Sunday, August 15, 2010

Does "tingi" or plastic sachet packaging really benefit the Filipino masses?

When I was growing up in the seventies, my mother used to ask me to go to the corner store to buy 'tingi' or a portion of suka (vinegar), toyo (soy sauce), or paminta (pepper).  These portions were usually sold by 'takal' -- which can be as large as one glass or as small as an espresso cup.  In order to transport these portions from the store to the house, I usually had to bring a container -- which could be an empty bottle of whatever it was I was buying, like an empty vinegar bottle if I was buying vinegar.

These days, you no longer have to bring your own container to the corner store because you can now buy small portions of anything that you need in neat little plastic sachets.

Marketers in the Philippines touted this kind of packaging (tingi packaging) as a commercial success a couple years back.  It earned billions and billions of pesos a year, earning producers of products in tingi packaging huge profits.

It seemed like a great deal.

Low income consumers could now buy high quality products, which they previously couldn't afford.  Plus, big companies like Unilever, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, etcetera could now associate themselves with the 'masa' or masses -- which is a very lucrative market because of their sheer number.

Now, rather say that they are high quality brands, big multinational companies come up with advertising that present their products as a big help to housewives.  They claim that their products are 'mas matipid' (costs less and is more effective), thereby helping housewives budget their money better.

But are sachets really more matipid?

Another blogger tried to figure it out:
http://bruisedleaf.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/you-know-youre-in-the-philippines-if-youre-swimming-in-sachets/ 
And here’s a mystery for you: When you buy a sachet of this and that, and a sachet of everything else day after day, aren’t you paying more for packaging than the product it contains? Don’t products cost less per unit weight or volume when bought in larger quantities?
Wow. A poor sweatshop laborer, who could only afford small quantities of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and whatever, might be spending more money on the same quantity of product that a middle class office worker buys, only because the former buys them in small quantities all the time.
Now, because of the frequency and volume of sales, this type of marketing has inevitably produced tons of plastic waste.

This wouldn't be a problem if most Filipinos weren't the litter bugs that they are and if the government's garbage collection and recycling systems (if there is one) was a paragon of efficiency.

Sadly, most Filipinos are inveterate litterbugs and the garbage collection system (or what passes for it) isn't at all that effective.

In a previous post, we tried figuring just how much plastic waste "tingi" packaging generates:


http://pinoybiz.blogspot.com/2010/08/tax-to-curb-plastic-sachets-and-plastic.html 
Giant consumer goods manufacturer Unilever claims that every day, it sells 160 million products.  Assuming that the sales volume of the other manufacturing giants, Procter & Gamble and Nestle is in the vicinity of Unilever’s, that would be some 500 million products sold daily.
Let’s peg a conservative estimate that 10 percent of all products sold are in plastic sachets, then that’s 50 million.  That’s 50 million plastic sachets and pouches that will eventually find its way to our oceans, waterways, landfills and drainage systems ready to clog the free flow of water and trigger floods or kill marine wildlife.
But it is really reasonable to think that of the 500 million products sold daily by the three giants, only 10 percent of are in tiny plastic sachets?


Another blogger makes a different estimate:

http://pasigriveravenger.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/saw-dingdong-dantes-and-angel-locsin-endorse-a-product-then-picture-this-people/

According to Unilever’s vice president for corporate planning Chito Macapagal, 70% of Unilever Philippines 2007 sales is from the sachet market. That’s 70% of 30 billion pesos, or 21 billion pesos three years ago. That’s nine zeroes following 21. The company was enjoying double digit growth rate from the previous year, so expect that by now those numbers are now not just big, but big big.
Can you picture how many sachets 21 billion pesos’ worth of Unilever products are? Well, let’s see. Which brands of theirs have sachet variants? Sunsilk, Creamsilk, Rexona, Clear, Knorr, Lady’s Choice, Close-Up, Best Foods, and Vaseline come to mind. 
Moving on, 21 billion pesos in sachets, if say, the average price for any given sachet were 20 pesos conservatively (I say conservatively because first, most of those mentioned cost less than 20 pesos, and second, 21 billion pesos in Unilever’s sales is at supplier-to-distributor prices, which are lower than retail), would be equivalent to 1,050 million sachets. If a given sachet has 10mL of product inside, it’s like they’re producing- no, selling at least one Olympic size swimming pool’s worth of product every 3 months. That doesn’t sound like much, but you could shampoo all 90 million Filipinos 20 times over with that much shampoo, if it were all shampoo.
What’s difficult to imagine is the sheer quantity of packaging material that went into the making of all those sachets. If 1,050 million sachets were sold, then the waste would be 1,050 million multiplied twice to include front and back of the sachet, times 3 inches by 4 inches (I took an estimate of a Clear shampoo sachet), which equals 25,200 million square inches. This is the equivalent of about 16.26 square kilometers worth of sachet or wrapper material. Now, before you do take the initiative to shoot me for driving you nuts with numbers, picture this: 16.26 square kilometers of sachet is enough to cover all of Ilog Pasig.
Now, with this in mind, can you imagine just how much of this plastic packaging garbage ends up BLOCKING storm drains and flood ways?

