The Euroshopper Logo
The product/brand we decided to focus on was the line of ‘Euroshopper’ products. Marketed by AMS Sourcing B.V., the Euroshopper line of products was put to market in 1996, and the brand includes common commodities of ‘high quality at low prices.’ Euroshopper products are currently sold in 16 countries across Europe, and they generate approximately € 500 million in retail sales.
For the ‘sender’ category, we conducted interviews with two managers of ICA, the grocery chain in Sweden that distributes Euroshopper products. But first, we decided to check out the brand values of Euroshopper as listed on the AMS website:
EURO SHOPPER™ brand values
• No-nonsense brand
• Good quality products at low prices
• The design reflects the product
• Value for money: low price, good value
• International brand recognition
• All basic commodity products available
This set of ‘values’ seems only to express the economic advantages of the product. There is little to no mention of qualitative qualities such as strong goodwill – for example, people buying Coca-Cola just because of the brand name. Instead, Euroshopper relies on cheap packaging and large volume in order to offer a decent-quality product at a low price. The bottom line of Euroshopper, then, is its quantitative value.
Cheap Packaging + Volume = Low Prices!
Marcus, one manager of ICA who we interviewed, mentioned that the consumers who buy Euroshopper are usually conscious of price. As common consumers of Euroshopper products he listed: consumers conscious of income, families with children, and students. The ‘no-nonsense’ approach Euroshopper takes lets the customer know exactly what he’s paying for. It is also interested to note that the ICA stores motto is ‘To Inspire Food and Health,’ and the Euroshopper brand does not really fit into that category. Rather, Euroshopper is a product offered to consumers as a strictly low-cost option.
Ola, the other manager we interviewed, stressed three components to Euroshopper: low price, cheap packaging, and good quality. Moreover, volume and packaging is what keeps the brand cheap. He added another group to Marcus’s list – immigrants. Ola noted that where there is a large population of immigrants, there are more Euroshopper products offered.
We also interviewed local students who knew of the Euroshopper brand. Our hypothesis was that the ‘Euro’ in the Euroshopper name would not evoke much sentiment concerning identity; rather, Euroshopper would merely be used as a cost-conscious alternative to premium products. Like Marcus mentioned, we figured students would pick Euroshopper solely on the low-price which the brand uses as its selling point.
Look at all those Crispy, Fried, Medium Quality Onions... Mmmmm!
This hypothesis was supported by the interviewing of two local students, Emilia (Polish) and Carsten (German). When asked about Euroshopper, Emilia immediately exclaimed “Hot Cocoa!” She mentioned that she purchased the brand because she favored Euroshopper’s hot cocoa over the ICA brand. Therefore, value was the driving factor for Emilia.
Carsten, however, was focused mainly on price. He claimed that he usually purchases Euroshopper products “because they are cheap,” and quality is less of a driving factor than price. Neither Carsten nor Emilia mentioned any connection between Euroshopper and European identity – the choice to purchase the brand was based on either value or price alone.
The above observations have led us to a variety of interesting comparisons between the Euroshopper product and the EU. After all, Euroshopper is a transnational brand that is produced within the 16 member-states which make up its market-share. Firstly, the brand is sold most in part to its ‘high value, low cost” marketing technique. We found this similar to the Treaty of Rome 1957, which created a common market among the Western European countries. The treaty connected these countries on purely economic incentive, just as Euroshopper is sold on strictly cost-conscious marketing (i.e. no-nonsense brand).
Secondly, we found it interesting that Ola mentioned that areas with large numbers of immigrants have large numbers of Euroshopper products. If immigrants are buying Euroshopper over local goods, this may highlight that they are willing to go with more ‘European’ products than those produced by local vendors. Though this could be primarily driven by price, we suggest that it might be the case that immigrants do not have the same bond to local venders that national citizens may have. This brings to mind a supra-national vs. national distinction, and Fligstein’s arguments that Eastern immigrants fueling Western economies are more willing to identity as Europeans than those staying in their respective nations.
Finally, keeping this supra-national and national distinction in mind, we questioned the role Euroshopper had to play in the facilitation or hindering of supranationalism (i.e. Europeaness). We will use the example of a travelling student to emphasize this conundrum. Let’s say a student goes travelling to a country outside of his own. He goes into the supermarket to buy food, and he sees the Euroshopper brand of his favorite food product. The fact that the Euroshopper brand is even available presents a hindrance to local producers. This can be compared to the EU’s policies of open borders creating employment difficulties for those on the national level. Now, let’s say the student buys the Euroshopper product for his lunch, so that he can use the money he saves to go out to a local restaurant in the evening. In this sense, the Euroshopper brand is facilitating the student’s local immersion on the national level. Thus, the supra-national aids the experience of the national level, and they work hand-in-hand (because if not for the Euroshopper price value, the student may not have been able to afford a local restaurant that night). This is clearly evidenced on a larger scale by policies such as open-borders, in which the supranational EU aids nations by allowing for a larger employment pool.
Euroshopper - A Transnational Product
In conclusion, although the Euroshopper brand may seem like a trivial source for identifying with transnational and national identities, the concept is not to be overlooked. The low-price of Euroshopper products creates incentives for consumers to pick the product that seem to override (or exclude entirely) concepts of identity. Such small case studies may be able to be used in the future as microcosmic examples of larger scale projects such as the EU.
- Gabriella and Michael