Saturday, July 2, 2011

Morning Star Farms/Packaging

Packaging, transportation and receiving symbol...
I sometimes refer to myself as a pescatarian when it comes to my eating preferences. What this means is that I occasionally eat fish products but am otherwise vegetarian. I have my reasons for this and I'm absolutely not here to lecture on the topic of personal food choices. I have no interest in doing that in person and even less so on line.

What I am here to do is chastise a company that makes a product I otherwise like for bad and wasteful packaging. The company in question is Morning Star Farms. The product is their Veggie Sausage Patties. The box is about eight by four by one inches. The patties inside the box are sealed in some kind of wax paper like material in pairs. They are not cheap. Around $4.50 or so per box without tax here in the S.F. Bay area. I don't have an issue with the cost. Nobody is forcing me to buy the product and clearly enough volume is being sold to make it worth keeping it on shelves.

My complaint is that inside that box you get six sausage patties. I don't have any on hand right now but they are about a third of an inch thick and have a diameter of about two and a half inches. Again, cost is not the issue here. The issue is that the box is easily twice as large as it needs to be to hold what is inside. Off hand I can only think of one reason for this and that is to try to give customers a false impression that they are getting more for their money. I suppose it could be that they can't afford to buy a packaging machine that does a smaller size but that seems unlikely since Morning Star Farms is owned by Kellog.

That excessive packaging requires twice the material and twice the space when shipping. This is not friendly to the environment nor their bottom line and while I'm not complaining about the price of this product I do object to paying even the few extra pennies that all that extra material ends up costing.

Luckily for me I can occasionally find the veggie sausage patties at Costco in a much larger box that is blissfully free of excessive empty space. The per patty cost is also significantly lower which is a nice bonus.

It's been a long time since I had real sausage patties but I've been told by people with more recent experience that these do a reasonably good impersonation of the real thing. It's amazing what can be done with textured vegetable protein these days.

I guess my bottom line here is charge me double the price if you have to in order to fill the box, but don't ask me to pay for a bunch of empty space.

Image via Wikipedia
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  1. Not being able to buy a packaging machine that was capable of larger packages seems pretty comical to me. While I think the assumption of (bigger = more) is the most likely reason I did have another thought on why a company might do this; they want the picture of there product and logo to be bigger on the store shelf. How big is there competitors packaging?

  2. That's a good point, I believe their box is about the same size. I don't think their competitors boxes are half or more empty though. It may be a combination of wanting to present the same form factor as their competition while not being too far out of line price wise.