Tag Archives: candy

Dissecting the Bulgarian Chocolate Bar

My name is Annie and I have a weird habit. Whenever I travel to another country, I like to collect up as many chocolate bars that I don’t recognize as possible. I don’t collect Mars Bars or Snicker Bars or M&Ms. The more unpronounceable the name, the better. And with my recent trip to Bulgaria to speak at the ESOMAR BAMOR event, did I ever get a lot of unpronounceable names!

In Canada and the US, the range of chocolate bars is crazy. Peanut this, caramel that,  nouget over there. The combinations of ingredients never end. The interesting thing though is that in Bulgaria, there is definitely a checklist of to-dos when creating a chocolate bar. The flavours may be oh so slightly different, but the general design is identical. And here it is.

  • Bulgarian chocolate barsMost are more accurately described as wafer bars, not chocolate or candy bars
  • In between the wafers are thin layers of filling, perhaps icing or jam
  • Most bars remain crispy though the jam styles are completely soft
  • The bars are very lightly sweetened
  • Some have a very thin chocolate coating, thin enough that you can easily see the wafers through the chocolate
  • The chocolate coating melts extremely quickly in your fingers
  • If the underside is dipped in chocolate, it remains rough and untidy as opposed to glossy smooth

Out of the 19 chocolate bars I managed to find, most of them scored 3 or 4 on a five point scale. Two of them scored 2 out of 5, and the worst worst worst of all, was the one you see pictured below. 1 out of 5 is me just being polite.  But, you can see every essential feature of a Bulgarian chocolate bar in this image.

If you ever go to Bulgaria, buy every chocolate bar… but this one. 🙂

Research should be like gummy vitamins #MRX

IMAG0444 IMAG0443I hate vitamins. I hate the big fat pills you have to swallow and I hate the bad taste of the chewable vitamins despite the supposedly wonderful fruity flavours. But this form of self-medication is recommended by doctors and no matter how terrible they taste, I ought to take them.

Fortunately, now there are these lovely things called gummy vitamins for adults. I’ve been staring at them in the stores for a long time. No doubt, they taste fabulous but it disappoints me that they don’t contain all the vitamins that they ought to.

For instance, the gummy vitamins don’t contain any iron. Why not you ask? Well, I checked on the internet (everything on the internet is true) and it seems that the lack of iron is to ensure that should a child find a large bottle of “candy” just sitting around, that they don’t overdose on iron.  Makes sense to me.

Well, I finally broke down and bought a bottle. I removed the safety seal and ate the prescribed dose of vitamins. Wow… Yum… They really do taste like candy. I closed the lid and stared at the bottle. Yum. Would two more hurt? Couldn’t possibly. But I shouldn’t. But would two more really matter? Nah. I stared at the bottle for a while longer and finally put it away. That’s why they don’t include iron in the adult gummy vitamins. Not because kids might OD on them, but because adults like me might OD on them.

And so we get to research. Doctors all around the world prescribe research as a valid and reliable method of learning more about consumers and brands. Heck, as a PhD qualified researcher, I prescribe large doses of research for myself all the time. But, if people are going to self-medicate with research, those without the appropriate academic qualifications and without dedicated on-the-job experience and training, need to have the iron removed. The dangerous parts of research should be safely tucked away to prevent harm as much as possible.

Without the appropriate training, DIY tools, like survey programs, sampling systems, statistical analysis and charting programs, should be carefully locked away to prevent surveys from being written incorrectly, samples drawn incorrectly, statistics interpreted incorrectly, and charts prepared incorrectly. If the “candy” can’t be consumed, then it can’t cause any damage.

For the safety and security of brand measurements, are you willing to lock it all up?

I can haz survey incentive? #MRX

Boston Smells Like Candy

OMG! I have never been to a city like this! The second I stepped off the subway, my nose entertained the most glorious smells I ever have smelled! Every street corner, whether there was a restaurant, a bakery, or nothing at all, offered the most tantalizing smells! After being teasd for three hours, I finally ended up having fish cakes and beans at Quincy Market, the most delighful ‘food court’ I’ve been to. Later on, I couldn’t resist buying the treat you see below. I paid through the nose but it was worth it!

For some strange reason, I am a fan of cemeteries and Boston has several in the city proper worthy of being historical sites. What a treat for me! Stones as old as 1666! The Freedom Trail is a great way to commemorate the many brave people who defied social status rules and made the US what it is today. I’m canadian but I was still feeling the pride and patriotism.

And the real reason I’m in Boston – Tomorrow is Edwarde Tufte day. Yay! Maybe he will help me figure out why economists have predicted more recessions than we’ve actually had (third image). It’s a good way to remind yourself that correct positives are great, but you can’t ignore false positives when evaluating accuracy.

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