Managing Pricing and Packaging Strategies in the Retail Food Sector – Effects on Single Consumers
Posted: 10 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 10, 2011
Anecdotal evidence shows that retailers’ strategic pricing, packaging and marketing management practices may affect the buying and consumption behavior of the single consumer in retailing. Depending on the stage of the consumer’s lifecycle and to a certain extent the voluntary or involuntary lifestyle of the consumer we argue that the single consumer is severely disadvantaged in terms of equitable opportunity for purchasing food products by choice, by size, and by price. Evidence also suggests that unless retailers change their current practices the gap in buying and consumption asymmetry for the single consumer may never be closed. This paper investigates the ethical behavior of retailers in strategic pricing, packaging and marketing practices in the United States. The main purpose of the study is to identify ethical behavior, both strategic and tactical; of retailers in the promotion and sale of products whose price and or product size asymmetry causes disadvantages to single consumers. The results of the investigation are to be used to raise awareness for the single consumer and to provide an insight for all stakeholders about retail pricing practices. A purposive sample of 9 major retail food outlets both chain operated and privately owned in selected cities in Southern and Northern California were chosen for the study. We employ a qualitative research approach based on desk and field work with non-intrusive observation and mystery shopping techniques. The research is based on the ethics of packaging, pricing, and marketing theory and best practice. The results will benefit all single consumers at any life stage and of any lifestyle across the country.
Keywords: asymmetric pricing, cost adjustment, retail pricing, deceptive packaging, deceptive pricing, price discrimination, collusion in retailing, consumer price perception, unfair pricing, public interest
JEL Classification: L11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation