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  #1  
Old 10-02-2012, 09:29 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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Why are Lays potato chips so expensive?

Look, I know these things are handed down from Mt. Olympus, but come on! $4.29 for a10.5-ounce bag? That's like, what, two potatoes, a thimble-full of oil and a pinch of salt -- a nickel at ruthlessly prices, in other words.

It's obscene!
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  #2  
Old 10-02-2012, 09:38 PM
MPB in Salt Lake MPB in Salt Lake is offline
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While that may be the price printed on the package, around here they are regularly (every couple of weeks, far a week at a time) on sale at 3 bags (any flavor) for $5; Only catch is you have to buy the 3 bags at the same time to get the discount.

Still, I imagine that not too many people actually end up paying the full $4.39 price, at least in this market area....

(and on the weeks that they are not on sale for the 3 for $5 deal, they are almost always on a "Buy One, Get One Free" offer)
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2012, 10:24 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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I find them nasty, esp as compared to smaller boutique brands.
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  #4  
Old 10-02-2012, 10:41 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Mount Olympus? No, those would be Kettle Chips. Lays bob up through the muck after being exuded from Satan's bum.
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  #5  
Old 10-02-2012, 10:48 PM
Kozmik Kozmik is offline
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Look, I know these things are handed down from Mt. Olympus
You don't realize how right you are.

Gold Standard Reference

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  #6  
Old 10-02-2012, 11:17 PM
astro astro is offline
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Oddly enough one of the best places to get deals on name brand potato chips and crackers is .... the dollar stores. Some of these have grocery sections and the name brand chips (including kettle chips) are about half supermarket retail.
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  #7  
Old 10-02-2012, 11:43 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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They used to have Lays chips here (in Australia*), and I loved them. But I haven't sen them in years and years, and the alternatives are so disappointing in comparison.

*In case people still don't know where I live
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  #8  
Old 10-03-2012, 02:28 AM
GreenElf GreenElf is offline
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Lay's is made by Frito-Lay, owned by Pepsico, which controls 55% of the domestic potato chip market. The price inelasticity is due to successful advertising and product differentiation. Frito-Lay products have brand loyalty and are placed on premium locations on grocery store shelves.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:03 AM
ptr2void ptr2void is offline
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Originally Posted by Kozmik View Post
You don't realize how right you are.

Gold Standard Reference

I'm trying to figure out the defunct competitor that started to eat their lunch in the late 80s?
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  #10  
Old 10-03-2012, 05:05 AM
Icerigger Icerigger is offline
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As the weight of the chips keeps shrinking, now down to 10oz with some flavors, soon all you will have is a puffed up bag the size of a pillow with one chip inside.
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  #11  
Old 10-03-2012, 05:29 AM
Becky2844 Becky2844 is offline
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Because they're thicker and way saltier. Nothing else compares.

I've always said that every extra pound on my body is stamped, in purple letters, "Frito-Lay."

Buy them on sale and try not to eat them all at once.
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2012, 06:45 AM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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Er, for "ruthlessly"in the OP, read "wholesale." It was my smartphone, Mr. Freud, honest it was!
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2012, 12:03 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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In the grocery store they are often 2/$5 which isn't bad, seeing as how they are over $4 at a convenience store. My favorites are the lightly salted, in the blue bag. Cut so thin you can almost see through them, light on the tongue in their potato goodness, I could eat a whole bag at a sitting. So I don't buy them often, one bag a month is all I allow.
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  #14  
Old 10-03-2012, 12:18 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Man wants laid, gonna cost.
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  #15  
Old 10-03-2012, 12:39 PM
Helena330 Helena330 is offline
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Originally Posted by GreenElf View Post
Lay's is made by Frito-Lay, owned by Pepsico, which controls 55% of the domestic potato chip market. The price inelasticity is due to successful advertising and product differentiation. Frito-Lay products have brand loyalty and are placed on premium locations on grocery store shelves.
This. Check out the prices for Fritos.
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  #16  
Old 10-03-2012, 12:52 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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I think Lay's regular potato chips are just about the worst on the market. Utz and Herr's are pretty horrible too. I don't see why anyone would be willing to pay a premium on those.
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  #17  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:01 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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I'm trying to figure out the defunct competitor that started to eat their lunch in the late 80s?
Most likely (believe it or not) Anheuser-Busch.

In the late 1980s, A-B decided to go big into the salty-snacks market, probably realizing that it was a made-in-heaven complement to selling beer, and probably also realizing that Frito-Lay was the only other national salty-snack brand to speak of. They launched Eagle Snacks (the eagle being part of the A-B corporate logo), and spent heavily behind the brand for several years. They had a pretty full line of potato chips, pretzels, etc., similar to what Frito-Lay offers. Note that, while the Wikipedia entry indicates that Eagle Snacks were "distributed to bars and airlines", they also were very prominent in grocery stores when they were first launched.