Take a look at this picture:


Actually, you don't have to look at an estero like this to figure out just how much plastic garbage we generate.  If you pass by a flooded street, chances are, there's plastic garbage blocking the street's storm drains.

If you remember the Ondoy floods, here's a picture that shows proof of what partly caused it.

Plastic packaging partly to blame for Ondoy floods.

What you see in this picture is a chicken wire fence in Provident Village Marikina that acted like a net.

I had a chance to personally sift through this wall of plastic garbage, and I spotted plastic grocery bags from SM (from SM Marikina and SM Riverbanks), Downy wrappers, Surf wrappers, assorted shampoo sachets, etcetera.

With that said, one way of figuring what sachets really cost the average, masa consumer is to factor in the following:

- lost man hours and income because one cannot get to work because of floods caused by plastic sachets
- lost man hours and income because one got sick of dengue and other diseases caused by floods and stagnant water
- the cost of medicine and hospital treatment
- the cost of damaged property due to floods
- the cost of replacing or repairing damaged property due to floods
- the cost of fuel wasted due to traffic caused by floods

If you add all that up and add it to the cost of products in plastic packaging, you'd probably rack up a figure in the billions of pesos.

20 comments:

Roch said...

It's actually the companies' who are trying to cater the filipino masses' need.

In fact, it's more profitable to sell in bulk for business owners while it's much cheaper for consumers to buy in bulk.

the consumers doesnt really analyze much... I guess they don't have the money to buy the bigger bottles. If only they could afford it, they could have gotten it.

Hence, the solution is still for us to resolve poverty. Then lifestyle can be changed.

Admin said...

Ghana is a poor country, perhaps poorer than the Philippines.

About 28% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

One of Ghana's problems is plastic pollution and one of the solutions proposed was to impose a weighted polluters tax on products in plastic containers.

The idea was to reduce the demand and use of plastic containers while at the same time, raise money for the efficient and effective disposal of this solid waste.

Resolving poverty first before taking on plastic pollution is just another way of saying that multinational companies aren't willing to share the cost of cleaning up after the mess they create.

Anonymous said...

While some of your points are valid, you are forgetting one very crucial point: the "masa" who buy "tingi-tingi" buy sachets not because they think it's more matipid, but because it's all they can afford.

Most of them earn their income on a daily or weekly basis. Therefore it makes zero sense for them to spend about 50% of their daily 200 PHP income on a 100 ml bottle of shampoo and 400gms of detergent. Mind you, they still have to buy food, other household items, etc. For a vast majority of the poor, it is a choice between a week's supply of shampoo and food in their bellies. And although you could argue that they won't be buying that much shampoo and detergent everyday, it also must be pointed out that (1) 200 PHP per day is already a very inflated amount and (2) that amount is not guaranteed at all for most of our impoverished countrymen.

So, no, they don't buy "tingi" packaging because it benefits them. They buy it because they have no other choice.

Paul Farol said...

Wow! It's so good that you are championing the right of the masses to affordable products.

But, consider if you will the accumulated cost of the packaging your beloved masa ends up paying for.

I don't think you will argue against the fact that the cost of packaging for a 100ml bottle of shampoo is lower or equal to the cost of packaging for 10 sachets of 10ml of shampoo.

Another thing you have to factor in is the cost of cleaning up and disposing of the sachets after it has been used.

Another thing you have to consider is the cost of the floods and the cost of the treatment of diseases brought about by poor drainage.

That what a sachet of shampoo really costs and guess who is paying for all that?

It's the taxpayer, not the company that doesn't clean up after its waste packaging.

Anonymous said...

You grossly misunderstand me, Mr. Farol. In my previous comment, I never once said or implied that the sachet economy does not have its negative impact on the environment. I never once disputed that it contributes (but cannot be singlehandedly blamed) for floods, the clogging of our waterways and the consequent diseases and cleanups that it causes.

