Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sperry Candy Company

During the Great Depression, the Sperry Candy Company introduced a timely confection of nuts and chocolate and named it Chicken Dinner, reports Steve Almond in the Wall Street Journal (5/1/09). "Sad to say, Chicken Dinner did not include any actual chicken parts," writes Steve, adding, "But why would a confectioner name a chocolate bar after a Sunday meal?" Well, maybe because it thought carnivores might like an alternative to Vegetable Sandwich, which had been introduced about ten years earlier.Vegetable Sandwich was, in fact, made with vegetables -- "dehydrated celery, peas and carrots covered in chocolate. while it's true that the Vegetable Sandwich probably lived up to its marketing tag -- 'will not constipate' -- it never quite caught on with the public."

 However, Sperry Candy Company was sufficiently satisfied with the success of Chicken Dinner (the label depicted a "steaming chicken"), that it line-extended with "bars called Chicken Spanish, Denver Sandwich and Club Sandwich."Not surprisingly, the Great Depression gave a huge boost to the candy business, with "more than 30,000 distinct brands" introduced.

Back then, many of the bars were regional, sometimes tailored to local tastes and ingredients. That phase ended with the consolidation "by industrial giants such as Hershey and Mars." But what hasn't changed is the marketing of "quick caloric fixes" as meal replacements (e.g., Snickers Satisfies). The concept is of course a perfect fit for today's economy, which as Steve Almond points out, is not lost on fast-food companies, either. "In hard times," he writes, "Americans remain more or less kids in a candy shop."

I want all of you to know that this kind of trickery is not what I have been talking about! It seems that everyone want to get in on the Grocery, C-store Home meal replacement program! I for one think we are moving in the right direction. Here sure are some areas that need improvement! Packaging I bought three items at the Albertson's deli and the trash filled my garage can! How can this be. The packaging cost more than the food. The food did not fit in the packaging, I bought items for two and the packaging could fit food for four!

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