Monday, December 10, 2012

Business Observations: People in Mexico don't like pear juice...

Pear juice is bad business for HEB, but a good deal for me...Is one of the possible reasons why I was able to buy 7 liters of organic pear juice at a nearby grocery store (HEB) for just 104.3 MXP ($1 to 12.96 Mexican Pesos, Total = $8.05).  Out of curiosity I'm going to explore alternate explanations for my good fortune and figure out whether it makes good business sense to sell pear juice in Mexico.  Before I start, I'm going to provide some background information

While bottles of this type of juice regularly cost anywhere from 40-75 MXP  I was able to find them the price of 14.9 MXP each, that's a discount of between 62.75% and 80.13%!  Ouch; that's bad for HEB's business, good for my daily servings of fruit.

Of course I looked for the tell-tale reasons to discount.  The expiration date is far in the future, the packaging is immaculate, the brand is reputable, and most importantly it tastes great!  I suppose I should take a deeper look at the product.

[caption id="attachment_288" align="aligncenter" width="222"] Central Market Organics Pear Juice information from[/caption]

The label says it's 100% fruit juice...without any sweeteners, but  29 grams of sugar per serving seems like a lot of sugar per serving.  Let's check how much sugar a normal pear has.

[caption id="attachment_297" align="aligncenter" width="348"]Pear Nutrition Label Nutritional information from[/caption]

Theory 1 - Nutrition

This was a surprise to me.  16.3 grams of sugar per pear.  If you figure one serving of juice has two pears in it, then the juice doesn't seem too bad, but this brings me to possibility one!

I was alarmed to find that the pear juice had 23 grams of sugar per serving, and even more so to find that orange juice had 22 grams of sugar per serving (Tropicana Pure Premium)!

I've purchased orange juice weekly for quite some time, but clearly I never realized how much sugar was in it!  Perhaps other people have had this same experience. I theorize that:
If a consumer purchases or uses the same product repeatedly, he begins to no longer pay attention to the nutritional values or the ingredients.  This makes it more difficult to switch products, because when he does look at a new item, he has nothing to compare it with.

Theory 2 - Placement

Location of organic foods in HEBNutritional factors may have been the cause of the discounts, but it's just as likely to have been the placement of the juice.  At the HEB in question, there are two sections that have organic foods in them.  Section 1 is a series of closely packed aisles and section 2 is on the outside of an aisle.

Section 1 is much more difficult to navigate than section 2, but it was in section 1 that I originally saw the pear juice at it's full priced glory, and on a shelf next to the floor.  Here the juice was hard to find to find, and therefore, difficult to buy.

Theory 3 - Tastes

Finally I am going to return to the title of this post.  There is the chance that pair juice doesn't agree with Mexico's tastes.  From my observations at HEB, pears have a relatively small space reserved to them in the produce section.  This could hint that there is relatively low demand for pears.

Alternatively, the lack of demand for both pears and pear juice could be explained by the quality of the pears.  It's understandable that a person wouldn't buy pear juice if he ate sub-par pears (he'd think the juice would taste bad just like the fruit).  In my time of buying groceries from HEB I haven't found one pair that had a pleasant taste even after letting them ripen.

Of course all of this is speculation, my luck could all be due to chance or the specifics conditions at the HEB I frequent.  But, it certainly is fun to speculate about.   After reading this article my friend Juan informed me that he loves pear juice, so maybe I should just count myself lucky for finding the deal first!

If you have any other ideas you'd like to pitch in, or would like to say why one of mine is wrong, feel free to post in the comments sections! Til next time.

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