What I was trying to explain was that "my beloved masa" (as you so condescendingly termed them), rarely ever have a choice but to buy their needs in these small amounts. Did I deny that this contributes to the pollution problem? No. Did I say it doesn't cause millions of pesos to clean up? No.

In fact, I agree with most of what you are saying. All I am saying is that the sachet economy exists because of the low disposable income of the poor. There is an actual necessity for these products to be sold in small amounts because this is the only way "the average masa consumer" will be able to afford shampoo, soap, detergent, etc. Yes, it causes a lot of environmental problems, sickness, traffic and all the other things you mentioned. But, sadly, that is hardly the priority of someone whose family lives on less than 200 PHP a day and don't know where their next meal will come from.

On a side note, your comment page says, "Buzz, but be polite" and I have complied. You, on the other hand, replied to me with condescension and sarcasm. I hope you extend the same courtesy to you commenters as they do you.

Paul Farol said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I am sorry that you took my attempt at humor as "condescension and sarcasm".

Perhaps I could have phrased my response in a more respectful and more polite manner.

I do sincerely beg your pardon if what I have to say chafes at your rather sensitive disposition even further, I wish to convey a couple other points which responds directly to your claim that the poor have no recourse or options when it comes to buying products packaged in sachets.

They do have options apart from buying products in sachets but nothing in the mass media tells them about it and encourages them to make use of these options.

One option is for several people in a household to split the cost of a bottle of shampoo or a 400 gram package of detergent (as of is the case).

Your example, i.e. one person earning 200 pesos a day, as I understand it, appears to propose that only one person would buy an entire bottle of shampoo or package of detergent.

This example is simply false, because nothing really prevents three or four people can pool their money together to buy a bottle or package of product.

I have to check it, but I think the average household size for the entire Philippines is around three or four people.

The thing is I suspect companies who market products in flexible packaging or sachet products put a lot of advertising money into the coffers of mass media establishments.

One large multinational corporation in fact was identified last year as the biggest advertiser in terms of the money it poured into advertising in 2009.

With the way things are with mass media, as a business, these establishments will certainly squelch any information that points to the environmental impact of the consumer products whose advertisements they carry and from which they derive advertising revenues.

Paul Farol said...

Now, with that said, the point of this blog is to say exactly what is not being said about products in flexible packaging.

Last year I was lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to meet and talk with someone whom people refer to as the 'father of sachet product marketing in the Philippines' and I think you know him. ;-)

In our discussion, he pointed to a study conducted by his company on the environmental impact of flexible packaging or sachet packaging.

Guess what?

He said that the flexible packaging or sachet packaging waste that reached the landfills in Metro Manila (based on their sample) accounted only for 5% of the total solid waste.

My immediate reaction (which I kept to myself, just to be polite) was that he failed to cite a parallel independent study of the environmental impact on sachet packaging.

Moreover, the data he presented was only for waste materials delivered by dump trucks to landfills.

To assume that this really represents the total waste generated by an entire population in a given geographic area, one would have to assume that the garbage collection efficiency is at 100%.

The truth is that the garbage collection rate in most urban areas in the Philippines is hardly at 100%.

With that being the case, you have to assume that a fair amount of trash litters the streets and waterways.

You also have to consider that most dump trucks that haul trash out to landfills have open beds. It is not unlikely that some of the trash that it hauls, especially the lighter material, flies off the bed and onto the street.

Barges that haul trash over bodies of water also spill garbage.

If that is the case, then perhaps to get a fuller picture, we have to account for how much trash doesn't get collected and its composition.

To say, that on the basis of one study commissioned and conducted by a multinational corporation, that plastic sachet packaging accounts for only a small percentage of the total plastics found in garbage dumps is MISLEADING.

In fact, the person I talked with cited a study which pictured plastics together with organic wastes, thereby coming up with a smaller figure for plastic sachets vs other types of solid waste.

One more thing that I gathered from the meeting with the "father of plastic sachet marketing" is that there is basically NO LAW that specifically obliges them to clean up the plastic pollution they generate.

Paul Farol said...

With that being the case, you have to assume that a fair amount of trash litters the streets and waterways.

You also have to consider that most dump trucks that haul trash out to landfills have open beds. It is not unlikely that some of the trash that it hauls, especially the lighter material, flies off the bed and onto the street.

Barges that haul trash over bodies of water also spill garbage.

