The price remains the same, the content or the service is reduced. Sometimes drastic. Sometimes the product is slightly modified. It's called cheat pack. The Hamburg consumer advice center regularly publishes these. In the current case, consumer advocates are almost speechless.
This month, the Mondelez food company's "Tuc Bake Rolls" were awarded the title of "Deceptive Pack of the Month" by the Hamburg Consumer Advice Center (VZHH). The snack item is more than twice as expensive as the previous product "7 days Bake Rolls". With the help of a brand change, a drastic price increase of 127 percent was pushed through for virtually the same product.
This month's cheat pack of the month is a very special case. So far, hidden price increases have always affected one and the same branded product. As a rule, the content is reduced and the price remains the same or even increases. But now the food company Mondelez has come up with something new.
A number of consumers had complained to the VZHH that the "7days Bake Rolls" had been replaced by the "Tuc Bake Rolls". And almost one to one, because the varieties sea salt, garlic, onions and tomatoes
Appearance, recipes and nutritional values of the various bake rolls are virtually identical for all varieties. Apart from the fact that the "new" bake rolls have a slightly lower salt content. The nutritional values for fat, saturated fat, sugar and protein, on the other hand, are identical. The list of ingredients is also unchanged. Even the colors for the branding have been adopted from the old brand.
Retailer Rewe sells the "Tuc Bake Rolls" for 1.89 euros per 150 gram pack; the "7days Bake Rolls" still cost 1.39 euros in the 250 gram bag. So the price of the snack product increases by 127 percent. But without the benevolence of retailers, such a price increase would not be possible. Consumer advocates know at least from Rewe that the bake rolls from 7days were simply replaced by those from Tuc. A number of consumers reported this. It is not yet clear whether other supermarkets and discounters will follow suit.
Both Mondelez and Rewe usually respond to specific questions from the VZHH about this deceptive package with generalities, but without any valid information. Mondelez did not provide any information about the horrendous price increase, the reduced filling quantity and the recommended retail price (RRP). Between the lines, the company at least confirms that bread chips in Germany will only be available under the Tuc brand in the future:
"The 7 Days brand will continue to exist. However, Mondelēz International has decided to bundle snacking competencies under established brands. That is why we are selling salty snacks such as bread chips in Germany under our Tuc cracker brand."
The situation is similar at Rewe. There, too, questions were asked about the extreme price increase and the company's role in it.
"We see it as our task to curb rising prices in the interest of our customers - where possible. But we can neither undo the kind of inflation we are currently experiencing nor bear it alone. Of course, the rising costs (producer prices as well as our own Costs) also noticeable for us - but this year the Rewe Group has already invested a mid three-digit million amount in Germany alone in order to keep the prices for customers as stable as possible."
Consumers often have to be annoyed about hidden price increases. Assuming they discover them too. The VZHH offers the opportunity to draw attention to products with which customers are deceived in this way (less content for the same price). She then makes these products public and chooses them the deceptive pack of the month and of the year.