General

A margarine brand is going back to its old recipe after customers rioted calling its new formula with less vegetable oil ‘disgusting’

A margarine brand is going back to its old recipe after customers rioted calling its new formula with less vegetable oil 'disgusting'

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

  • Angry customers left hundreds of one-star reviews on Smart Balance’s new formula.

  • The company agreed to undo the changes and return to the old formula.

  • The formula change is an example of “skimping”, substituting cheaper ingredients without warning customers.

Consumers have just won the battle against inflation by: reducing an ingredient change in the Smart Balance butter substitute.

Conagra recently changed the recipe for its Smart Balance butter substitute from 64% vegetable oil to only 39%” to make [it] easier to distribute,” a spokesperson told Insider. The change was noticed by customers, who left hundreds of angry reviews on the Smart Balance website. 991 out of 1008 reviews for the butter substitute are only one star, with complaints about the formula change.

“Pass it hard, start looking for an alternative product, super disappointed,” wrote one customer. Another said, “Product change makes this absolutely disgusting and tasteless! Don’t waste your money on it!”, and hundreds of others with similar complaints.

Conagra noted the outcry from customers and agreed to reverse course.

“We have heard the feedback from consumers and have decided to return to the previous recipes in the coming months,” the spokesperson told Insider.

The formula change is just a recent example of a trend called “skimpflation” coined by consumer advocate and blogger Edgar Dworsky. Dworsky defines the term as when products are “reformulated in some way, usually with less expensive components and often by replacement of cheaper ingredients.”

Skimpflation goes hand in hand with shrinkage inflation, another sneaky way companies try to save money. With shrink-flation, manufacturers make subtle changes to products, such as making candy bars sold in multipacks smaller than those sold individually, or changing the shape of their products so that you barely notice the difference in weight as you put the pay the original price.

Inflation at its highest point in 40 years according to the consumer price index, which the US Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to track inflation. Inflation, rising labor costs, and rising costs for ingredients are all forcing companies to engage in shrink and austerity, although this case demonstrates that customers have some power to fight back against these changes.

Do you have a story to tell about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at [email protected]

Read the original article Business Insider