If that is the case, then perhaps to get a fuller picture, we have to account for how much trash doesn't get collected and its composition.

To say, that on the basis of one study commissioned and conducted by a multinational corporation, that plastic sachet packaging accounts for only a small percentage of the total plastics found in garbage dumps is MISLEADING.

In fact, the person I talked with cited a study which pictured plastics together with organic wastes, thereby coming up with a smaller figure for plastic sachets vs other types of solid waste.

One more thing that I gathered from the meeting with the "father of plastic sachet marketing" is that there is basically NO LAW that specifically obliges them to clean up the plastic pollution they generate.

Anonymous said...

Again, you misunderstand me, Mr. Farol. The 200PHP I quoted was the income of an ENTIRE family, not just of one person in the household (“that is hardly the priority of someone whose FAMILY lives on less than 200 PHP a day"). This is in line with the NCSB figures that for a family of five to meet their most basic food and non-food needs, the combined monthly income should be 6,195 PHP. It is the 26.9 % percent of our population that live on this income or below that I was referring to in my comments. And what recourse do THEY have?

And again, I must emphasize, that I agree with most of what you’re saying. True, there is a need to educate consumers as to the real costs of the sachet economy. True, as well, that companies need to find ways of serving the needs of the poorest Filipino consumers that are not as harmful to the environment (however, that could be said for ALL industries, not just for the makers of shampoo, detergent, etc.). I 100% agree that there needs to be change. But the burden of change cannot be on the poor, who do not buy the sachets out of habit or because they are uneducated on the effects of the sachets on the environment. Even if they are informed of the adverse of effects of their purchasing decisions, they are unable to change they ways because, simply put, they cannot afford to.

At the risk of stirring up another intense debate, I will say that I don’t agree that media outlets do not report on the real costs of the sachet economy just because of the advertising income they generate from these companies. As a whole, the environment has never been a focus for mainstream media. Unfortunately, there is hardly any hard data and numbers (that I know of) that could back up any sort of exposé on the subject, unless of course they fund the research themselves.

I also think that trying to pass a law where companies would be required to clean up the messes resulting from their packaging materials is, unfortunately, a lost cause. I am not aware of any country that has such a law, and even if there was, I bet it would be some ultra-modern, highly-enlightened first world nation that was able to pull it off. At the current state of things in our country, that’s unlikely to happen. And from a practicality point of view, it seems hard to execute as well. A better approach would be to charge a levy on products using unrecyclable materials. But again, who knows when something like that could be pulled off here.

Paul Farol said...

I really do appreciate the time and effort that you are taking in responding to this comment thread.

I do hope that in 'debating' this issue with me, others who will read these comments can also learn of other points of view and come away with a better understanding of the situation.

So, do please bear with me.

I admit, I must have misread your example about the 200 pesos per day income.

For now, let's say that the NSCB data is correct without going into how it was gathered, analyzed, and interpreted.

The data you cited describes an extreme type of poverty in the Philippines and perhaps in such an extreme case, I would assume that these people would prioritize food over hygiene.

It would therefore be more probable that a small percentage of the people in extreme poverty would actually use shampoo, soap, or detergents as much as those who are better off. (I suspect there might be NSCB data that will support this.)

Therefore, I think, it would be a good idea to check the assumption that led you to cite them as an example of people who have no choice but to use products in plastic sachets. Since only a small percentage of this extremely poor actually have the capacity to buy even the smallest portion.

At 200 pesos for an entire family of five people, it would be very unlikely that they'd pay 5 pesos for a sachet of shampoo that they'll split amongst themselves.

I think it would be those who are not in extreme poverty who would most likely be using plastic sachet products.

Perhaps AGB Nielsen data can be found to support this and if indeed it can be found, your claim of the extreme poor having no choice but to buy plastic sachet products might be disproven.

Regarding the media and environmental reporting... Newspapers have sections on the environment and TV Networks have public affairs shows devoted to discussing environmental issues. But these sections and shows do not point to problems with multinational companies who are heavy advertisers whenever a environmental problem arises.

Re environmental laws requiring companies to clean up the pollution they create...

Please do look up "polluter pays principle" which was adopted by the European Union. Look up the case of Ghana Plastic Pollution and the Indian SC decision requiring Guthka to clean up the plastic sachet pollution their products create.

In the case of Ghana, a proposal in line with the EU Polluter Pays Principle to levy taxes on companies that sell products in plastic packaging did not prosper largely due to the efforts of the plastic manufacturers themselves.

