Manufacturers Sales Psychology

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FOOD PRODUCT MANUFACTURES SALES PSYCHOLOGY

My bride and myself have purchased our fair share of cookbooks during our 45 years of marriage and most remain on shelves collecting dust,  whereas our favorites are well used and worn.

I have my own personal cookbook which is a compilation of various recipes we enjoy and those that I have modified adapted and created myself which are kept in a very large 3 D-Ring notebook under sheet protectors.  Many of those recipes do go far back in time, especially the ones collected from turn of the 20th century cookbooks, etc., and it appears the unit of measure has changed over the years.  It seems that a pound is no longer a pound as evidenced by the multitudes of products that manufacturers package and sell.

For example;  the standard unit of measure for bacon was one pound or 16 ounces.  Now the more common package has shrunk to 12 ounces and sometimes 9 ounces.  Not that a pound doesn’t weight a pound but manufactures are slowly decreasing the package size yet attempt to keep the price the same so as to trick our mind into thinking the price has not gone up which in reality it has.

With recessionary and inflationary times prevalent,  I realize manufactures have to stay in the game and use whatever sales psychology that is best for them to maintain and/or increase gross sales and reducing the package size is apparently working for them since most manufacturers have gotten onto the same bandwagon!

I have many recipes that use soups, canned vegetables, etc., and the old standard was a can size that weighed 14.5 ounces of which soups now including the name recognized brand like Campbell’s has decreased to 10.75 ounces for their Cream of Chicken and Cream of Mushroom soups and others. This presents a problem with a recipe since you now have to purchase an additional can and will be left with a partial can if you follow the recipe or if you increase the recipe to double which might be too much for that particular recipe.

Over the years, I have noticed that Ritz Crackers seemed to have gotten smaller in diameter and have definitely gotten smaller in package size (length). The original package was very rectangular in shape (height or length wise) and the latest box I purchased was square with much shorter length sleeves of Ritz Crackers with the same number of original sleeves, yet the price remains the same.  The package price remained the same yet the product is now more expensive!

Some of the name brand granulated sugar; e.g., Dixie Crystals is now 4 pound packaged instead of the ole 5 pound bag, yet the price stayed the same.  I have found some of the store brands are just as good and you can get the 5 lb. bag for their 4 lb. price!

Brand name ice cream half gallon size has shrunk to 1.5 quarts.  The list goes on and on.

Hillshire Farms smoked sausages of all types are no longer packaged 16 ounces but now are 14, 13, 12 and some are 9 ounces to the package with the more expensive cuts of meat packaged the smallest.  Like I said earlier, when you create a recipe based on a standardized manufacturer’s package from the past and then it continues to get smaller each year, you have to purchase additional units of measure which many times leads to excess waste and does increase the cost.

On the other end of the spectrum, manufacturers will sometimes use their original size package and simply reduce the quantity of the product inside the box with the same end result.  I have noticed several different items packaged this way and cereal is one of them with the sealed product with air pumped into the package to fill it out.....grin if you must! 

Consumers are at the mercy of the manufacturers and the manufacturers certainly are in a position to package their products as they see fit probably thinking the consumer is not alert or aware of those subtitle changes but they are very wrong indeed!

Many brand name comparisons of canned fruit and vegetables reveal that manufacturers will add more liquid to the canned product which reduces the actual amount of product received which increases their profits.  Also, the big name brand products carry a much larger price tag because of the tremendous amount of advertising they do in order to sell their high dollar products.  Surprisingly, the big name brands like Green Giant and DelMonte are at the top of the list and brands such as Great Value will many times yield more product for your money.  It depends on the actual product you are purchasing and it doesn't hurt to do a side by side comparison just to fulfill your own consumer curiosity.  There are some brand names that I remain loyal to simply because the product IMHO (in my humble opinion) is superior, but then again each of us have a certain amount of psychological bias which there is no cure for.

Many specialty products are only available from a certain manufacturer and some generic or store brands are not up to par; therefore you have no choice to boycott that product but as the ole Marine Corps adage, “Adapt and Overcome” but it doesn’t hurt to vent once in a while……..grin if you must!

Web published by Bill aka Mickey Porter 08-15-13

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