakes

Crack­ers: How the con­tents have shrunk since last year

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