Friday, April 6, 2007

Candy Bar Reloaded

Like many Silicon Valley companies, the company I work at stocks various snacks in the coffee rooms. Honestly, most of us nerds have it pretty good. My parents were lucky if they got drinkable coffee.

Lately, they've been stocking various candy bars, usually of the "mini" variety. I was never really a big consumer of candy bars in my youth, but nowadays, the lure of the "Milky Way Midnight Mini" is sometimes too hard to resist.

While chewing on my Milky Way at my desk, I started thinking about the vast variety of candy bars available today, and how they tend to stick to a standard set of "components", like caramel, nougat, and peanuts. Hershey’s recently introduced the "Take 5" bar which claims to have 5 components packed inside a protective chocolate coating, but 3 of those ingredients are in fact, caramel, peanut butter and chocolate. Clearly, I needed to create a matrix of candy bars and their core components, and see if there were any obvious holes in the matrix for me to capitalize on (there's already a patent for a candy bar that uses tortilla chips, so that's already a missed opportunity).

After consulting my favorite resource, Wikipedia, I realized that a comprehensive matrix would be nearly impossible, or at least a massive waste of my time, so I decided to just concentrate on the most common candy bars made by the big three: Mars, Hershey and Nestle (my apologies to Cadbury, Necco, and the rest). I decided to only use candy bars available in the USA, thus omitting bars like Nestle’s Coffee Crisp (available in Canada), and discontinued bars (like the USA version of the Mars Bar, now replaced by “Snickers Almond”). And, because I needed to keep this under 20 pages, I decided to skip bars that are basically just chocolate, and omit “variations”, so “Key Lime Almond Joy" is not included, among a million other varietals. In short, this matrix is largely useless. But you’ve read this far, so what’s one more giant table?





ChocolateCaramelNougatNuts (inc.
peanuts)
Peanut
Butter
Cookies
(inc. wafers, pretzels)
Crispy RiceCoconutMintToffeeTaffyFruit (inc.
raisins)
Marshmallow
3 Musketeersx
x









5th Avenuex


x







100
Grand Bar
xx



x





After
Eight
x






x



Almond
Joy
x

x


x




Babe
Ruth
xxxx








Bit-O-Honey


x





x

Butterfingerx


x







Chunkyx

x






x
Crunchx




x





Fast
Break
x
x
x







Heathx







x


KitKatx



x






Krakelx




x





Milky Wayxxx









Moundsx





x




Mr.
Goodbar
x

x








NutRageousxx
xx







Oh
Henry
xx
x








PayDay
x
x








Reese’s
Peanut
Butter Cups
x


x







Roloxx










Skorx







x


S’moresx



x





x
Snickersxxxx








Take
5
xx
xxx






Twixxx


x






Whatchamacallitxx

x







Wonkax



x






Yorkx






x



Zero
Bar

xxx










What can we take away from this matrix, besides the fact that I am an expert on wasting my own time?

  • The Hershey S’mores Bar should be discontinued because it messes up my matrix
  • There really is no obvious difference between a Skor bar and a Heath bar, even though they are manufactured by the same company.
  • Bars that are not covered in chocolate are in the minority, probably for good reason.
  • I should probably remove Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Rolo, and the York Peppermint because they are in fact, not “bars”.

After a short perusal of the matrix, I came up with the following three bars, which I will patent tomorrow:

Sugar Death: Chocolate, Caramel and Toffee
Chomp: Chocolate, Peanuts and Crispy Rice
Messy: Nougat covered in Caramel (no chocolate coating!)

3 comments:

Ken said...

Dan, the table is getting cutoff after the "crispy rice" column. :( And there's no horizontal scrollbar!

This happens in both Firefox and Safari.

Dan said...

Damnit. Thank you Ken, I'll fix this.

Dan said...

Well, I officially suck at HTML.