I know I’m not the only person in the world who experiences this: I fall in love with a TV show or a product, and suddenly it gets yanked and is no longer available. Sometimes it works out well for me. For example, when Abbott stopped selling the Wild Berry flavor of Ensure, I was forced to try other flavors. I’ve now developed a love for the Butter Pecan and Coffee Latte flavors. I wish I could say the same about the TV shows that I now miss.
For the last few months, I’ve been trying to find the wonderful fiber product Benefiber at my usual stores. It’s gone from the shelves. Why? Where is it? How could Novartis discontinue this wonderful product? What’s going on?
I decided to go right to the source: the manufacturer, Novartis. A search of the Novartis website press room revealed nothing. An internet search sent me to sites where consumers like me were asking the same questions about this product. They also had suggestions for replacement products in case Benefiber never returned to stores.
Novartis must have a plan or something. I returned to their website and found the name of a Media Relations contact: Julie Masow. I sent her an e-mail asking my questions so that I could write about Benefiber here on this blog. Then I waited. She replied the same day, but I didn’t check my e-mail again until almost a week later. Her quick response was a nice surprise.
Contrary to what I’d been reading on other websites, Novartis had not recalled Benefiber. What had been recalled were products made in the same manufacturing facility in Lincoln, Nebraska which Novartis voluntarily shut down in January 2012. Will Benefiber ever return to stores? Following is Julie’s response ("NCH" is Novartis Consumer Health):
“…NCH continues to perform upgrades and improve processes and procedures at its manufacturing facility to ensure it meets high quality standards. As a result, we are experiencing a supply disruption of products like Benefiber. We are working as quickly as we can to return these products back to store shelves. We appreciate the patience and loyalty of our consumers and retail partners, and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience the absence of these products has caused.”
Thank you, Julie Masow! Not only a quick reply but a thorough reply to my questions. This only increases my loyalty to Benefiber. Consumers appreciate it when companies acknowledge and respect our support and loyalty for their products and services. I love Benefiber and hope to see it back on store shelves soon.
How I wish every product that I love and that disappears from store shelves has suffered a supply disruption and will return soon. Another product I love that hasn’t been available all of a sudden is Yoplait’s Thick and Creamy Blueberry Pie yogurt. I wonder what happened to it? I love the thick and creamy custard style yogurts, and I think some of the Greek yogurts on the market are similar without the extra added sugar. But as a replacement for the Yoplait Blueberry Pie yogurt? I sincerely hope it doesn’t come to that, but they stopped making a wonderful lemon meringue pie flavor that’s not returned….