Friday, January 9, 2009

Tropicana's Back Door Price Increase

Orange Juice is a mainstay of the American Breakfast and Tropicana founded in 1947 with its natural wholesome goodness, has probably found its way on to your breakfast table since the day you were born.

Back during the summer I saw this AD running in the Boston area.

Seriously who eats breakfast at a kitchen? Maybe on a weekend but we are lost in a world of hurry and that seems to be what happened at Tropicana last year when they designed their new packaging.

The "new and improved" plastic easy pour container with the innovative "snap cap" is now at your local Harris Teeter.

First it is only 89 ounces versus the former screw top which was 96 ounces, this "back door" price increase is on top of the 12.6% price increase Tropicana passed along in 2007 citing rising labor and energy costs.

I don't like change, the foot print of the old square carton took up less space in my refrigerator, plus the new package looks like a laundry detergent bottle, and since it's plastic it will sit in a land fill for the next 2000 years.

But guess what happens when you follow the label instructions and "shake well for best taste" to the plastic snap cap bottle???

The lid flies open!!!

Let me tell you after years of shaking my orange juice before drinking it (yes straight out of the carton on occasion) it was quiet a shock to get a cold orange juice bath covering my kitchen and suit and tie in the process.

I'm sure what happened at Tropicana's corporate office is that some CEO fat cat said we have to increase our margins, and some poor dork in the R&D area came up with a new bottle, that looks bigger but is actually smaller. Then they figured that by using a new snap cap versus a screw cap they will also save a bunch of money because packaging is 15% of the product cost.

So before long the new product hits the shelf, and just because they can they bump the price up and additional 2%.

Which means Tropicana has bumped up their prices by nearly 22% while inflation was only 3%.

I'll stick with the old standby the 2 "Quart" size, made of coated cardboard with a secure screw top.

Don't like being a consumer victim?

Not buying the product is not enough, you need to tell your grocery store.

Send Piggly Wiggly an email at and Harris Teeter an email at

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