I am not a picky eater. I use מגה brand tomato paste and pasta, eat שפע שוק cereal, and only splurge on יכין chick peas and green beans when I can find them at ₪ 4 a can. But instant schnitzel is an entirely different matter. I have tried brand X schnitzel a number of times and I absolutely hate it. I have probably thrown out nearly ₪ 100, ₪ 10 at a time, thinking, “well, it’s only ₪ 10, and it probably all tastes the same. Sure the last one was terrible, but I am sure that was the exception, not the rule.”
I no longer throw out my money on inedible food. When I do buy schnitzel (not very often) I know that if I want to enjoy the food I buy, I will have to buy either מאמא עוף or עוף טוב, even though these normally cost an arm and a leg (or a wing an a drumstick, as the analogy would be…). But these expensive brands don’t have to be so expensive, if you know where and when to shop.
A long time ago I discussed different types of supermarkets and what kinds of marketing strategies are used in different stores. In the post, I advocated shopping in a both a shuk and poor man’s supermarket in order to get the best of discounts and genetic products (if you need to buy in bulk, shop at a Charedi market as well). But none of these stores will help me with my schnitzel. The poor man’s market (ie מגה בול) wants me to buy substitutes and the shuk market wants me to buy different low cost items. These stores live and breathe a marketing plan based on substitutes and alternatives, not luxuries. Neither of these stores will go out of their way to offer the schnitzel I want because they are both attracting a clientele who is looking for the cheapest price overall, not the cheapest price of a luxury.
So who is offering the best price for my schnitzel? Ironically it is exactly the place that normally offers the highest price for everything else, the middle-class and the rich man’s supermarkets. These supermarkets are constantly trying to get their clientele to buy luxuries, so they are much more likely to get competative and offer a discount on my schnitzel. This holds true for a number of other luxury items, including fancy ice cream, higher end dairy products, and expensive wine.
So while I do not shop at these places on a regular basis, I do stick my head in when I walk buy to see if an item I want has hit my magic price.
PS – my magic price is ₪ 18 – ₪ 20 for a 700 gram bag of high end schnitzel
PPS – There is an urban legend of a tuna manufacturer who was the only seller in the region to offer white tuna. Many people would not buy his tuna, as they were all used to pink tuna. Using his guile, the seller wrote “guaranteed not to turn pink” on the cans of his white tuna and ended up grabbing the market.
While the American story is only a legend, Israeli manufacturers can actually take credit for taking this story seriously. Some schnitzel companies are beginning to offer lower quality schnitzel, less chicken and more breading, for a similar price to that of the regular schnitzel. These companies write “extra thin” on the schnitzel in huge letters, transforming their lack of product into a delicacy. Clever, huh?