Colour, shape, size and logo are all features on packaging, an important aspect of a product which undoubtedly influences the shopper’s decision to buy. Red for example, as well as being a “danger” colour, will make things seem more exciting and urgent. In contrast, black tends to give an air of higher value.
While some packaging choices like these may be clearer to understand, the writing on the pack is often overlooked. With the typical Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) in a supermarket having around a 1 in 500 chance of being bought, for today’s brands it’s more important than ever to take advantage of any opportunity to be noticed by shoppers.
Renowned for giving tips and advice on a range of current consumer issues, a Rip Off Britain episode, aired 31/05/17 on BBC1 (available now on BBC iPlayer), discussed the issue of packaging in store. Focusing specifically on the tactics which many shoppers feel are misleading. Phillip Adcock, Managing Director of Shopping Behaviour Xplained made a guest appearance on the popular show, giving his thoughts on the topic.
The debate came after Tesco was criticised for using fake farm names on their packaging. Woodside, Willow and Boswell farms are just three examples of names being used on their meats for sale.
So why is produce farmed in Britain so attractive to shoppers? In the episode, Phillip Adcock suggested shoppers have positive associations with farms, believing them to be both fresher and healthier options than other produce on offer.
Farmers’ Markets, as the name suggests, give local farmers the chance to sell their produce directly and gives consumers the opportunity to buy farm-fresh, locally grown food. Shoppers know items bought haven’t been sourced far away and travelled hundreds, or even thousands, of miles to be sold. Today, with more people becoming concerned with food sourcing and ‘going green’, these markets are gaining popularity among shoppers.
That said, farmers’ markets also have the reputation of being more expensive., whether they are is another discussion itself, but confirmation bias is a powerful thing. You believe it to be true, you’re told it to be true, thus you continue to assume it’s true. One thing that is undeniably true however, is that farmers’ markets are not the most convenient. They aren’t on practically every road, and are only open certain hours, on certain days.
How does this relate to the issue of misleading packaging in supermarkets?
We know people want to buy locally farmed, fresh produce. We also know shoppers are busy people, likely to have a job, a family and other daily demands. They may not have the time so they most definitely want the convenience. Supermarkets have seen this as an opportunity, offering shoppers the convenience of fresh local produce, at what is assumed to be a cheaper price. Jackpot.
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