An article in the Metro recently stated that, in a blind taste test, 80% of participants couldn't tell the difference between a supermarket's £6 bottle of Cava Brut and the big name Champagnes at upward of £30. I mentioned this on Facebook stating it as further proof of my "emperor's new clothes" theory regarding Champagne - my mother has always insisted it’s overrated and I agree - and received a surprising amount of feedback from friends with several saying that one of the leading big name Champagnes is, and I quote, "shit". Apparently every year it's supermarkets' own brands that come out top in taste tests. Why, then, do people shell out considerably more money for an equal or inferior product?
Take bottled water for example. I get irritated by restaurant waiting staff who ask if I'd like sparkling or still water. Obviously, it's a trick question designed to get us to fork out upwards of a fiver for bottled water. I ask for tap water. Tap water is perfectly potable and tastes fine in the UK and I refuse to allow restaurant staff to make me feel cheap to boost their profits when I'm already in their restaurant paying for food, wine and service.
It makes me wonder: Why are we so easily influenced to spend silly money when something much less expensive – or in the case of water, free! - would be just as good if not even better?
Here's a question for you: If I was holding a Champagne party at my house and I asked you to bring a bottle, how long would you spend choosing it and how much would you spend?
Here's a slightly different question: If I was holding a Champagne party at my house and I asked you to bring a bottle and I categorically instructed all of my guests IN ADVANCE to remove all labels from the Champagne, bring it in a brown paper bag, pool the bottles together on the kitchen worktop upon arrival, and stated that guests are forbidden to discuss which drink they brought, how long would you take choosing it and how much would you spend?
Did your answers differ? Does this help us to understand our reasons for buying branded products? Feedback and comments invited. :o)