Consumers Complained, and These 6 Brands Responded to Their Demands
Earlier this month, Burger King debuted a Cheetos-flavored incarnation of Chicken Fries. But without a previous public outcry, there would not have been such thing as Chicken Fries on menus at all
Now imagine that your favorite product went away -- and you’re upset. Maybe you wish your food were produced in a healthier manner, or your coffee-like beverage could be served using the non-dairy milk of your choice.
Well, never fear, because the internet has ushered in the democratization of complaining. For customers who don’t like a change or wish something was different about a product, it’s easier than ever to grab a virtual megaphone and make some noise. It’s likely to reach someone involved with the brand, and maybe it will get results, as in the recent cases of these big brands changed by the desires of little people.
Earlier this month, Starbucks added almond milk to its non-dairy alternatives at 4,600 stores, answering hundreds of requests from customers submitted through the My Starbucks Idea crowdsourcing platform since 2011 -- including one that was up-voted by nearly 10,000 participants. The Starbucks-created blend will stand alongside soy milk and coconut milk as an option for hot and iced coffees, Frappuccino drinks and others, for an extra charge of $.60.
Yoke Wong, a manager of the beverage R&D team, said, “It was designed so that when steamed, it creates a rich foam for hot beverages and is delicious and creamy when served in cold beverages.”
During the Rio Olympics, Virgin Atlantic began offering live TV on its Boeing 787s for UK long-hauls. The change was prompted by passenger demand for current affairs and sporting events coverage, according to Virgin Atlantic EVP Jill Brady.
Passengers can now watch BBC World News, CNN International and Sport 24. The real-time programming is accessible on all passengers’ seat-back screens and on customers’ own devices via free wi-fi.
Bringing back cult favorite limited-time or retired menu items is a tried and true practice in fast food (see: Chicken Fries). And while the once-mighty fast food chain McDonald’s has struggled for relevance in recent years, it found that introducing all-day breakfast last fall boosted sales.
So starting this month, McDonald’s is upping the ante by adding McGriddles -- a breakfast sandwich with maple-flavored pancakes as the bun -- to that all-day breakfast menu. Melissa Layton, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, told USA Today the sandwich was the most requested item that wasn’t on the national market.
In August, Cargill announced it had stopped using a disease-preventing antibiotic, gentamicin, in its turkey flocks, part of an overall promise to reduce antibiotic use in its protein lines. (While not used as a prophylactic capacity, it’s still used in an antiviral capacity).
Jan Hood, head of Cargill’s turkey marketing, said the reduction of antibiotics use was brought by consumer demand for greater transparency in the meat-processing supply chain. Cargill also developed the antibiotic-free Honest Turkey line to address these consumer demands.
While the changes are very au courant -- consumers demanding healthier and more humane meat production -- they will not arrive in time for Thanksgiving. But the new meat products will be out by early 2017. A day before Cargill’s announcement, Tyson Foods announced that all of its chicken products would be antibiotic-free by the end of 2017.
No one went to Hostess, makers of Twinkies cakes, with the demand for deep fried Twinkies, but that’s because they were already buying them at state fairs, street fairs, at restaurants as desserts, and making them at home.
“We realize our customers have deep fried their Twinkies for a number of years now,” Hostess VP of marketing Ellen Copaken said. And so, Hostess took the hint and created a packaged Deep Fried Twinkies product, available beginning in August at Wal-Mart in two flavors, Original Golden and Double Chocolate.
The Twinkies cakes are covered in funnel cake batter and partially fried, then frozen, ready for heating by microwave.
Of course, traditional Twinkies were at one point gone from the market following Hostess Brands’ bankruptcy, followed by a triumphant return in 2013.
John Frieda Beach Blonde Ocean Waves Spray unceremoniously disappeared from shelves in 2007, but it was not forgotten.
Bottles of old product were changing hands on eBay for over $100. Internet mourning for the discontinued hair product coalesced in a January 2014 post on xoVain, then gained momentum with a May 2014 post on Jezebel, “Why Won’t They Bring Back John Frieda Beach Blonde Spray?” -- and soon topped Allure’s list of most-missed beauty products.
As the movement gained steam, a petition to product owners Kao Brands collected 1300+ signatures to bring back the much-loved salt spray. As of January 2015, Beach Blonde returned to store shelves, and is now called Sea Waves.