Why is the fact that people are arguing about peanut butter important?
Is it important?
I guess time will tell what kind of effect a site like Mouse Print, which “exposes the strings and catches buried in the fine print” has on consumer awareness.
Topic of the day? Unilever reduced the size of their Skippy brand peanut butter, but the packaging looks exactly the same, a feat executed by hollowing out the bottom of the container (see picture here). Their competitor, Jif (made by Smuckers) has already made darn sure to promote the fact that their jar is still 18 ounces.
Mouse Print asked Unilever why the change, and the company responded that, essentially, rising prices have led them to lower the amount of product to keep a competitive price.
I don’t know about you, but my grocery store gives a Price Per Unit ratio below the product which is danged helpful to those of us who are woefully math challenged.
A friend of mine had complained last year on her blog about how confusing it is that companies (which she referred to as “Marketers”) are forever changing the playing field, so it was hard to be an informed consumer.
I think that’s always been the case (there’s an old expression which captures that sentiment, “Have you ever heard a huckster yell, ‘Rotten tomatoes?’”) People who make their living selling things aren’t usually going to give you the product/service’s downside. That’s left up to us, the consumer.
Thus the other ancient expression, “Caveat emptor”.
The good thing about sites like Mouse Print is that they let the consumers rant and rave and check facts with each other (and the companies), so consumers at least have some facts on their side. Which is better than hearing from a coworker, as I did years ago, “Did you know Snapple has KKK connections?” who then pointed at the label of his Snapple Iced Tea.
“Um, that’s the Kosher symbol.”
If you’re interested, NPR had a talk with Ben Popken from Consumerist about this whole topic, which you can listen to here.