Eventually, A-B decided to pull out of the snack business, and sold the brand to Procter & Gamble (it's since been sold off by P&G, as well).
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  #18  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:38 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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Thank the ridiculously high price of TV advertising. Chips and Breakfast Cereal both rely heavily on advertising campaigns and its incredibly expensive.

Neither product costs much to manufacture. The real cost is packaging and advertising. But, I suspect there's a high profit margin in Chips and Breakfast Cereal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Look, I know these things are handed down from Mt. Olympus, but come on! $4.29 for a10.5-ounce bag? That's like, what, two potatoes, a thimble-full of oil and a pinch of salt -- a nickel at ruthlessly prices, in other words.

It's obscene!

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-03-2012 at 01:39 PM..
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  #19  
Old 10-03-2012, 01:48 PM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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Originally Posted by Becky2844 View Post
Because they're thicker and way saltier. Nothing else compares.

I've always said that every extra pound on my body is stamped, in purple letters, "Frito-Lay."

Buy them on sale and try not to eat them all at once.
Lay's potato chips are the thinnest, most easily breakable (and thusly crushed all to hell while being delivered to the store) chips that exist in the universe.

Kettle chips are the way to go. You can get all the way to the bottom and still have whole chips, unlike Lays, where you pretty much have to throw them away when the bag's half full.
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  #20  
Old 10-03-2012, 02:33 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
Thank the ridiculously high price of TV advertising. Chips and Breakfast Cereal both rely heavily on advertising campaigns and its incredibly expensive.

Neither product costs much to manufacture. The real cost is packaging and advertising. But, I suspect there's a high profit margin in Chips and Breakfast Cereal.
No no no. Advertising doesn't raise your prices. The capital outlay is offset by increased sales, not increased prices.


I see this all the time on these boards, and it just isn't true.

Last edited by Labrador Deceiver; 10-03-2012 at 02:33 PM..
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  #21  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:04 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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So why are they so expensive? Or are they just insanely profitable?
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  #22  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:05 PM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Expensive compared to what? How many brands are less expensive?
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  #23  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:08 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Sounds right. My father's employer became part of the A-B conglomerate around that time, and I remember him bringing home tons of Eagle Snacks. I also remember seeing them in the store and being astonished at how expensive they were. Glad we got them free.
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  #24  
Old 10-03-2012, 04:35 PM
ptr2void ptr2void is offline
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Most likely (believe it or not) Anheuser-Busch.
That's what I thought after researching a little, but don't have any real recollection of these.
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  #25  
Old 10-03-2012, 07:28 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Only catch is you have to buy the 3 bags at the same time to get the discount.
Is that common where you live? At Meijer in Michigan, you can always get the sale price for just one in these kind of sales.
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  #26  
Old 10-03-2012, 07:54 PM
SCAdian SCAdian is offline
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Originally Posted by MPB in Salt Lake View Post
Only catch is you have to buy the 3 bags at the same time to get the discount.
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Originally Posted by Mahaloth View Post
Is that common where you live? At Meijer in Michigan, you can always get the sale price for just one in these kind of sales.
We have two supermarkets here in Groton. At Stop & Shop, you can buy just one item at the sale price; at Big Y, you have to buy the full amount in order to get the sale price.
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  #27  
Old 10-04-2012, 01:15 AM
Imasquare Imasquare is offline
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They used to have Lays chips here (in Australia*), and I loved them. But I haven't sen them in years and years, and the alternatives are so disappointing in comparison.

*In case people still don't know where I live
Smith's Crisps are apparently Lays in disguise.

Quote:
In Australia, Pepsico acquired The Smith's Snackfood Company in 1998 and marketed Frito-Lay products under that label, using the name Thins.

After Thin's was sold to Snack Brands Australia (Owned by Arnotts), Smith's produced a line of potato chips under the Lay's brand for a brief period of time. The Lay's line was eventually rebranded in 2004 as Smith's Crisps, while the traditional Smith's line was renamed Smith's Crinkles. This is still sold in Australia as a direct competitor to Smith's Crisps.
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lay%27s.
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  #28  
Old 10-04-2012, 09:08 AM
furryman furryman is offline
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Man wants laid, gonna cost.
Man wants to get fritoed, gonna cost more.
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  #29  
Old 10-04-2012, 10:52 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Originally Posted by Sister Vigilante View Post
...You can get all the way to the bottom and still have whole chips, unlike Lays, where you pretty much have to throw them away when the bag's half full.
Let me introduce you to the newfangled concept of "bowl and spoon."
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  #30  
Old 10-04-2012, 11:08 AM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
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Let me introduce you to the newfangled concept of "bowl and spoon."
I like to pour mine into a half-empty container of French onion dip.
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  #31  
Old 10-04-2012, 01:16 PM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Sign of how seldom I actually buy junk food like potato chips: I had a hankering for chips just last week. I was shocked to discover prices in the $5 range for the big bag of chips. When the hell did chips go up to fucking $5 a bag?