The case of Guthka or Gutka in New Delhi India (which although is a big economy, still has a lot of poor people) the products were banned.

See
http://money.oneindia.in/news/2010/12/08/gutkha-plastic-pouch.html

While lifting the ban on Gutkha products in Rajasthan the Supreme Court however ordered ban on use of plastic as a packaging material for Gutkha and Pan Masala products. The order has to be implemented before 1st March 2011. Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam also assured the court that the government through National Institute of Public Heath will conduct a survey and research to understand health and environment implications of usage of plastic pouches for Gutkha and also the physical composition of the plastic used.

Paul Farol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Farol said...

I think it would be those who are not in extreme poverty who would most likely be using plastic sachet products.

Perhaps AGB Nielsen data can be found to support this and if indeed it can be found, your claim of the extreme poor having no choice but to buy plastic sachet products might be disproven.

Regarding the media and environmental reporting... Newspapers have sections on the environment and TV Networks have public affairs shows devoted to discussing environmental issues. But these sections and shows do not point to problems with multinational companies who are heavy advertisers whenever a environmental problem arises.

Re environmental laws requiring companies to clean up the pollution they create...

Please do look up "polluter pays principle" which was adopted by the European Union. Look up the case of Ghana Plastic Pollution and the Indian SC decision requiring Guthka to clean up the plastic sachet pollution their products create.

In the case of Ghana, a proposal in line with the EU Polluter Pays Principle to levy taxes on companies that sell products in plastic packaging did not prosper largely due to the efforts of the plastic manufacturers themselves.

The case of Guthka or Gutka in New Delhi India (which although is a big economy, still has a lot of poor people) the products were banned.

See
http://money.oneindia.in/news/2010/12/08/gutkha-plastic-pouch.html

While lifting the ban on Gutkha products in Rajasthan the Supreme Court however ordered ban on use of plastic as a packaging material for Gutkha and Pan Masala products. The order has to be implemented before 1st March 2011. Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam also assured the court that the government through National Institute of Public Heath will conduct a survey and research to understand health and environment implications of usage of plastic pouches for Gutkha and also the physical composition of the plastic used.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected on the “polluters pay” legislation. But I still stand by my previous statement that it will take a long time before similar legislation will be passed in our country. We can’t even pass the bill on the tax on plastic bags quickly enough. So I’m not holding my breath for that one. In any case, we agree that there is a need for such legislation or anything that will discourage the use of such wasteful packaging, so I’ll stop here.

But what I still can’t get over is how you still refuse to believe that it is the poor who are buying sachets. It’s no coincidence that sachets are sold as regular SKUs only in third world countries: India, Philippines, etc. In the developed world, such sizes are only available as samples, if any at all. In countries like the US, they don’t even have 90ml bottles, the smallest bottle shampoo we have in the Philippines.

Your refusal to believe that it is the lower class who buys sachets astounds me. The vast majority of end-consumer purchases of sachets happen in sari-sari stores, wet markets and not in the supermarkets that the middle to upper class frequent. I’m not saying, of course, that only the poor buy sachets, but it is safe to say that the majority is purchased by the low-income families. I could give you data to back this up, but unfortunately, the data is not mine to divulge.

to be cont'd...

Anonymous said...

I can divulge, however, that I know for a fact that more than 70% of sachets users split the sachets into 2 or more uses. So it is very likely that a family of five can all shampoo their hair with just one or two sachets per day. And before you argue that by consuming only one sachet per day, then the waste can’t possibly be caused by only the poor (who are the ones with the least access to proper garbage disposal), then let’s do a simple computation. Assuming 90M Filipinos, that would be 18M families (average of five members), 4.5M (let’s say 25% for ease of computation) of them living under the poverty threshold, that would mean 4.5M sachets per day at one sachet per family. Even if we have a very generous allowance for error of 20%, that’s still 3.6M sachets per day. And that’s a very conservative estimate given that we haven’t considered those above the poverty threshold but are still barely scraping by.

I also can’t get past how you again, misunderstood me. As I already mentioned, 26.9 % of families (32.9 % of individuals) live BELOW the poverty threshold. Meaning these families already live with LESS than 200PHP per day for five people. Meaning, also, that 200PHP a day is not actually the EXTREME of poverty, but the upper limit of it.

I have already said all I can say. If I still haven’t convinced you that the sachet economy was born out of necessity to meet the needs of the poor, then I never will. You seem determined to believe that sachets were a mere marketing scheme cooked up by some money hungry corporate honcho rather than face the fact that the underlying cause is crippling poverty, and there’s not much I can do about that.

