Cadbury has quietly reduced the size of its Dairy Milk chocolate bars by eight per cent – while keeping the price the same.
The classic bar shrank overnight from 49g to 45g when it was re-launched with a new ‘curved’ shape.
Cadbury says the weight reduction is necessary to maintain the 59p retail in price in the face of rising fuel and commodity costs.
But Angus Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Confectionary magazine, said the reduction will not go down well with consumers.
He said: “Shaving a portion off, for the same price, can leave a bad taste.
“Unfortunately the producers are snookered as raw material costs have gone sky high – so it’s either put the price up or reduce the bar size.
“Many producers are now claiming a ‘new healthy size and less calories’, but actually it’s less chocolate!
“In my opinion why not just say, ‘look guys, sugar prices are up and we are really sorry but we had to do this.’
“More than anything consumers want honesty and don’t want to be treated like idiots.”
Cadbury cut the weight while re-designing the bars from the traditional rigid rectangles to a rounded oblong in August.
The remodelling affects all 49g bars including the traditional plain bar, caramel filled and fruit and nut.
By comparison, Galaxy Caramel bar now weighs 3g more than its Dairy Milk counterpart – despite costing the same price – with the normal Galaxy bar containing a gram more.
The issue was highlighted by consumers who contacted the BBC’s Watchdog programme on Wednesday night.
It is not the first time Kraft, the American company that now owns Cadbury, has been criticised for reducing the size of products since its takeover in 2010.
In February last year the company claimed it was forced to slash the size of its 140g bar by 14 per cent to avoid price rises.
It was also accused, in 2008, of removing more expensive chocolates from tubs of Heroes.
A spokesman for Cadbury said the reduction in weight was due to financial factors and the reduction enabled the company to maintain the current price of the chocolate.
He said: “We have made modest weight reductions to some of our Cadbury Dairy Milk variants, due a range of financial factors, such as rising fuel and commodity costs.
“Making these small reductions allows us to hold prices at current levels – which is important for our customers in these difficult economic times.
“We still believe our chocolate represents excellent value for money and remains an affordable treat.”
The news follows growing anger within the UK over plans by Kraft to axe jobs in the Cadbury Bourneville factory in Birmingham.
The company announced that 200 manufacturing jobs would be lost following an investment in new machinery.
Last year Cadbury heiress, Felicity Loudon, attacked Kraft’s proposals to shift parts of Cadbury to Switzerland.
Felicity, the great-great-great granddaughter of founder John Cadbury, said the move proved Kraft “doesn’t give a damn” about the UK.
“This was just always going to happen,” she said.
“They cannot stop themselves. They don’t give a damn about the UK or the fact Cadbury is British.
“Last week we had the sweet-talking from them, saying they wanted to make everything English and talking up the heritage. Now this.
“They couldn’t afford Cadbury so they are having to cut costs everywhere they can.”