New packaging sticks in my craw

My favorite flavored drink has a new package (top). The former packaging is on the bottom.

In the words of Paul Simon, I ask Maxwell House, “Now who do … who do you think you’re fooling?”

The marketers at the “good to the last drop” company are wringing every last bit of spin out of the latest packaging change to the International Café line.

I love the Café Francais flavor more than I ought to, and I’ve been buying it for years. A hot cup of that concoction mixed into milk is my decadent little mid-afternoon or evening treat.

International Cafe beverages — formerly General Foods International Coffee until chai tea and vanilla creme were added to the line — have always been packaged in distinct steel tins.

Until recently.

The last, um, container I purchased came with a “New Look, Same Great Taste!” message. The steel had been replaced with, oh, for the love of all that is good and holy …


Over at the Maxwell House website, consumers are handed this manufactured A under the FAQs tab:

Maxwell House International changed from a steel container to a new and innovative Lock-In-Fresh package that gives you increased convenience while helping reduce the impact on the environment. This new package helps seal in freshness, makes our product easier to scoop out, and is more environmentally friendly as it uses 50% less packaging material than the previous package.

Then those clever marketers addressed the design change:

Maxwell House International changed from our traditional white and red look to our new bold, blue look in order to match the look of the Maxwell House family of coffees and remind consumers of the rich coffee heritage behind the product.

Tell the truth, you robber barons!

No one buys International Cafe beverages for the coffee! Despite the pretty coffee beans in the corner and the bigger, more prominent logo, consumers buy these addictive drinks for the sugar and the nondairy creamer and a whole bunch of other unpronounceable ingredients! If we wanted coffee, we’d buy, well, Maxwell House!

But here’s the real rip-off: That plastic “Lock-In-Fresh” packaging with 50% less material is cheaper to produce! But the price has not changed a whit!

Maxwell House dumped the steel packaging and tells consumers it’s greener while pocketing the profits!

I’m no dummy. I’ve been a marketer with that 8-ball pointed at me. I know the language, the skullduggery, the double-talk when I see it. I’ve used it!

Woe be to me. Now I must have my coffee and eat my words, too.

5 responses to “New packaging sticks in my craw

  1. Well I guess it would only be worse if you had to do the advertising campaign.

  2. I always feel the same when I see the sign in hotel bathrooms that asks me to help the environment (by reducing their laundry bills). Funny, they never ask us to turn off unwanted lights or provide recycling bins…

  3. I see I have to give you my recipe for one of our Simply St. John Mixes so you can make your own from scratch much more cheaply and in a reuseable glass container.

  4. Maxwell recently changed it “lite” coffee packaging. It had a HANDLE now it just has a grasp. Very akward. Also they kept the price the same but reduced the ozs. I am very disappointed in their product. Why not leave a good thing alone. They are NOT fooling anyone. Less oz & same price IS A PRICE INCREASE!!!

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