- First they mess with the brand name then they fiddle with the size of the jar
- Carte Noire 200g instant coffee becomes a L’Or 165g shrinkflation trick
Those of us of a certain age may remember a playground joke that went like this: when is a door not a door?
If you’ve never heard it or have forgotten the punchline, consider yourself lucky. It’s terrible. I won’t spoil it (too much). But here’s a clue: the modern equivalent of this ‘joke’ might be: when is a jar not a jar?
The answer: when it’s a sneaky trick dreamed up by product confusion consultancy Faecus and Rectavia to fool us now ex-customers into thinking we were getting a bargain. Boom boom.
Against the L’Or: one of these is an imposter. 165g is not a regulation size but was snuck on the shelf where the big jars usually go and made to look like the usual special offer.
Instant coffee comes in 100g or 200g jars. That’s been the law since the first crop of Arabica beans was put through a clever sublimation process and freeze dried.
Yeah I know that corner shops do little emergency-sized, hate-priced jar-ettes of Nescafé brown blend for people who wake up to an empty cupboard and can’t function without a fix.
But apart from that, 100 + 200 = the law. The law. Say it remember it.
Now enter Jacobs Douwe Egberts into the equation.
Zut a L’Or. On closer inspection the big jar on the shelf at Morrisons was 165g and not the expected 200g.
Jacobs Douwe Egberts unsurprisingly owns the Douwe Egberts coffee brand.
It also owns Kenco and my beloved Carte Noire. At least it did until the ‘gurus’ at my imaginary marketing consultancy convinced the Egberts to change the name to the miserable looking apostrophic hell, L’Or, which is just a noise – like err, only French.
Literally L’Or means Gold. But we’ve already got a Gold Blend in the UK. Perhaps Nescafé will now change its Gold Blend to Black Card by way of linguistic revenge.
To promote the new idiotic moniker, supermarkets took it in turns to offer 200g jars of L’Or at £4 each. Obviously, I immediately forgave the name change, stockpiled a six-month supply and peeled off the labels. Then went back for more.
But Faecus and Rectavia had another plan to squeeze out: still do the £4 offer but sneak down the size of the jars to 165g. And I got taken in.
No joke to end on – just a bitter aftertaste.
You can still find jars of 200g on offer. Poundstretcher is knocking them out at a creditable £4.49. And I’m sure others will take their turn again.
L’Or bore: there are genuine offers out there if you know where to look.
Shrinkflation is here to stay. It’s already an established way for businesses to apparently avoid passing on the increasing costs of imported products to customers as our Brexit-battered currency shows little sign of recovery. The price stays the same, you get less stuff.
But this one feels a particularly cynical ploy considering that the size of instant coffee jars has been uniform for so long and the price of it has been happily fluctuating for just as long.
Shop wisely. Tough times are in store.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST SAVINGS DEALS
Black Card: a coffee called desire.
Oh all right. When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar. Haaaa.