For bucatini, product differentiation had an unintended consequence.
- How is bucatini different from other kinds of pasta?
- What are three reasons that bucatini was one of the first kinds of pasta to be affected by the pandemic?
- Why does bucatini want to distinguish itself from other pasta products?
The Economic Idea: Product Differentiation
Businesses like to show their customers how they are different from other similar products. Called product differentiation, Coke says it tastes better than Pepsi and McDonald’s wants you to go there for its Big Mac instead of getting a Whopper at Burger King.
Similarly, bucatini is a special kind of pasta that even can be used as a straw. However, its differences made it the first to be affected by the pandemic.
Activity Goal: To become more familiar with product differentiation.
- Divide into groups, each with 3-5 students, or form pairs.
- Appoint a group leader who will run your discussion, a scribe to note what you discuss, and a reporter who will share your conclusions with the class.
- Create a new good or service that people in your class might need or want.
- Using detail, describe what you have created.
- Identify similar goods or services that might be competition.
- Tell how you will differentiate your good or service from the competition.
- Re-gather as a class.
- Each group should present what it created. Be sure to include how you’ve achieved product differentiation.
- Through a vote, the class could select what it would want to purchase.