Paul Farol said...

Forgive me, but I was smiling as I read your last two comments.

It seems we are discussing the hygiene habits of extremely poor people.

Now, just like you, I can tell you for a fact that I am an expert on the hygiene habits of poor people.

I live in the middle of poor-ville in an area of Manila that is like Tondo in the 1950's and just a few houses away from me are people who are extremely poor.

Just now, as I was buying this morning's pandesal, I chanced upon a neighbor of mine taking a bath on the sidewalk near a deep water well or poso.

Now, this guy I am referring to is the neighborhood garbage collector. He gets 100 pesos a month from each household in our neighborhood and he has about 20 or 30 households that he collects money from. So in a month, he probably gets around 2,000 to 3,000 pesos, easy.

Being my usual self, I greeted him with the usual pleasantries and the greetings lasted long enough me to survey what he was using to clean himself up.

Guess what? He was using a bar of soap on his hair. In other words, he wasn't using shampoo.

Now, there are other poor people in poorville and some are actually poorer than Manong Garbage collector -- who happens to live in a shack constructed on a bangketa.

Thing is, I pass by their looban everyday and at various times of days throughout the year, I see them bathing on the bangketa. Of the times that I can remember, they normally just had a bar of soap with them.

Paul Farol said...

Now, I realize that my observation is limited both by the number of people I have directly observed and my memory of what I observed.

However, even with this limited data gathered by direct observation, I can already form a theory that extremely poor people probably use more soap than shampoo.

Now, at the risk of looking like a broken record and being obstinate, let me clarify the logic that seems to escape you.

Your contention is that the extremely poor have no choice but to buy products in plastic sachets -- which in this case is shampoo.

Now, here is the logic that escapes you:

1. The extremely poor, as you describe them, will prioritize food over hygiene in varying modes, frequencies, and levels. This is upheld both by direct observation of the poor and by other studies.

2. Since the poor put a lower priority on hygiene, then it must also be true that they will spend much less money on it than food.

3. If they do spend on hygiene, it is more likely that they will spend for the least cost item. Between shampoo (which is just for the hair) and soap (which can be used for hair and body), they are more likely to use soap.

Paul Farol said...

So, there, it is.

The extremely poor, who in your mind "have no choice", are not actually the ones who comprise the larger portion of those who buy shampoo in sachets.

It is most likely that the ones who buy shampoo in sachets are the basic wage earners or people who earn regular income that is below basic wage -- who still fit the description of being poor.

Now, at this level of income and poverty, your contention of these people not having a choice but to buy products in plastic sachets simply DOES NOT APPLY anymore.

With more money at their disposal, THEY DO HAVE A CHOICE.

And that is at the heart of what we are discussing.

I think we've both written enough comments to make this a blog post by itself.

Would you care to give yourself a name (any name will do), so that I can credit you for this future piece?

Anonymous said...

Okay, to be honest, this is getting ridiculous.

The shampoo was an example, there are other products that are sold in sachets. Soap is actually sold in sachets (the plastic pillow packs versus the boxes), laundry soap is sold in one-piece packs (versus the full bareta), and laundry detergent is sold in bags the size of 1/4 sheet of pad paper (I'm not sure on the weight of that one).

I suppose this argument will not be settled without hard data that I am not authorized to make public (consumer studies that are considered proprietary information). But I know for a fact (and it is not merely my opinion) that the vast majority of the end consumer for the smallest sizes of products (across all categories, not just shampoo) are the lower class. Also, I do not think you are earning at minimum wage level or below that, so I do not think you make a conclusion on their spending habits, that they don’t purchase the smallest sized SKUs.

We both seem unwilling to budge or compromise. Let’s just agree to disagree.

Paul Farol said...

Believe me when I tell you that you won my respect despite our disagreement and I did learn a lot from you.

Thank you for your comment.

And just to be fair, I think the only flaw in your argument (which is a good one), is the way you hold on to the idea that the poor have NO choice but to buy sachet products.

There are always choices, even among the poorest of the poor and not even poverty will lead them to buy just products in sachets.

That is the only point I've been battling and you stuck to your guns.

Ipat Luna said...

I got confused with your debate but please compare the price of 10 P5 10ml sachets and a 100ml container of almost anything. The 100ml bottle costs more per ml. So as more peopke discover that it is actually cheaper and not more expensive to buy sachets, it will no longer matter if people are poor or not, it will still be the main delivery mechanism of products by corporations.

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