Monday, September 1, 2008

Missing in action -- two great products from my local HEB

Since moving to San Antonio nearly 14 years ago, I have become a big HEB Grocery fan. The employees have a positive attitude, and they do everything they can to help you find something.

My local store -- the one on 1604 and Blanco has a very responsive staff who does their best to help keep favorite items in stock.

Now, I know that I am 53 years of age, but I am a big Kellogg's Pop Tart fan. When the Battle Creek, Michigan, company recently introduced a strawberry milkshake version that for me was in the words of Tony The Tiger as "GREATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!"

So, when shopping today, I tried to find another box, only to learn that the flavor in the words of my HEB merchandising manager was a "limited addition."

Now, having worked in public relations and marketing for 30 years, I have seen an effective use of limited addition for cars or clothing. However, the food business marketing folks shouldn't use this term.

If a food item works, the company should continue to stock it. And, I would understand if sales of the product weren't that good forcing them to pull it from the shelf. Yet, from talking to my HEB manager, it sold very well.

However, if you are going to introduce a product and it sells, it should have a good distribution and sales plan so that customers can become a lifetime customer, instead of getting upset that they can't find it.

I am hoping that the folks at Kellogg's will re-evaluate their thoughts about this product. I hope that they'll look at the sales in the north part of San Antonio as a trend that would encourage further production.

I am hoping that the folks at Kellogg's aren't like the local Coca Cola bottlers. They introduced a two-liter version of Coke Zero with Vanilla. And, then they pulled it from the shelves because it wasn't selling. Even after asking my HEB store manager, the Coke vendor only sells this in the 12-ounce can. Despite repeated requests to get it, the Coke merchandising manager is not going to restock it.

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