1. CPG: Food

Your Views:  Minority Opinion?

We’ve posted a lot of commentary and emails against the Kroger-Albertsons deal, so it is important to point out that not everybody feels that way, as one MNB reader wrote:

Throughout the saga of the Kroger-Albertsons deal I’ve definitely felt I carry the minority opinion.  I work for a large CPG and engage with Kroger’s and Albertson’s competition regularly.  I strongly believe they need this deal to remain competitive and relevant.  Taking a long term view, shoppers and unions will probably be happier if they have stores to shop in and jobs to work than a declining shopping environment and layoffs. 

Yesterday we took note of a CNN report that Kellogg’s CEO Gary Pilnick is in a bit of hot water with people frustrated with how inflation has driven up food prices.

The story pointed out that Pilnick recently “said the company was advertising cereal for dinner to consumers looking for more affordable options. ‘Give chicken the night off,’ the ad’s cheery tagline reads. WK Kellogg owns cereals such as Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Corn Flakes, Raisin Bran and others.”

But, “his advice hasn’t landed well with people frustrated by spending 26% more on groceries since 2020; on social media the campaign is being seen as insensitive.”

I commented:

People on social media ought to just relax a little bit.

So, I grew up as the oldest of seven children.  My dad was a public school educator, and my mom ran the household.  My dad got paid on the first of the month, and during that first week, we tended to have steak and chicken.  As we got further into the month, there was a lot of tuna noodle casserole, and by the final days of the month, we were eating scrambled eggs or cereal for dinner.

And we were fine with that.  In fact, we were thrilled if there were sliced bananas to put atop our cereal.

Public school educators didn’t make a lot of money, especially if they had seven kids at home.  (Good Catholics, my parents.)  And so Dad would also buy cheap powdered milk and mix it with gallons of liquid milk, looking for ways to stretch both the product and a buck.

No shame in any of that.  He did what he needed to do.  And we were fine.(Though I still can’t forgive my mom for those damned canned red beets.)

I’m not sure that I would’ve built an ad campaign around it, but cereal for dinner is a perfectly acceptable option.  The fact that it is not acceptable to some people actually ignores the fact for a lot of people who struggle even when inflation is not a factor, cereal for dinner often is the best they can do.

One MNB reader responded:

Cereal for dinner is indeed a perfectly acceptable option. I think the reaction is more due to the messenger than the message. Getting advice on frugality from a CEO (who made $4 million in 2022) is a tough flake to swallow … I’m guessing he’s more likely to be dining with Thomas Keller than Tony the Tiger.

Your commentary underscores an opportunity. There are probably a lot of people looking for creative solutions to stretch their grocery budgets. Could a retailer help fill that opportunity in a meaningful, authentic way? Struggle Meals, a show my wife and I watch on the Tastemade channel (also on YouTube), is a great example of combining frugality with creativity and convenience.

Most importantly, it’s delivered authentically. From a 2021 Mashed article: “Frankie Celenza started cooking and sharing his approach to food in a really relatable way: as a college student at NYU who was fed up with the expensive meal plan and needed a more affordable option. The NYU meal plan was outrageously expensive and ran the students up to $15 dollars a meal, so he started cooking in his dorm and then in the loft where he and his friends built a kitchen, sharing the cheap, but delicious meals he made with fellow students.”

And, from MNB reader Doug Galli:

Your comments hit home with me. Came from a family of 6 kids and a grandmother that lived with us. Dad worked 2 jobs and mom was a waitress. I remember very well, my mom mixing powdered milk with liquid milk to make it go longer. Friday nights were a mixed bag of leftovers from the week because nothing was thrown away. As an Italian-American family, there was a lot of pasta, which was a pretty cheap meal. We lived and even thrived.

The post Your Views:  Minority Opinion? appeared first on MNB.

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