Don’t confuse the consumer

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One of the items on my shopping list was tuna. Not inherently brand loyal when it comes to tuna, I pondered for a minute between StarKist, Chicken of the Sea or store brand. Tuna packed in water sounded better to me than vegetable oil. And, I noticed the attractive, new freshness pouches that promise better-textured tuna than the kind found in cans. Yet, the pouches were relatively expensive.

Lots of decisions for just this one item. It makes you wonder what the normal shopper goes through each time he or she enters the grocery store. What decisions does he or she make regarding milk?

Complicating the decision-making process are all the little logos and insig-nias put on the containers. Many of the tuna cans have little logos pronouncing the product “dolphin-safe.” Most shoppers probably don’t even notice the logos — but for those who do, the logo may provide some sense of comfort, knowing that dolphins weren’t killed or seriously injured by fishermen laying down nets for tuna. 

And, some products have legitimate health claims to make, such as Quaker Oats’ claim that oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol. And sure, we can accept the fact that Wrigley’s Extra sugar-free gum does not promote tooth decay.

But what happens when consumers are confronted with the more nebulous — and dubious — claims put on food products?

Unfortunately, milk cartons are not immune from this kind of sales pressure. A couple of examples are shown on this page. Several more examples can be found at the following Web site:

www.stoplabelinglies.com

Some of the claims are confusing to consumers. A consumer who sees a label that milk was “produced without the use of hormones, antibiotics or pesticides” might just wonder if other milk does contain antibiotics and pesticides.

Creating doubt in the consumer’s mind does not help promote milk sales. It just sends more consumers over to the bottled water or fruit juice aisles.

We appeal to milk processors to be more responsible in making label claims — for the good of the entire dairy industry.



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