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We Like Chocolate and Beer. Cigarettes, Not That Much

Posted by: Michael Arndt on November 17, 2009

Turns out candy is dandy, at least during recessions. Beer is pretty OK, too, but cigarettes are a vice that even smokers increasingly say they ain’t worth it. Overall, says the latest customer satisfaction survey by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, American consumers are as happy with grocery-store goods as they were three months ago.

Among food companies, Hershey and Nestle both moved up 2 points while Mars gained 1 point from a year earlier, to an average score of 86 (out of a possible 100). That’s their highest score ever. The trio last had an upsurge that big in the 2001 recession and in 2004, when worries about the widening Iraq War and higher fuel prices had consumers scurrying back to comfort foods, says Ross School Professor Claes Fornell, who heads the index.

Not every comfort food maker is more beloved, however. Conagra’s standing dropped 7 points from a year earlier, to 78, an all-time low. Fornell attributes the decline to higher prices—Conagra jacked them up an average of 25%. Heinz retains its No. 1 ranking, with a score of 89.

Beer still hits the spot. Customers say they’re more satisfied with their beer buys than ever before, pushing the industry’s average score to 84. The biggest gainer: Anheuser-Busch, which rose 4 points to an all-time high of 85. Yes, the company is no longer American. But U.S. consumers appreciate its cheaper brands Natural Light and Busch. Meantime, Coors, which is generally pricier, sagged 2 points, to 81. Miller moved up 1 point, to 83.

Higher prices, this time from federal taxes that more than doubled, made smokers think less of cigarettes. Both Philip Morris and Reynolds American sagged to 72, falling 9 points and 8 points, respectively. Neither had ever been below 75.

Reader Comments


November 17, 2009 5:24 PM

It's interesting to know what's going on with cigarettes these days, hopefully the prices keep rising. Also good to know that Anheuser-Busch is still going strong even with the take over.

Dave McDaniel

November 20, 2009 5:03 PM

Cigarette taxes keep going up and I wonder why?!?!HMMMMM!!! its the government! If people smoke they need to get


November 24, 2009 7:54 AM

Yay! Let's cheer for more taxes! Someone find out what Dylan likes to indulge in and jack the prices exponentially on that guy. He deserves it. Pathetic.


December 17, 2009 6:46 AM

We love taxes! Especially on cigarettes and alcohol...:(

Appetite suppressants | Penis enlargement | Forex trading


January 8, 2010 10:02 AM

it is nice post


January 14, 2010 12:02 PM

Funny thing to me is that none of the companies you listed even make real beer, just industrial swill. I wonder how companies that actually make good beer are faring.


March 22, 2010 9:51 AM

Yay! Let's cheer for more taxes! Someone find out what Dylan likes to indulge in and jack the prices exponentially on that guy. He deserves it. Pathetic.


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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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