PepsiCo, owner of the Tropicana line of juice products, has found a new way to squeeze revenue from the orange branch of their family tree. Leveraging consumer’s misplaced fixation on low-calorie, low-sugar alternatives, Tropicana has been selling Trop50, a juice with “50% less sugar and calories.”
This doesn’t sound like an unreasonable idea until you realize what this offering is – your same cup of juice, just in a watered-down version. Yes, the key addition here is water. Naturally, Tropicana is not decreasing the cost for the beverage, instead imposing an apparent “convenience fee” for diluting your drink.
Trop50 has been around since 2009, but people are only talking about it now because it is actually selling – and at an increasing rate.
I understand that companies need to turn a profit. What I don’t understand is why companies have to try and deceive consumers to do it. By selling a product under the guise of a “healthy alternative,” when really they are just trying to get someone to buy a container of watered-down juice for the same price as the regular stuff – it is crossing a line in my book. It is hard enough to make sensible decisions in the grocery aisle without all of the dubious labeling. Tropicana is certainly not the only company doing this, but few are as blatant.
Besides this scam making the brand look bad, the popularity of the juice isn’t putting consumers in a good light – either they know their juice is watered-down, and are just too lazy to do it for themselves, or they don’t know, and have fallen for the scam. Which is worse?
Regardless, I think the following quote from PepsiCo Global Beverages Chief Massimo D’Amore says it all: “We have lost perspective here on the primary reason we are in business, which is to make money.”
Sounds pretty customer-friendly to me.
H/t to Business Week for the scoop.