Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Rising food prices that have sent people looking for bargains have also sent food product makers looking for ways to give people less food for the same price without them noticing.

That brings us to the folks at Peter Pan. They're the ones whose peanut butter disappeared from store shelves for months after a massive recall of tainted product. They came back with new packaging and even a new product -- whipped peanut butter. "Easier to spread," it says on the label. True enough. It has the consistency of cake frosting. Add some sugar and it would be better suited for icing cupcakes than making a PB&J.

Here's the genius of the product. The whippped peanut butter sells for the same price as its comparable sized jar of regular Peter Pan. But the jar that holds 18 oz. of regular contains only 14 oz. of the whipped variety. That means I got about 22% less peanut butter for the same price. (Sort of. I bought the whipped in a buy one get one free sale.)

Clever, huh? Peter Pan raising its price by 20% might anger people. Instead, it found a new way to market the product so that people won't notice that they're paying the same price for 22% less peanut butter.


Ike said...

I thought the same thing about selling less product and more air for the same price.

For a point of reference, though, the Whipped version had been marketed here in Birmingham long before the recall. It was probably successful enough in the test markets to warrant spreading.

John said...

The recall and the appearance of the new product are probably coincidental but it doesn't hurt Peter Pan to offer a new product at the same time it's trying to win customers back.

I will add that the whipped version is a lot easier to dip carrot chips in.

Gwen said...

They do the same thing with yogurt and cream cheese, I've noticed.

John said...

That makes sense with the price of milk rising as it is.