For years, I've been whining and bitching about how much more expensive it is to eat fresh whole foods instead of eating junk and pre-prepared frozen blocks o' "food". Now it appears that it's actually less expensive to eat healthier.

FWIW, I went with Ruffles. They have ridges, you know. I got the smaller bag, which was still $3 something, closer to $4 than $3. WT everlovin' F?

* Note: In my hometown in Ohio, there is a potato chip factory that makes, hands down, the best potato chips on the planet, anywhere, ever. I have conducted extensive scientific research to determine this. They are not flat chips, nor do they have ridges. They're marcelled. Unfortunately, they only distribute in that and the surrounding counties, and you cannot get those chips from any further away than, say 40-50 miles or so. Every now and then I go on their website and order them, but the shipping costs about the same as five bags of chips. I just went there to grab the link for this post and was horrified to discover that they are selling for $4.25 a bag. Again, what the everlovin' fuck?
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  #32  
Old 10-04-2012, 04:48 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
Expensive compared to what? How many brands are less expensive?
Expensive compared to the known cost of their three ingredients. As to other brands, I don't really know because I don't buy them -- but I suspect the cost is similar, and I'd have the same question about it.
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  #33  
Old 10-04-2012, 04:59 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sister Vigilante View Post
Lay's potato chips are the thinnest, most easily breakable (and thusly crushed all to hell while being delivered to the store) chips that exist in the universe.

Kettle chips are the way to go. You can get all the way to the bottom and still have whole chips, unlike Lays, where you pretty much have to throw them away when the bag's half full.
Kettle chips are an offense before whatever god you desire. Chips should be thin and crisp and light, not fried into steel hunks of potato you could weaponize without too much effort.
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  #34  
Old 10-04-2012, 06:59 PM
The Dord The Dord is offline
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I tend to enjoy Better Made here in Michigan. Especially the Barbeque chips! Yum.
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  #35  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:08 PM
zbuzz zbuzz is offline
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Originally Posted by GreenElf View Post
Lay's is made by Frito-Lay, owned by Pepsico, which controls 55% of the domestic potato chip market. The price inelasticity is due to successful advertising and product differentiation. Frito-Lay products have brand loyalty and are placed on premium locations on grocery store shelves.
It's been a long time since I've taken an economics course, so I don't know what I'm talking about. But right now, one of the local major grocery stores in my area has Lays chips at $2. When they are not on special, $4.29 sounds about right. I know from past experience that a sale like this isn't uncommon. So how are Lays an inelastic product?
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  #36  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:17 PM
The Dord The Dord is offline
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It's been a long time since I've taken an economics course, so I don't know what I'm talking about. But right now, one of the local major grocery stores in my area has Lays chips at $2. When they are not on special, $4.29 sounds about right. I know from past experience that a sale like this isn't uncommon. So how are Lays an inelastic product?
Funny enough, while looking through this thread I looked online at my local grocery store.. What do you know? Lays are buy one, get one free. (page 10)
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  #37  
Old 10-06-2012, 10:02 AM
Jormungandr Jormungandr is offline
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So, why were "Munchos" "$2 Only," as it said on the bag for the large size, until recently? It's now $2.10-2.25. Less demand, lower price?
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  #38  
Old 10-06-2012, 11:17 AM
Biggirl Biggirl is offline
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Thick chips are good for dipping-- a vehicle to get the cheesy and/or oniony goodness into my piehole. The relative thinness of Lays is what I LOVE about them. If only there was packaging that was protective enough for them. For plain potato, salt and oil heaven, Lays is the way to go.
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  #39  
Old 10-06-2012, 11:43 AM
Labrador Deceiver Labrador Deceiver is offline
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Expensive compared to the known cost of their three ingredients. As to other brands, I don't really know because I don't buy them -- but I suspect the cost is similar, and I'd have the same question about it.
That's pretty ridiculous. They are't selling you a bag of whole potatoes.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:02 PM
GreenElf GreenElf is offline
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It's been a long time since I've taken an economics course, so I don't know what I'm talking about. But right now, one of the local major grocery stores in my area has Lays chips at $2. When they are not on special, $4.29 sounds about right. I know from past experience that a sale like this isn't uncommon. So how are Lays an inelastic product?
I guess they're elastic then. I didn't know about your grocery store.
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  #41  
Old 10-06-2012, 02:29 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Originally Posted by Sister Vigilante View Post
Lay's potato chips are the thinnest, most easily breakable (and thusly crushed all to hell while being delivered to the store) chips that exist in the universe.

