Mar­keters in­no­vate at con­sumer ex­pense

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Comment -

SHREWD mar­keters were al­ways roped in to bring in pack­ag­ing in­no­va­tion when repo­si­tion­ing a par­tic­u­lar brand and so the mid­dle of the 20th cen­tury saw the dawn of foil and lam­i­nate pack­ag­ing.

But it now seems lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers are procur­ing cheaper pack­ag­ing stan­dards.

Thou­sands of met­ric tons of food im­ports from Thai­land, In­dia, Por­tu­gal, Spain and Italy in all pack­aged forms (tin, glass and plas­tic) ar­rive an­nu­ally.

A com­par­a­tive study needs to be con­ducted on the qual­ity of pack­ag­ing used. I tried to open a can of beans.

The can vir­tu­ally squashed to­gether and I was un­able to get the lid off, cut­ting my fin­ger in the process.

This is a direct re­sult of a cheaper qual­ity metal be­ing used. Pack­ing costs are an in­te­gral part of the landed cost of the fin­ished prod­uct but th­ese sav­ings are not passed on.

It calls for fur­ther anal­y­sis whether the pre­served con­tents can be af­fected.

An­other no­table pack­ag­ing down­grade can be found in two-litre cold drink plas­tic bot­tles. At one time one could grasp a bot­tle firmly with one hand and pour into a glass. Try that now and you will spill all over or the bot­tle slips from your hand.

This is a direct re­sult of re­duc­ing the mi­crons (strength) of the plas­tic.

The im­mi­nent sugar tax and in­fe­rior PET pack­ag­ing can leave a bit­ter taste.

Con­sumers are be­ing com­pro­mised for qual­ity pack­ag­ing to in­crease man­u­fac­turer’s prof­its. Some time back, we saw an­other sup­plier in­no­va­tion – the more for less syn­drome – whereby con­tent weights (grams) were re­duced but filled in the same pack­ag­ing for­mat.

We have to pray the same strength re­duc­ing trick is not ex­per­i­mented with egg trays be­cause we will have a lot of bro­ken eggs.

Come on con­sumer jour­nal­ists, in­ves­ti­gate and high­light the mo­nop­o­lis­tic prin­ci­ples at play here which have dom­i­nated re­tail­ing.

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