Green peas and other superfluous product names

28Dec10

Whenever the overpriced grocery store in my building has a sale on basic items like frozen vegetables, I like to stock up on those products. Most recently, this meant taking home a bunch of frozen peas. While putting them in the freezer, I noticed something strange about the package design: instead of just saying “Peas”, the label said “Green Peas”.

I suppose that you can purchase more exotic types of frozen peas, but I’ve never seen anything besides the standard green ones. Sure, you can get small or large versions, sometimes with no salt added. But I’d say that virtually every frozen pea buyer expects the peas to be green in color. Calling them “Green Peas” is rather superfluous, since the color doesn’t add any information that the buyer wasn’t already expecting. For the vast majority of shoppers, “Peas” would be just as effective — and less text means the label would be easier to recognize at a glance.

In contrast, if you’re selling something that’s different than the shopper’s typical expectations, it makes sense to describe those traits upfront. For instance, “Extra Small Peas” or “Peas With No Salt Added” gives the customer valuable information that they need to make a purchasing decision. But when it comes to superfluous adjectives that merely restate the obvious, it’s better to just leave them out.



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