Kettle chips are the way to go. You can get all the way to the bottom and still have whole chips, unlike Lays, where you pretty much have to throw them away when the bag's half full.
Actually, Lay's Kettle Cooked Chips are the way to go. Even more expensive than the regular kind, but America's Test Kitchen deemed them to be Top Chip.
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  #42  
Old 10-06-2012, 02:39 PM
Sal Ammoniac Sal Ammoniac is offline
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
That's pretty ridiculous. They are't selling you a bag of whole potatoes.
I have no idea what you're getting at here.
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  #43  
Old 10-07-2012, 08:56 PM
Measure for Measure Measure for Measure is online now
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Originally Posted by Labrador Deceiver View Post
No no no. Advertising doesn't raise your prices. The capital outlay is offset by increased sales, not increased prices.

I see this all the time on these boards, and it just isn't true.
I'm dubious about your argument. It's not impossible. But you seem to think that economies of scale in manufacturing, etc. will be sufficient to cover the cost of the marketing and advertising campaign. That doesn't sound likely. (What could happen is that higher volume and margin boost profits.)

For Potato Chips, we have a natural experiment: compare store brand potato chips to ones with a national advertising campaign. Consumer Reports judges Lays Potato Chips and Walmart Great Value Chips to be of.... equal tastiness. Cite (sub req). Walmart chips are about half the price of Lay's: 15 cents per serving vs 29 cents per serving, as of 2 years ago. Advertising, branding and maybe marginally higher profits don't come cheap.

Last edited by Measure for Measure; 10-07-2012 at 08:59 PM..
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  #44  
Old 10-07-2012, 09:17 PM
Odesio Odesio is offline
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A 10.5 ounce bag of Lays potato chips is $3.00 at Kroger around here. It does say $4.29 on the bag though.
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  #45  
Old 10-07-2012, 10:23 PM
Eonwe Eonwe is offline
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Because people will pay for them?

We also pay disgusting amounts of money for water in bottles, and for sodas, considering the cost of ingredients.
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  #46  
Old 10-08-2012, 01:55 AM
NDP NDP is online now
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Originally Posted by The Dord View Post
I tend to enjoy Better Made here in Michigan. Especially the Barbeque chips! Yum.
How popular are the Better Made brand of snacks in Michigan? Are they specialty or have about as much store shelf space as the products from Frito-Lay's semi-monopoly?

That's one thing I've noticed in the last 25 years: The disappearance of popular regional chip brands from grocery store shelves. On the West Coast, Frito-Lay used to compete with Nalley's, Clover Club, Laura Scudders, Granny Goose, Blue Bell, and the private label store brands. Now, you just have the Frito-Lay snacks, a few specialty brands (e.g, in the Pacfic Northwest, there's Tim's Cascade Chips), and private label.
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  #47  
Old 10-08-2012, 09:45 AM
bouv bouv is offline
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
Kettle chips are an offense before whatever god you desire. Chips should be thin and crisp and light, not fried into steel hunks of potato you could weaponize without too much effort.
Thank you!

Seriously, unless I'm dipping the chip in something, I want it to be so light and crispy it fall apart in my mouth. I don't want to risk chipping a tooth on chips that are harder than some rocks!
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  #48  
Old 10-08-2012, 10:38 AM
Sister Vigilante Sister Vigilante is offline
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Thank you!

Seriously, unless I'm dipping the chip in something, I want it to be so light and crispy it fall apart in my mouth. I don't want to risk chipping a tooth on chips that are harder than some rocks!
I like them that way too but I also like them to be that way before the bag is opened.

And if Lay's jumped on the bandwagon by producing their own kettle chips, then a lot of people agree with me.
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  #49  
Old 10-08-2012, 10:49 AM
control-z control-z is online now
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The high prices are good for me, because they prevent me from buying the unhealthy snack.

If a big bag was 50 cents I'd be in big trouble. And I bet they would still make money at 50 cents.
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  #50  
Old 10-09-2012, 11:57 AM
Gary T Gary T is offline
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Look, I know these things are handed down from Mt. Olympus, but come on! $4.29 for a10.5-ounce bag? That's like, what, two potatoes, a thimble-full of oil and a pinch of salt -- a nickel at [wholesale] prices, in other words.

It's obscene!
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
So why are they so expensive? Or are they just insanely profitable?
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Originally Posted by Sal Ammoniac View Post
Expensive compared to the known cost of their three ingredients.
Well, why don't you just buy a couple of potatoes and a bit of oil and salt and snack on that. Think of the money you'd save!

You seem to be totally ignoring the time, equipment, and expertise that goes into preparing and packaging potato chips. Those taters don't just fall into slices and crisp up all by themselves. Heck, the materials to make a violin probably cost a few bucks, but it's hard to make much music from a hunk of wood and a glob of nylon. (This is what Labrador Deceiver was alluding to, by the way.)
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