Shrinkflation: what £15 could have bought you 15 years ago compared to today from pints to petrol

Rapid inflation has seen the cost of living spike considerably over the past year, with £15 stretching much further in 2008 compared to 2023

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It's no surprise to anyone that the cost of living has had a major impact on most people's purse strings.

The cost of energy bills, food shopping, rent and more has shot through the roof in the past year, with households now battling against the highest inflation rate of comparable countries. The UK's annual inflation rate currently sites at 6.8% compared to others such as Germany at 6.5% and Italy at 6.4%.

It can be gutting finding that your favourite product doesn't quite give you the same bang for your buck any more. SMARTY mobile network has compiled data to compare just how much £15 could get you 15 years ago in 2008.

At the pub, £15 would have bought a round of seven pints, whereas today you'd be lucky to get change out of three-and-a-half pints.

Likewise, £15 would cover a petrol top up of around 14 litres. Nowadays, you would be looking at adding only 10.8 litres to your tank for the same price.

Petrol prices are one of the main expenses to increase considerably in the past year or so, with the impact of the war in Ukraine and Russian sanctions also raising prices. Supermarkets were also recently criticised by the Competition and Market Authority for overcharging petrol customers and not handing down lower prices.

In 2008, £15 would buy you a whopping six portions of fish and chips. In 2023, you would only be able to pick up a portion and a half in your local chip shop.

Food inflation has had a huge impact on budgets, with the cost of a typical shop rising by 6.9% on average in the past year. A pint of milk in the year 2008 was half the price of cartons in 2023, with customers paying around 55p more.

Some popular items to have dramatically increase in price in the past 15 years include:

  • Petrol: 103.9p a litre - 138.9p today
  • Pint of beer: £2.30 - £4.21 today
  • Cinema ticket: £7.66 - £10.75 today
  • Fish and chips: £2.43 a portion - £9 today
  • Lotto ticket: £1 - £2 today
  • Pint of milk: 42p - £1.05 today
  • Can of coca cola: 45p - 95p today
  • 1kg bag of sugar: 85p - £1.11 today
  • Dozen eggs: £2.47 - £3.26 today
  • Pound of bananas: 88p - £1.01 today

'Shrinkflation' has also become a major annoyance for shoppers across the country. This is when the price of an item stays the same or increases, while the amount of product you are actually getting is reduced, meaning that customers are paying more for less.

According to a SMARTY mobile survey of 2,000 adults, chocolate bars and crisps were voted the most annoying product to spot this in, with 86% of customers fed-up of pre-packaged items shrinking.

In the same survey, 39% of people said that utilities were the worst value for money in 2023, with groceries following at 36% and car expenses at 23%.

Elin McLean, SMARTY’s general manager, said: “We live in an era of shrinkflation and rising costs, and £15 doesn’t go nearly as far as it used to. Everything from the cost of milk through to lotto tickets has increased in price compared to 15 years ago.

“We are constantly reviewing our plans to give more to our customers, increasing the value of our offering and not the price.”

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