Mini Blizzard

Less gets more appealing for brands and consumers

Developing markets have long offered consumers mini sizes, enabling people with little disposable income to buy just enough for the moment. For example, “sachet budgeting” in the Philippines, and Coca-Cola reportedly sells 14 sizes in Mexico to suit every budget and preference. Now more food and beverage brands in the U.S. are giving customers smaller, cheaper options, a trend driven by post-recession consumers still anxious about their expenses and more attentive to portion control, as well as marketers facing rising costs and calorie disclosure requirements.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which embraced this idea at the beginning of the recession, are expanding their lower-priced options, with 99-cent alternatives to the traditional 2 litre bottle: Coca-Cola has a new 1.25-litre size, and Pepsi is launching a 1.5 litre, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. At convenience stores and gas stations, traditionally the domain of 20-ounce bottles, Pepsi is expanding availability of 16-ounce sodas, priced around 99 cents.

And Dr Pepper Snapple is replacing 2 litre bottles with 1 litres because, as an exec told the The Wall Street Journal, “There’s still that customer who has four quarters in his ashtray that he wants to scrape together and spend on a beverage.”

Small is also big among restaurant chains, as Bloomberg reports. Dairy Queen is now selling a 7-ounce Blizzard, almost half the size of its small option, while Starbucks recently introduced “petite” desserts. Restaurants are adding dessert shooters, allowing diners to choose a little shot of indulgence. And more are following the lead of TGI Friday’s, which launched Right Portion, Right Price in 2007 (offerings that cut both the serving and the cost by about two-thirds).

Smaller sizes help boost profits, since they generally offer less value, something consumers may well accept as they attempt to simply spend less each day or to Outsource Self-Control (one of JWT Intelligence’s 10 Trends for 2011) when it comes to diet.

Source: JWT Intelligence