How many consumers are snowflakes?

One Friday last month, climate activists walked out of workplaces and schools around the world demanding immediate action from global leaders to address what they describe as a climate “emergency”.

Among those taking to the streets were employees from Ben & Jerry’s, a brand best known for making tubs of ice cream in flavours including Phish Food and Chunky Monkey.

Ben & Jerry’s has campaigned on causes ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to supporting the resettlement of refugees since it was set up by founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978.

And now its owner Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, wants its entire stable of brands from Marmite to Magnum to follow…

Sure, why not? The glory of the market, that people can try things, do as others don’t. Even, consumers can spend their money as they wish, in fact should. You £ is indeed your vote as to how production should be done.

There is the possibility that a consumer goods company might not be best placed to appeal to anti-consumerists but what the heck.

The interesting bit of this is going to be finding out – this is the only way we can do it, revealed preferences and all that – just how many of the consumers out there actually are snowflakes?

33 comments on “How many consumers are snowflakes?

  1. Ben & Jerry’s has campaigned on causes ranging from LGBTQ+ rights to supporting the resettlement of refugees since it was set up by founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in 1978.

    “Everywhere except Israel, schmucks!”

  2. The flip side to this is how many people are explicitly anti-woke on whatever the issue is that these companies pick up and run with. Boycotting can take cognitive, physical and/or financial effort.

    Everyone who shops in their local Co-op is helping to find the Labour party but I’m pretty sure they don’t all support Labour. In fact you often find the Co-op is the only shop in walking distance in deeply Tory shire villages. I doubt many locals drive twenty minutes to the nearest Tesco just because they don’t want to donate to Jeremy Corbyn? Though don’t doubt there are a few.

    With brand proliferation it can be hard to keep track of which branded product belongs to which multinational (I had forgotten Flora changed hands recently) so if you have a bone to pick with one or more parent companies, some care would be needed putting your shopping basket together.

  3. “Go woke, go broke” is an increasingly used phrase – revealed preferences suggest that consumers *say* they care but their actual shopping says otherwise

  4. And now its owner Unilever, one of the largest consumer goods companies in the world, wants its entire stable of brands from Marmite to Magnum to follow…

    All of the history of Western civilisation has led up to being called a racist by Domestos.

    Everyone who shops in their local Co-op is helping to find the Labour party but I’m pretty sure they don’t all support Labour.

    Yarp, but so far the Co-op seems to have resisted the urge to call its own customers fascists or summat.

    Woke capitalism is Titania McGrath using a £1,119 gold iPhone 11 Pro to tell you that you need to eat bugs and live in a ditch for The Planet™

  5. Didn’t Gillette take a hit over some transgender bollocks? And while I don’t eat a lot of crisps when I do I no longer buy Walkers because of that cunt Lineker. Our village pub, which is run by an impeccably sound chap, switched from Walkers ages ago.

  6. “Everywhere except Israel, schmucks!”

    Israel pretty much is the resettlement of refugees, but only those of a certain flavour (and particularly not those of another certain flavour).

    I suspect Ben and Jerry’s are now trying to appease the crocodile by selling it some shit it likes to eat.

  7. ‘One Friday last month, climate activists walked out of workplaces and schools around the world demanding immediate action from global leaders to address what they describe as a climate “emergency”.’

    They need to head back into school and learn what ‘climate’ means. ‘Climate emergency’ is colossally ignorant.

  8. “There is the possibility that a consumer goods company might not be best placed to appeal to anti-consumerists but what the heck.”

    They are only anti-consumerists in their heads though aren’t they? In the real world they consume as much if not more than everyone else. They might be against other people consuming but that is about it.

  9. Hector Drummond said: “It’s the people inside the companies who are the snowflakes, not the consumers. (I don’t mean the mass of employees. I mean the people in certain key roles.)”

    I suspect even most of them aren’t really snowflakes, just wusses who are afraid of criticism from their wife’s friends.

  10. Interested:
    Gillette’s genius move was to put out an advert which suggested that white men were all potential rapists and bullies unless dissuaded by a certified wokester.
    Who would have thought that insulting a massive proportion of your best customers while pleasing only feminists and hipster beardies would be a big money-loser for a company which sells overpriced bits of sharpened metal designed to scrape off hair? Many life-long
    Gillette users suddenly discovered that far cheaper alternatives existed and worked just as well.

  11. The company that sells Flora margarine is, I think, going to be the first to find that out:

    The Flora one is incredible, how can people rise to such senior positions in such a huge company and not have an ounce of sense? Taking on women with young kids is a very, very bad idea.

