Navigating the label jungle Thursday, 16 February, 2012 Labels have invaded our shelves. Every single product bears its own logo that makes numerous promises—but lately a lot of other logos have been popping up on bottles and boxes: green, organic, local, fair trade and so on. Labels should give us a better understanding of what we’re buying, but they’re also powerful marketing tools. Do they really guarantee what they’re guaranteeing? And with so many out there, how is a consumer to keep it all straight? ABE, the Consumer Show investigates:
ABE: Antioxidants or pesticides—what's in your green tea? Thursday, 15 December, 2011 The tea market is booming in Switzerland. Shops are popping up everywhere, hoping to introduce you to the art of tea and all its subtleties. But you don’t always know what else might be lurking in your tea leaves. ABE, the Consumer Show tests some commonly sold brands of green tea—particularly trendy at the moment—for traces of pesticide and antioxidant content with some shocking results:
Video on demand: Too good to be true? Thursday, 1 December, 2011 First VHS, and then DVDs lured us out of movie theaters. Now VOD, or video on demand, services have eliminated the need to move away from the television at all. A few clicks of the remote control and the opening credits are rolling in your own home theater. But as good as it sounds, the offer isn’t always worth the price of membership. ABE, the Consumer Show looks into VOD services available in Switzerland:
What's really in your lamb kebab? Thursday, 17 November, 2011 Lamb? Think again. It would seem your odds of a lamb kebab purchased in the Swiss Romand actually containing lamb, and only lamb, are slim. ABE, the Consumer Show sent kebabs ordered from restaurants across French-speaking Switzerland to the lab and found that—knowingly or not—nearly all of the vendors are deceiving their customers:
Big savings await cross-border car buyers Thursday, 20 October, 2011 Price differences between Switzerland and its European neighbours have become even more exaggerated with the decline of the euro. This is especially true for certain European-made cars. ABE, the Consumer Show takes out the calculator and figures out how you can avoid being fleeced:
Toxins in a bottle (or a can) Thursday, 22 September, 2011 ABE, the Consumer Show has been investigating Bisphenol A or BPA—a controversial plastic compound and synthetic hormone that’s found in everyday plastic items—for two years now. Some research shows that it can have serious negative health consequences, but the evidence is contradictory and keeps changing. Several countries and now the EU have decided to ban BPAs at least in baby bottles, but Switzerland has not followed suit. So what’s a consumer to do?
ABE: Chemical-free packaging won't come cheap Thursday, 15 September, 2011 The Consumer Show continues its investigation into potentially dangerous chemical migration from packaging into our foods. This week the team looks at what’s being done to combat it—and the solutions currently on the table are not terribly satisfying. Regular inspections and media attention have gotten some of the worst offenders pulled from store shelves on a case-by-case basis, but more comprehensive solutions are generally seen as too impractical or too pricey:
ABE unwraps dangerous food packaging Thursday, 8 September, 2011 The Consumer Show team investigates the migration of potentially dangerous mineral oils and chemicals from cardboard packaging into much of the food we eat—from rice, pasta, biscuits and cereals to frozen foods. And researchers have uncovered at least one surprising culprit: recycled paper.
As consumers buy cheaper meat abroad, Swiss butchers want cuts Friday, 2 September, 2011 Ten percent of meat eaten in Switzerland is bought abroad, says the Swiss Meat Association. And with the Swiss franc gaining 25 percent in value against the euro in recent years, the rise in shopping tourism has exploded. Two years ago, about 600 million francs worth of meat was brought abroad. This year, the figure is expected to be about a billion francs—and Swiss butchers near the border are feeling it. At a press conference in Zurich, the Swiss Meat Association called for a range of measures to cut back on bureaucracy, including fewer controls and fines. WRS’s Vincent Landon reports:
ABE gets rolling with electric bikes Thursday, 1 September, 2011 Our new consumer show, an English translation of TSR’s popular TV programme A Bon Entendeur, kicks off with a report on electric bicycles—from the advantages climbing up those steep Swiss hills and whizzing through gridlocked city streets to one big inherent danger: speed. Plus the winners and losers as the team tests 13 e-bikes available on the market. Download/Print Test Results (PDF)
Cross-border car sales soaring Thursday, 9 December, 2010 New car sales in Switzerland are up nearly 10 percent, but with a strong franc some customers are looking outside Switzerland for cars from Germany or Italy. The number of cars bought on direct import is up nearly 70 percent from last year. WRS’s Alex Helmick asks Andreas Burgener with Auto Schweiz what is responsible for this increase in direct car imports:
That cup of coffee might cost you more tomorrow Tuesday, 2 November, 2010 Wake up, smell the coffee and check your wallet. This week Bern coffee-roasting giant Blaser Cafe is expected to announce higher prices for the coming year. Other roasters have already announced hikes, blaming the price of raw coffee. As WRS’s Tony Ganzer reports, this might not affect the price of your morning cup of java just yet, but roasters are fretting:
Ski lift prices headed up, up, up Thursday, 28 October, 2010 Dig out the woolly hat, limber up and check your wallet. The snow’s coming down and ski lifts prices are going up. Gstaad is increasing prices by CHF 4, while St Moritz blames rising costs and increased federal taxes for a hike of between 2 and 3 percent. For a more detailed explanation, WRS’s Jo Fahy called on Marc Ziegler, director of education at Swiss Cableways, the umbrella group for ski lift operators:
Supermarket race for shoppers shaken up by convenience Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 The arrival of German discounters Aldi and Lidl in Switzerland in recent years has shaken up the cosy duopoly enjoyed by Coop and Migros. Both of the established retails giants have made significant price cuts since 2005, and earlier this week Migros announced it would not meet the growth targets it had set this year because of those price cuts. But shopper habits are changing too—more and more people are choosing to shop online or in a quick convenience store. WRS reporter Vincent Landon takes a look at the changing retail landscape.
BMW snubs bargain-hunting Swiss consumers Wednesday, 27 October, 2010 BMW has reportedly been telling its dealerships in Germany and other neighboring EU countries, not to sell to Swiss buyers who’ve come over the border to take advantage of deals there—especially given the newly strong franc. Now Switzerland’s competition commission (COMCO) has opened an investigation into BMW, saying buying outside of Switzerland should be allowed. For more details, WRS’s Conor Lennon called up Christian Schürer, a journalist with Kassensturz on Swiss-German television’s SF1, which broke the story: