After a long career working in the food industry I know the pressure Big Food Companies are under. Let me give you an example with bread – let’s say you normally buy a sunflower and linseed bread and the price of sunflower seeds increases significantly. This could be due to bad weather causing shortages or exchange rate fluctuations for imported products. Regardless of the cause, Big Food Companies have to look for ways to maintain their profit margin for shareholders.
The 3 most common options for recovering the higher cost are; they can reduce the amount of sunflowers and replace with a cheaper ingredient, they can reduce the size of the loaf or they can increase the cost of the product.
The option they would least likely choose is to increase the cost of the bread – because many consumers are in the habit of buying the cheapest available.
The option manufacturers are most likely to choose is reduce the expensive ingredient and replace with a cheaper ingredient. As a consumer you may not even notice a change in the bread especially if it is only reduced by a couple of percent and for big manufacturers it can save a huge amount of money.
The problem is when this is done every 2-3 years over a 10 -20 year period, its gradual (like the boiled frog syndrome), and a bread or any multi-ingredient product for that matter which started out as a highly nutritious food has become so dumbed down from its original version that you get minimal nutrition, you eat far more to try and get that nutrition and in doing so eat far more sugars, salts and refined ingredients than you should.