Supermarket Choice Overload

Shoppers like choice, and manufacturers are responding.

Back in 1975, the average supermarket carried around
9-thousand products. In 30 years, that’s swelled to nearly

Consumer Reports checked in to see if it’s leading to supermarket overload.

Buying a box of cereal is simple, right? Well, not anymore. What kind of Cheerios do you want? Honey Nut? Chocolate? Multi-Grain? Peanut Butter? There are actually 14 variations to choose from!

A trip to the supermarket can get overwhelming when many popular products come in more than a dozen varieties …

… like the 15 types of Thomas’ English Muffins!

Even vanilla is no longer … just plain vanilla. Breyers ice cream and frozen dessert comes in Half the Fat, Lactose Free, Extra Creamy, No Sugar Added, and more.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, “We found 27 versions of Crest toothpaste at one store. The company makes more than 50. Now according to a new Consumer Reports survey, consumers tell us they like choice, but 28 percent were overwhelmed dealing with that much information.”

With all this selection … watch the prices — some versions of a product can cost a lot more. Consumer Reports shoppers found this Turkey Hill Ice Cream for under three dollars, while Turkey Hill All Natural was more than twice the price.

So why all these variations?

Marks says, “New products are considered the lifeblood of the supermarket. And consider this: When one company offers two products, and another offers ten, odds are the sale’s going to go to the company that offers more.”

And if all this choice gives you a headache —you can head for the Advil. But you’ll have to choose among caplets, tablets, film-coated tablets, or liquid-gels.

All these choices are too much for some shoppers. In Consumer Reports’ survey, one out of 20 said they walked away empty-handed because it was just too hard to make a decision.

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