Tostidos, for it’s part, says its products actually are in fact designed to match. Frito-Lay spokesperson Chris Kuehenmeister points to it’s new Cantina line as proof. The thin and crispy tortilla chips are designed to pair with the brand’s chipotle restaurant style salsa, while its thicker, traditional chip was baked especially for the brand’s roasted garlic chunky salsa.
“I hope people enjoy them together,” Kuehenmeister says. “We’re trying to create the best flavor experience.”
But the researchers say the experience involves actually knowing that brands match and when serving guests this summer — when most of us dump chips into the bowl, put buns and burgers on a platter and ice cream in dishes — it’s lost entirely. What you likely have instead is a table topped with full-priced items — not a comparable store brand or sale selection — even if you stop at the supermarket’s display.
Stores know we buy more chips and beer when they’re paired together, says Pat Fitzpatrick, president of Atlanta Retail Consulting.
“It increases sales because you don’t forget them,” Fitzpatrick says. “There’s a lot of psychology to placement of items in the market.”
That’s why when considering displayed items, you should also check out the larger selection from the aisle, says Andrea Woroch, a consumer expert who contributes to couponsherpa.com. Because even if those hamburger buns are on sale it might not be the best sale. And don’t forget to look not only at prices but also at price-per-unit, which is more telling, she says.
“There are so many tactics making a consumer think you need this product to go with that product,” Woroch says. “You see it online also — when the site shows you ‘people who bought this also bought …’ But it’s a marketing tactic and nothing more.”
This is one of an occasional series of columns by Miamian Brett Graff, a former U.S. government economist who writes about how economic forces are affecting real people.