Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Safeway's Lucerne Yogurt Downsized But Price Unchanged

A few days ago I noticed that Safeway's Lucerne store brand of yogurt had a brand new package and look and sported the words "New smooth and creamy recipe". What I didn't notice until my father-in-law pointed it out this weekend is that the new yogurt container is also 2 oz. smaller than the old packaging. Of course, Safeway did not change the old price - effectively increasing the price per ounce by 33%... I was planning a large post about this, but JD of Get Rich Slowly beat me to the punch yesterday. Darn, I got scooped.

What Safeway did is not fraud, however, it clearly misled customers like me who have been buying the product for years and did not notice the change. Essentially, they pulled a fast one on us. There should be a law that requires manufacturers and retailers to clearly state in bold letters on the packaging if they decrease the product size from previous levels . The language should be simple and clear, something like: "warning: container now smaller". God knows they shout it out from the roof tops every time there is a slight increase in the size of the package. They should be required to do the same when package size is reduced. Specifying the new size of the package on its own is not sufficient, since consumers do not have a frame of reference unless they happen to remember the size of the old container (and who on earth does or can?). The only reason my father-in-law noticed the difference is that a new and old container were sitting next to each other in our fridge.

Anyway, I think that instead of its "new smooth and creamy recipe" tag line, Safeway could have chosen a more imaginative description, so I thought I would suggest a few ideas:

"Now more expensive!" - OK, unimaginative, but factually accurate.
"It's now richer, but you're not"
"There's one born every minute, and your number is up"

Let me know if you have any good new tag lines in mind. Maybe we can get Safeway to adopt one of them...


threehams said...

The Lucerne yogurt around here has always been 6oz, but the new Smooth and Creamy yogurt sucks ass! All the fruit chunks are gone!

The Peach Light yogurt used to be the best stuff available, too.

Anonymous said...

Not only have they downsized the containers and kept the price the same, but I now find that the new 6 oz. containers are only about 2/3 full.

Anonymous said...

I used to buy the 8 oz. containers all the time (my diet is largely limited to yogurt) and the size reduction + change in formula have driven me to the Kirkland brand at Costco. Safeway is / was more convenient, but paying the same for 25% less AND losing the flavors that made them so good ... sucks :-(

Anonymous said...

I find this huge price increase just criminal to consumers. And actually, it's more than just the size issue: Safeway otherwise has raised the price by 10% or so on sale.

I wrote the manufacturer about this. Surprise, surprise: not even the courtesy of a response.

How does one spell, B-O-Y-C-O-T-T Lucerne products?

williams said...

The new smooth and creamy yogurt is terrible. I used to buy out my local Safeway store of their boysenberry yogurt regularly.
This new 6 oz boysenberry made with the new receipe totally sucks!
I been forced to buy other store brands because of this change.
Wakeup Safeway! This is just dumb bussines.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the above comments! Safeway, wake-up, your loosing business and it's not only your bad decision about lucerne yogurt but the lack of bread on your shelves. We have always loved your store brand but I am finding new alternatives because I'm tired of going to your store and finding the only thing left on your shelves is what no one else wants.

Anonymous said...

This is years after your initial observation, but I was just at safeway yesterday and what I found was some old packaging and the newer, it was specifically Oatmeal. They were the same price, but the newer one had 2 less packets. They are conning the public.