  12. Everyone who shops in their local Co-op is helping to find the Labour party but I’m pretty sure they don’t all support Labour. In fact you often find the Co-op is the only shop in walking distance in deeply Tory shire villages. I doubt many locals drive twenty minutes to the nearest Tesco just because they don’t want to donate to Jeremy Corbyn? Though don’t doubt there are a few.”

    True, it doesn’t matter there, but it does at the margins. I have a Co-op and a Waitrose a short drive away. The Co-op is (according to Google Maps) 3 minutes away. Waitrose is 6 minutes away. It doesn’t make that much difference which I pick. I mostly choose Waitrose because they aren’t utter donkeys about stock management like the Co-op, so the thing I want will be there. Also, funding Labour MPs doesn’t help.

    “Didn’t Gillette take a hit over some transgender bollocks? ”

    Toxic masculinity

    And that’s the perfect example of “at the margin”. Some bloke whose mate told him how good Dollar Shave or Harrys is, but hasn’t done it, because inertia is keeping him using Gillette decides to jump. Or maybe goes out and buys an electric.

    Who puts these people in charge?

  13. What I need is some advice. Who sells decent mass market ice cream apart from Unilever? Who seems a good alternative to Gillette?

    I mean, boycotting French wine and German cars is easy, boycotting Unilever is trickier.

  14. @ dearieme
    Nestle took over Lyons Maid which was the alternative mass market brand to Walls, having won a chunk of market share by introducing mass market “dairy ice cream” when Walls was stuck on non-dairy from the rationing era. So Nestle is the most likely answer.
    Wilkinson Sword are the main alternative to Gillette and seem reasonable albeit the fancy four- and five-blade razors are getting pricey.

  15. John beat me to it.

    Also some supermarkets (Waitrose certainly) do own brands on cheap disposables, though no idea where they get them from in the first place.

  16. “Who seems a good alternative to Gillette?”

    Go electric. Even the £60 razors are excellent now.

    BTW one thing about non-snowflakes is that they tend not to make much noise about it. They might think the trans lobby are fucking loons, but they don’t go around saying it. They keep quiet about it, but take actions accordingly.

  17. Lidl razors and shaving foam give and equivalent shave to Gillette at a fraction of the price. Plus you can strop them sharp and more than double the life of the blades.

  18. The interesting question is why doesn’t Unilever shut down Ben and Jerries? They are, after all, a luxury. Why are they ‘wasting’ resources – think just of the carbon emissions from the energy used – for this? And why not cut out a lot of their other lines? Consolidate product lines, close down duplicate companies and merges the non-duplicated processes under a unified management team? Nobody needs 23 kinds of deodorant.

    But no, they’ll do the easy things in order to get woke cred rather than doing the hard things that will save the planet. We only have 12 years after all.

  19. ” I mostly choose Waitrose because they aren’t utter donkeys about stock management like the Co-op.”

    Co-op appear to be complete morons about a fair a few things, really. It’s quite incredible.

    That said, every so often they do have mark stuff down quite aggressively. Got a load of dirt cheap booze the other week. Looking at the dates, there didn’t seem to be any particularly good reason for shifting it out at those prices.

  20. The answer, Tim, is that all snowflakes are consumers, but not all of them produce anything. So the number of consumers who are snowflakes is equal to the total number of snowflakes; the number of productive workers who are snowflakes is a lot smaller.

  21. Wasn’t just the men Gillette offended, my wife bought me an electric razor and said if I didn’t like it to sign up for the dollar shave club

  22. @JuliaM

    Gillete (P&G) already know – their Men Be Woke ads resulted in $x billion decline in sales

    Flora was created and owned by Unilever, demerged margarine and spreads division in 2018 and sold – now by KKR

  23. If Greta has made everyone so woke about the “climate emergency” how come the M25 is still jammed tight with traffic….?

  24. Mumsnet, Flora and the spread of the corporate culture wars

    ‘We’re sorry to hear you have a political disagreement with one of our partners. We respect all points of view and hope you can still enjoy our product despite not seeing eye-to-eye with some users of the website in question.’

    Nah, just kidding. They caved, even though the same human rights statement expressly commits to protecting ‘political opinion’
    https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/10/mumsnet-flora-and-the-spread-of-the-corporate-culture-wars/

    .
    Correction to October 13, 2019 at 7:52 pm: – [Upfield, Flora] now owned by KKR

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