Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
- pare / pɛər / (v) – to cut or reduce the size or quantity of something
The grocery pared its expenses by reducing its operating hours.
- in-demand / ɪn dɪˈmænd / (adj) – wanted or needed by many
She’s one of the most in-demand actresses of her generation.
- put off / pʊt ɔf / (phrasal) – to do something at a later time
The organizers decided to put off the event because of the upcoming typhoon.
- narrow / ˈnær oʊ / (adj) – having a limited range or variety
We didn’t buy any ice cream because there was only a very narrow range of flavors to choose from.
- expedite / ˈɛk spɪˌdaɪt / (v) – to make something happen faster
She paid extra to expedite the shipping of the goods.
Read the text below.
Big food companies have pared down their product variety to speed up the production of their most popular items.
In the last few months, quarantines implemented in several countries have caused a surge in demand for some products from major food brands. To ensure that they have enough stock to meet this increase, companies like General Mills, Mondelēz, and PepsiCo have decided to streamline their production process and focus their resources on in-demand products.
A General Mills executive said that offering fewer products makes the process of supplying goods faster and less complicated. The move also allows businesses to concentrate their marketing and distribution efforts.
Currently, Mondelēz is making fewer flavors of Oreos, one of its highest-selling products. The president of the company’s North American branch said that the company has put off the production of new Oreo flavors to keep up with the demand for regular Oreos.
Likewise, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay has been offering a narrower range of potato chips and other snacks since March. According to one company executive, Frito-Lay began simplifying its offerings to expedite production. The executive added, however, that the company has recently resumed making some varieties, like light-salted and extra spicy chips.
According to packaged food specialist David Driscoll, despite the reduction in variety driven by the health crisis, it is likely that many companies will return to their regular production soon. He said that consumers will be looking for new varieties by December, which could prompt big food companies to produce new products in the second half of the year.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
• Do you think that making fewer products is a wise business move? Why or why not?
• If a company needs to cut down its product variety, how should it decide which ones to keep? Discuss.
• What types of products need more variety in your opinion (e.g. clothes, phones)?
• Which do you think is better, having a wide variety of products or having only a few really high quality products? Discuss.