Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mergers and Acquisitions

Number 39 on this list of things that make me feel bewildered and old: the new candy bars. About 2 hours into a four-hour bike ride today, I stopped at McCall's General Store (Boring, OR's finest, and your best local source for plaster statues of eagles attacking mountain lions and hats that say 'git 'er done'). I grew up in Boring, and remember McCall's as a magical fantasyland of candy, where anything you could possibly think of could be found. Unlike most of those 'you can't go back' things, the glamour of McCall's candy bar aisle is just as vivid today as it was in my childhood. I saw bars there that I thought had disappeared from the market years ago (Clark's Bar, Rocky Road, U-no, Lik-M-Sticks).

There was also a raft of new candy bars that looked like they had been genetically engineered by the spiritual heirs of those guys in the old Reese's commercials whose peanutbutter and chocolate accidentally collided. I can't even remember the names of these things. All of them were packaged as some mutation of another, dominant bar (Reese's, etc.).

Used to be back in the day when someone invented a new candy bar, it had a whole new name, new concept - - even if some of the ingredients were similar to other candy bars, there were only vague, half-assed attempts to cross market. Even Milky Way, which was just Snickers without nuts, got its own whole look and shtick - and Milky Way/Snickers with nothing but nougat was sold, for reasons entirely unknown, as 3 Musketeers. Did the utter lack of content in this candy bar somehow help swashbuckling highwaymen achieve peak performance? In what way was nougat with caramel more like the starry night sky? Why, if nuts were added to the caramel and nougat, was the result apparently mirth?

Anyway, out of curiosity, I did buy one of the frankenbars. I have no memory at all of its name - it was packaged like a Reese's product, but was actually an unholy amalgam of Reese's peanutbutter cup, Butterfinger and Nestle Crunch. Tasty, but just...wrong. Equally troubling - those bags of chips containing multiple different kinds of chip in them, but all in weird, stunted sizes and peppered with ranch.

2 Comments:

Blogger PastaQueen said...

It's nice to know there are some "independent" candy bars out there. read recently that 80% of the world's chocolate is supplied by Hershey's or Mars, so it must be a hard market to break into.

8:44 AM  
Blogger littlem said...

"Did the utter lack of content in this candy bar somehow help swashbuckling highwaymen achieve peak performance? In what way was nougat with caramel more like the starry night sky? Why, if nuts were added to the caramel and nougat, was the result apparently mirth?"

*dissolves in helpless laughter*

"Anyway, out of curiosity, I did buy one of the frankenbars. I have no memory at all of its name - it was packaged like a Reese's product, but was actually an unholy amalgam of Reese's peanutbutter cup, Butterfinger and Nestle Crunch. Tasty, but just...wrong. Equally troubling - those bags of chips containing multiple different kinds of chip in them, but all in weird, stunted sizes and peppered with ranch."

Dear, oh, dear.

I'm afraid I'm just lost.

Perhaps I've been reading a bit too much Anthony Bourdain (sue me :D - a bad boy who cooks?) but -- what happened to fish? Apples?

Vodka on the rocks?

9:31 PM  

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