Unit Pricing

Unit pricing means that the retailer not only displays the total price of the item but also displays the price per relevant unit of product (such as dollars per pound, fluid ounce ,and so forth). The basis for this program arose from consumers who alleged that consumers could not identify the most economical items, in a product call because of the large variety of brands, package, sizes and quantity sizes (such as jumbo, super giant, large, economy size and so on) and the poor presentation of quality information on packages. Even for better educated shoppers sometimes it is difficult to identify the most economical items.

The results of studies on usage of unit pricing have not been consistent. Most have found higher usage among higher socioeconomic categories rather than among the lower income groups who might appear really to benefit most from them. Research generally indicates a high awareness among consumers of unit pricing but much variability with regard to claimed usage and effectiveness. There are at least two reasons for such findings. First, even with access to unit price information consumers may not necessarily buy the most economical item because of such factors as brand quality differences and the convenience of smaller but more expensive sizes (such as to a single elderly buyer). Second, the method of unit price information presentation varies considerably. Some unit price programs have been very effectively introduced and run, while others meet the letter of the law without really consumers usage.

Nutritional Labeling:

With the growing concern over dietary deficiencies among the American public (particularly among young people) and the increasing demand to know what really goes into the foods we eat, manufacturers have been under pressure to increase their nutritional labeling . The Nutritional labeling and Education Act of 1990 makes labeling mandatory for all processed foods, requests voluntary labeling of seafood and commonly consumed fruits and vegetables and requires definitions for such nutritional terms as light, low fat and reduced calories. Yet the extent to which consumers are able to understand and thus use such additional information is questionable . Surveys by the US Food and Drugs Administration indicate that people do not know much about the terms on food labels but according to other research they see food packages as their most useful; source for nutrition and other information are ahead of newspapers and magazines. It has shown that some consumers would refer to additional nutritional information if provided with it and could buy more nutritious products as a result. But just how much information should be provided is not clear. One study showed that consumers preferred labels with moderate levels of nutritional information compared with those with either the least or the most information. Another study utilizing point of purchase nutrition signing in super market found that the p-o-p signs have no effect on the in-store purchase behavior of customers but significantly enhanced the stores’ image.

Who does read nutritional labels? Estimates of label reading range between 25 and 36 per cent for shoppers who always read ingredient or nutritional information on food packages. Women appear to be slightly more interested in food labels and they are somewhat more likely to believe manufacturers’ health claims than are men. Non working women, older shoppers, southerners and health conscious consumers are the groups most likely to check labels.

As with research on unit pricing most studies on nutrient labeling have found that consumer in lower socio economic categories are less likely to use such information.

Open dating:

This is the practice whereby dates are printed on Packaged food products to inform consumers of their freshners. Consumers appear to desire this information more than unit pricing or nutrient labeling. However, studies conducted on open dating indicate that only a small percentage of consumers are able to interpret the dates. Moreover the system of dating used in most programs is the one least preferred by consumers.
Source: Consumer Behavior