Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pricing puzzle : Why do ice creams are sold the same price ?

Price discrimination is the norm in the modern retail. Promotions, sales, happy hour, coupons, loyalty cards, bulk prices, etc... all these techniques consider charging different prices to customers upon the quantity sold or the time they buy. 
The art of pricing is also the ability to define the higher possible price to maximize turnover without discouraging clients. This is key to any successful retailer. 

Contrary to that law, I've always been puzzled by this consideration : why do ice cream stores charge the same price for all flavors ? It seems to be the case in any store I could see in the world (as an amateur, I've seen a lot !). Even if chocolate or vanilla are much more popular than any other or even if some flavors (like vanilla or chocolate) cost much cheaper to produce than exotic ones (like "Nuit de Chine", a specialty of Martine Lambert made of Szechuan pepper and bitter chocolate), the pricing is based on the number of balls. 

In supermarkets, it's not the case and depending on your taste you can spend 3 £ for Tesco Chocolate & Hazelnut ice cream or 1,99 £ for the Chocolatino (both in 1 ltr). The ease of price calculation maybe one possible explanation, but it could be solved with 2 or 3 range of prices. If you have a possible explanation are welcomed to bring coments !

ps1 : My own ice creams ranking:
1) Berthillon, Paris. The only ice cream store shut during summer
2) Persicco, Buenos Aires. For his Dulce de leche / raspberry cone
3) Martine Lambert, Trouville. Any fruit sorbet is a splendor
4) Sergio Dondoli, San Gimignano. Elected world champion !!

ps2 : I shot the upper photo in Paipa, Colombia, the other one in Firenze, Tuscany last week. The Melone / Apricot was particulary gorgeous !

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