Sunday, December 21, 2008

100 Calorie Packs? Half a Good Idea.

Product extensions are often like hair extensions: clearly artificial attempts to project an evolved appearance. Is that too lofty? How about this: they are crap, a whole lot of the time.

There are some that are genius and make great sense—like the Sour Patch family, which has grown and multiplied in all sorts of delightful ways. And those Snickers Ice Cream bars taste as if God’s own hands created them. Other times? We are left with Mountain Dew Red. Or Twizzlers Rainbow Twists. Sad sack attempts to stay current with the younger set. Shame on you, Twizzlers. Very undignified of a quote-unquote prestige candy brand.

On that note, we went into the supermarket the other day and saw something that stopped us dead in our tracks: there was about a half-acre of 100 Calorie packs. Everything from Pecan Sandies to Ritz Bits. The question isn’t why companies are doing this: everybody’s a whore and everybody who is paying them is fat and consciously so. Ergo, these small portioned packages that will eventually smother our landfills.

Our question, rather, is this: who decided it was 100 calories and not, say, a more realistic number like 200 calories? With 100 calories, they have shrunken Oreos down to the point that they resemble chocolate communion wafers. One Hundred calories of Yodels is like, a crumb and a scratch-and-sniff photograph of an actual yodel. One Hundred Calorie Fritos? A paper origami Frito that dissolves in water and makes a salty drink. (Surprisingly enough, that one sells very well in Tibet.)

Someone screwed this one up. Clearly. Obviously. Royally. But we are willing to let them off the hook, because the economy is as lousy as lousy can get. While you contemplate that statement we will discuss divvying up the contents of a 900-calorie package of Maynard’s wine gums, next time we meet.

Counting calories? Like Gerard and Nothing, that’s our middle name.

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