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Friday, July 16, 2010

Post # 129 - Meijer and Their Yogurt Downsizing - 2/5/2010

A friend of a friend brought this to my attention.  I understand why companies do this, but it really bugs me.  Thanks Stacey!

Dear Meijer,

You’re not fooling anyone. One week, you’re selling me 8 ounce yogurt for 49 cents. The next week, you’re charging the same 49 cents. But you’ve downsized me by 2 ounces. That’s a 25 percent reduction. If the tables were turned, and I tried shorting you by 5 percent (12 cents), your hired guns behind those checkout counters would tell me to get lost. Why do you hold the power?

I find it funny that suddenly it’s healthier. It says so right on the container. I’m betting a serving has 25 percent less calories.

It’s a practice known industry-wide as “Frito-Laying” the customer. Those fine folks have been doing this for years. Here’s how it works:
-Year one: 16 ounce bag for $1.99.
-Year two: 14.5 ounce bag for $1.99
-Year three: 13 ounce bag for $1.99 (funny—the bag looks the same)
-Year four: 11.5 ounce bag for $1.99, plus new One Pound Bag for $2.99
-Year five: 14.5 ounce bag for $2.99
-and on and on and on.

Look—I get it. As raw materials, work forces, utilities, and overhead increase in price, companies need to be creative. You’re trying to avoid consumer sticker shock by pulling the wool over our eyes. Why not look into less expensive packaging, like the Go-Gurt folks did? Or stick it to the farmers. Maybe they could streamline their processes.

We’re all used to seeing it from giant, out of touch companies like Frito Lay. It’s a little disappointing seeing it from a nice, community friendly store like Meijer.

The same store that:
-Once replaced a bag of groceries, free of charge, on the honor system when accidentally left it in the cart.
-I’ve personally seen donate gift cards for turkeys for needy folks at Thanksgiving.
From that store, I expect better.


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