Switch to sachets for savings, freshness & reduce wastage:
Instant coffee packets come in all forms & sizes. For frequent consumers, there are 200g, 500g & 1 kg packs, while for big families & restaurants, there are even 5 kg packs.
Since I have been a regular consumer of coffee, I used to purchase the 200g pack each month. However, despite storing it in air-tight container, it had become a common sight to find the coffee powder hardened (due to moisture) within days and the aroma would have faded altogether.
I realized that moisture in the air can affect the coffee powder even if it is exposed to moisture for a very short duration. Every time we open the air-tight container for few seconds to fetch some powder, more moisture would enter into the container. I noticed that if it is done 4-5 times a day, then within days, the aroma fades & powder gets hardened.
That was when I decided to explore other options. Instead of having bigger packs lasting a month (and the aroma fading out), I looked at the options of going for smaller packets (sachets are also vacuum sealed) so that each day, there would be a freshly opened coffee powder.
I had always thought that when companies offer products in larger quantities, they try to reduce the unit price (per gram or per kg), and hence wondered if buying smaller packs would end up in spending more money. But in this case of coffee powder, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it broke all rules of economics!!
Consider the example of Bru Instant Coffee (A very popular Coffee brand in India). The 200g pack costs Rs 299 which means the offer price per gram is Rs 1.5.
The 50g pack costs Rs 92 which means the offer price per gram is Rs 1.84.
The company offers the same coffee powder in 25g as well which costs Rs 40, hence the price per gram in this case is Rs 1.6.
Now that we are done with the packs, let’s look at the sachets.
The company offers 9.5g sachets priced at Rs 10. Therefore, the price per gram for this sachet is just Re 1.
Finally, there is a 3.4g sachet priced at Rs 3, which brings the effective price per gram to a pleasing Rs 0.88 (just 88 paise).
Now compare this sachet’s unit price (88 paise) with the 50g pack (184 paise) which implies that going for a Rs 3 sachet instead of a 50g pack saves you almost 50% of the cost. Similarly, when compared to the 200g pack, choosing the sachet helps you save 33% of the cost.
Moreover, these sachets are not a limited period offer and nor are there any limit on how many packets a customer can purchase. Anyway, I purchased 100 sachets at a total cost of Rs 300 and turned my kitchen into a provision store 😀
It has been a great experience because not only is it fresh everytime, but it is very easy to maintain consistency in taste as well. Earlier, when I was using larger packs, the ratio of powder & milk was always tricky because I had to carefully measure the right quantity of the powder. But now, since each new sachet I open has the same quantity of coffee powder, I need not worry about measurements at all. Just cut open the sachet, empty it into a cup of hot milk & the coffee (with your preferred taste, aroma & strength) is ready.
To summarize the benefits I got by switching from larger packs to sachets:
1) Freshness: Each time I prepare coffee, it is from a sealed sachet and hence fresh & aromatic.
2) Economical: This is surprising but indeed true. Using sachets helps me save money because it is offered by the company at lower unit cost.
3) Consistency: Since each sachet has exactly the same quantity of powder, I need not worry about measurement and hence consistency of the coffee preparation is always maintained.
Surprisingly, this arithmetic of “sachet offering more value for money over packet” seems to hold good for a wide range of FMCG products. Consider the example of shampoo which we tend to buy once a month in the form of a bottle. We might actually not be aware of how much of the shampoo is wasted when used from the bottle. Firstly, there is no control over the flow because depending on whether the bottle is full or almost empty, the rate of flow of shampoo squeezed out of the bottle will vary, due to which measurement is almost impossible while bathing.
Also, recollect how many times you ended up squeezing out extra shampoo, but since it is not possible to put it back in, you are forced to use (rather overuse) this. In addition to this, there will be cases where despite squeezing the right amount, a part of it might slip out of the fingers or spill on the floor, due to which you might again squeeze out more and end up consuming more shampoo than necessary.
Due to the above reasons, even if the unit price of a sachet costs the same as that of bigger packs, it makes sense to go for sachets. However, in most of the cases, it would be surprising to find that the sachet unit price would actually be much lesser, hence helping you save economically.
Let’s take a practical example. A 170ml Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle costs Rs 163 which implies that the cost per ml is 95 paise.
This leads to a saving of a whopping 60% !! Means, if your monthly expenses for shampoo is Rs 100, just by switching to sachet, it comes to Rs 40. And add to this the earlier mentioned factors which leads to reduction of wastage, which in turn might as well bring it down further to Rs 30. This is a mind-boggling savings of 70% just due to a switch from packet/bottle to sachet.
Although such drastic savings might be rare, it has been observed that the unit price of sachet is usually less than the unit price of bigger packets. I suggest you also do such calculations (hardly takes a few seconds) for the brands that you frequently use and find out for yourself if switching to sachets would be a feasible option. It might probably even help you save money and reduce wastage apart from offering you freshness & consistency.