Hill’s Science Diet – great nutrition, lousy merchandising

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post on why I carry the Hill's Science Diets and prescription diets.  I still have confidence in the nutrition.  On the other hand, I am losing patience with their merchandising practices.

They used to be pretty plain vanilla.  If you were feeding a growing puppy, you bought Canine Growth.  If you were maintaining a healthy adult dog, you bought Canine Maintenance.  First they started changing the bag designs.  Then they started changing the names: advanced nutrition, optimal care, blah, blah, blah.

Candy-bars small Of course you expect prices to go up periodically.  Everything does.  That's inflation: you get the same product at a higher price.  OR you can pay the same price for a smaller package, as we did when they downsized candy bars a few years ago. 

It was surprising when Hill's announced new, lower prices on their products in January.  Now we have new, smaller bags to go with them.  It's not like they standardized the bags, either. I could see downsizing the big forty-pounders, since we are a nation of
unfit couch potatoes.  How are we supposed to carry those big honkers?  But some are 35 and some are 30 and some are 27.5.  Where you used to have a 10-pound bag, now you have an 8 or 8.5.  If it was 20-pounds, now it's 17.5 or (just for fun) 17.6… or 15.5.  

They sent me a complicated set of handouts to demonstrate how you're still getting a good deal, paying even less per pound. Yeah, maybe.  And who is going to read through all that malarkey?

The client is confused because the bags are different colors, have different names, and now they are different sizes, as well. I'm steamed because it took me over three hours to re-do it all in the computer.

They still give me great delivery service, and the nutrition is still first rate.  BUT if I ever get a chance to meet their marketing director, I hope to cause HIM some great inconvenience.

3 thoughts on “Hill’s Science Diet – great nutrition, lousy merchandising

  1. Bonnie Thomas says:

    hell’o I buy HIlls Science Diet for my 3 small Dogs. Small & Toy Breed they love the food but why can’t I find it in Lamb & Rice ? I have look at Pet Smart and Pet Co but can not find it please let me know if you have this for Small & Toy Breed .

  2. Doc says:

    Hello, Bonnie,

    Sorry to be so late on this. We have been changing over our practice management computer software in the last week and it has been killing me.

    The Small Breed/Toy Breed products are pretty new. Frankly, I’m not sure there is a lot of difference between this product and the “Small Bites” of the regular adult dog diet. It strikes me as more of a marketing decision on the packaging.

    I suspect that if they prove popular, Lamb and Rice will be added to the product line.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  3. Janet says:

    Seems like a lot of products are changing their packaging. I used to be able to whiz up and down aisles and glance and get what I wanted, now I’m stuck for what seems like hours trying to find my brands among all the look-alike packages.

    I call this the “job justifying syndrome” because it seems someone has to show Corporate that they deserve to keep their job by changing packaging, flavors, etc.

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