Same product: Why deferring quality, quantity?

by Anne Agbaje

November 1, 2013 | 12:50 am
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It is usually interesting to shoppers when they enter into a supermarket or even the open market and discover that their cherished products have not given way to the seemingly inevitable price increase. This can also be quite comforting.

Also, food, personal care, and household products account for 37 percent of total monthly household spending. The daily increase in cost of living is surely affecting shoppers who are always looking out for value for money products.

However, market research has shown that most products may no longer be what they used to be, not necessarily in quality but in quantity.

A survey has also shown that although products ranging from cornflakes, soap, detergents, bleach to diapers have indeed stayed the same price, shoppers are not getting the same quantity in terms of product measurement.

Clare Benson, a consumer, says Milo, Bournvita, Nasco Cornflakes have really dropped in terms of content size and quality, as a result consumers who can afford it now go for international brands like Kellogs. “The local cornflakes of those days used to be very crisp and the content was really much. But today the content is no longer what it used to be,” are food companies using a recession-fuelled strategy to reduce the size of their products rather than increasing prices?

Things are not what they used to be, many brands of yogurt are also not as creamy as they used to be. And it seems that when we hit the shops these days, our wallets end up lighter, but our cupboards are not as full as they once were, she says.

Experts in consumer issues argue that the repackaging done by Maltina and Malta Guinness when new bottles of the malt drinks were launched were part of the strategies to cut down on content. Nigerian Bottling Company, manufacturer of Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta and others, also did the same.

“They are just ripping off consumers. Manufacturers are not just being honest with the consumer any more. I have been to supermarkets to buy products only to discover that the contents are no longer what they used to be in terms of quantity. Manufacturers are cutting down on quantity while the price is going up. It’s really sad,” Clare laments.

The same can be said of some leading bleach brands. They are no longer as strong as they used to be. Also, Cheese Balls, a snack variant that is common among school children, have also reduced now; they are no longer as full as they once were. The packs have been re-sized yet the prices remain the same.

The issue however is that customers who are loyal to certain brands may not see things quite so clearly. Although most consumers understand that the cost of raw materials is increasing rapidly, they would also like companies to speak up.

As a tactic, reducing product size and not price doesn’t go down well with customers who may become inclined to reconsider their loyalty to the brands.

Studies also show that tradition, family and maintaining high standards for oneself, are key attitudes that influence the purchasing habit of the Nigerian consumer. “Eight of 10 respondents stress the importance of planning for the future,” the study states, “which results in price sensitivity and prioritisation in consumption. Nigerian consumers prefer the tried and tested route in terms of products.

By: Anne Agbaje

by Anne Agbaje

November 1, 2013 | 12:50 am
12893  |   93   |   0  |   Start Conversation

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