UPDATE 18th June '08 - see end of post
You are looking at the packaging of the most divine latte known to tastebuds. I've been buying the Chilla brand for several years. I gave it a break for a bit and then last week bought two new packets, pleasantly surprised to see that it still retails at about R 42 a bag.
I've never done (until today) the math on how many lattes one gets out of the packet, but even with my truly excessive and over-generous portions of the powder, you'd get out 8 at least, really full-bodied, to daah-for as the Kugels would say, drinks.
Working out at roughly R 5 an extremely satisfying beverage, that's still only half the price of a halfway-decent decaf cappuccino. So, good value in any terms.
I've always joked that the Chilla manufacturers have included an addictive substance in the formulation, because once tried, it will take intensive therapy to wean you from it.
Here's my reason for this posting though: being the tres observant individual that I am, the first thing I noticed when cutting open the foil bag at home, was that it's lost weight. Perceptibly so. I flipped the package over and saw 250 grams as the given weight on the rear. But even my Alzheimer's-befogged memory recalled 300 grams, previously. Howzat for brilliant recall? At a subliminal level too.
I looked closely and noticed that a little 250 gram sticker very neatly covered the original, printed-on-pack 300 gram legend. And that made me feel uncomfortable. If every manufacturer or importer appeared to maintain the same price, but surreptitiously removed (in this case 50 grams) of the contents in order not to 'up the price', that would herald an unacceptable marketing trend.
I called the Chilla Beverage company and spoke to their very helpful Kevin Lipschitz. Kevin assured me that there was no intention or attempt by Chillas to be dishonest, but he understood that the manner in which the price retention had been handled, could be construed as unacceptable.
This is a premium product. It's never going to be aimed at (or be affordable to) the mass market. So why not use more inventive marketing? A flash on the pack, reading 'still less than half the price of a coffee-shop cappucino' or something like that? But give me the choice. To buy or not to buy. In my marketing and advertising-trained mind, the way this was handled has potential to do damage to a marvellous brand. Guys - go revisit your future pricing strategy and how you implement it, is my suggestion.
And hey, I'll continue drinking Chillas. I'll just keep checking to see if the pack heads for anorexia! ;-)
Update 18th June '08: Hmm. Pack hasn't gone anorexic. Price remains the same, but the overlay 250 gram sticker is gone and the 300 grams of content is visible again. So why did I pay the same R 42 odd for the 250 gram pack? Not an OK explanation in my opinion.... anyone from Chilla Beverage Company care to comment?