Quality and Value - Food and Beverage Today
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Food and Beverage Today shows the importance of quality and value in todays marketplace


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Quality and Value

So Important Today


e are living in interesting times; historic, to be sure: first African-American U.S. president; a lingering war on a terror with an enemy that is hard to see; and a global economic epidemic with effects not seen since the Great Depression almost 80 years ago.

Our economic situation is reaching far and wide – disabling businesses of all types, disrupting utilities, and forcing budget cuts across many municipal, city, county, and state governments. In fact, our economic situation has spread, creating not just a domestic crisis, but impacting the global economy as well, truly limiting the ability to do business as usual.

Consumer spending is down in almost all retail sectors. The news during the recent holiday season was bleak. Retail and restaurant giants (Linens & Things, Circuit City, Bennigans, etc.) with huge market presence and household recognition have either shuttered their doors or filed to restructure. US unemployment was at 7.2% to start 2009, and as of today – 3 months later – it sits at 8.1%. Some analysts are predicting that number to reach as high as 9%this year, and CNN reports that 36% of its poll respondents claim unemployment to be the biggest issue facing Americans. It seems like every day, big US companies are announcing massive job cuts. Alcoa, Microsoft, Caterpillar, Pfizer, Home Depot, and Sprint are among the latest to announce large layoffs. A recent Bloomberg report claims the economy has lost 4.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. The list goes on and keeps getting longer.

Dismal, cloudy, murky, hopeless, desolate – these are some of the adjectives people are becoming accustomed to seeing & hearing. Not everyone or every company is associating these dark adjectives to their lives or businesses – so what are they doing that we can learn from? Two attributes that are enabling some to endure these troubled times are ‘quality,’ and ‘value.’

Quality is typically an attribute that is understood differently by different people. While it is perceptual, conditional and a somewhat subjective attribute, the term quality is generally thought of to refer to the non-inferiority or superiority of something.

Value is another, perhaps more subjective attribute. With many definitions, contexts, and theories supporting them, the term “value” has puzzled economists and others for centuries. Some high profiles such as John Ruskin, Karl Marx, and even Gandhi have had a say in what the term “value” means. In the consumer world, value refers to the market worth or estimated worth of products, commodities, services, etc., and is also defined as “wealth maximization.” Wealth maximization, according to Wikipedia, predicts that a person will choose to obtain the good or service in the place where it is cheapest, where the amount given up is the least.

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