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Has anyone noticed this lately? Your favorite brands are getting smaller, but the prices remain the same.

Consumers are really starting to pay attention to “product cuts.” I noticed it first in my yogurt cup, but thought less calories anyway, but lately I’ve noticed that many different products are reduced and prices remain the same, and in some cases the content of the product is reduced in combination with the increase in prices.

This is not the first time this has happened. If any of you have old cookbooks, you will notice that the recommended amount of some products has changed. Especially when you’re baking and you need one and a bit of something to complete the recipe. A cup of something is a glass, though, so standard weights and measurements still apply.

We have long seen the bottle of detergent (Ultra detergents) shrink, along with the alleged claim that we are protecting the environment with less packaging. The detergent is concentrated and requires less packaging material to make the bottle and less expensive to deliver. The real truth, though, was that it was a win for CPG companies and packaging manufacturers, not consumers. With new detergents, you actually pay more per wash, not less. It also looks good for finishing environmental packaging.

But enough sour grapes for something that has become commonplace, packages are now shrinking to keep up with inflation prices. The price of raw materials is rising sharply and companies are looking for ways to offset the increasing costs. One of the simplest ways is to reduce the amount of product in itself while keeping the same price in the hope that consumers will not notice.

Sorry, but now we have a trained customer who reads labels and notes. They not only read them, they compare them as products. The brand has already fallen on private label products, and even more so with the downturn in the economy. If your product shrinks and the consumer is not satisfied, they will look for an alternative, especially if it is cheaper.

However, there are other cost savings options for packaging. Some companies do what is called light weighting. This is a reduction in the amount of packaging material used. I’m sure you’ve seen the thickness of your water bottles go down or how you can squeeze a can of beer or soda with one hand now. This is because the manufacturers have come up with a way to remove the packaging material while maintaining the structural integrity of the package. Packaging technology contains new and improved materials that make this possible. It is important to note, however, that there is a fine line between reducing material costs and failure of packages. If the consumer is not brought in good condition then it is a disaster.

Another way to reduce packaging costs is to reconfigure the package to make it more cost effective. That is to design the product in such a way that it takes up less space on the store shelf or maximizes palletization and shipping or transportation with a better shipping unit. A good example is a square milk bottle introduced by Wal-Mart, where not only can a square bottle more than a round bottle get on the shelf, but a more cost-effective postage. This bottle redesign is a win-win for Wal-Mart given the huge amount of money saved from this change. A note of caution when considering a radical redesign of an item from its usual location, the jury is committed to accepting a square milk bottle by consumers. Have you ever tried pouring one?

Given consumer awareness of the incredible package cut, a savvy marketing person would look for ways to deliver more value no less. Redesigning, light weighting or simply keeping the same number of products are all options for winning the heart and thinking in today’s consumer brand loyalty is not what it used to be, and once they are gone, it will never come back.

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Source by JoAnn Hines




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