Pricing is the watchword of the moment. First Tesco and Asda drop their trousers, then Sainsbury’s responds by refunding its customers via couponing. Even the upmarket folk at Waitrose have been on the phone demanding that we contribute to their “essential price cuts” or face the consequences.
As the heat intensifies over the next few weeks, I shall attend meetings with these customers. My CEO and sales director have requested I attend, presumably to help fend off customer begging bowls with marketing light entertainment. I am the joker in the pack and it is my job to muddy the waters with concept boards and mock-ups.
Anybody who thinks that it is just the big brands that are under the cosh would do well to take a stroll to their local supermarket. Innocent Smoothies half price across the trade; even the nice children’s smoothies with free fridge magnets are in the better-than-half-price sale.
If this level of squeezing continues, the government’s five-a-day targets will surely have to be adjusted.
Water is, of course, the healthiest drink of all, though sadly the bottled stuff is now more expensive than juice. Anybody caught drinking too healthily, can achieve a better balanced diet by enjoying Tyrrells crisps at half price.
It always amazes me how Tyrells garners enough potatoes from farmers in the Hereford area to make their crisps on the cute little farm you see in the brand’s marketing.
With the supermarkets selling the crisps on such heavy discount, it turns out that we can all eat posh nosh for value prices.
If Tyrrells isn’t your chip of choice, then rest assured that Kettle Chips are also available on bogof. The posh nosh seems cheaper than the ordinary stuff these days. How did that happen? And where will it all end?
I fear that as the upmarket brand owners engineer their products to balance the books, they will soon start tasting the same as their big-brand cousins.
You would hope that retailers will have enough foresight to manage their categories with economy, mainstream and premium offerings to suit all pockets, but I fear this latest round of supplier funding demands will be totally ubiquitous and lacking in any form of real differentiation or category management.