I walk into my local grocery store, needing bell peppers (a favorite snack of mine). The red and orange bell peppers are $1.19 per pepper. So what do I do? I look for the largest, nicest pepper to get the most value for my money.
And thus I’ve become a part of an interesting cycle, one that I have a theory comes from marketing pricing strategy.
Here’s my theory:
Some produce is priced per item (vs. per pound). Thus, consumers look for the largest produce they can to maximize their expenditure. Which means demand for larger produce keeps growing, so produce providers try to maximize the size of their produce. Then the cycle starts all over again.
This theory and cycle create a lot of interesting consequences if you think about it. As someone who regularly meets with a dietician, one consequence is portion sizes; what I think is a small apple is actually a medium-large apple on the dietary scale. And, as we become more concerned with the long-term impacts of certain farming practices, encouraging ever-larger sizes may be causing ecological harm.
It also leads us with a lot of produce that could be considered “too small” for consumers. So, stores and food marketing companies are coming up with ways to combat this:
- Selling produce by the weight vs. per item. The most straightforward answer is to change the pricing model to be weight-based vs. per item. Raise your hand if you’re “one of those” people who take the grapes you don’t need out of the bag and put them in another bag because they are sold by weight (I’m raising my hand).
- Discounted ugly produce. Probably the most well-known version of this is Imperfect Produce boxes, but some stores have “ugly” bins. However, some critics say that this doesn’t solve the food waste problems it claims to solve.
- Creative marketing of smaller produce. A few of my favorite examples are below. Although, the extra packaging is an obvious ecological downside. I do, however, find it interesting that they have names such as “Gator Eggs” for small avocados and “Lil Snappers” for apples which leads me to believe they are geared toward small children.
It’s an interesting theory and trend to follow.