The new trend for unwrapped and miniature sized candy bars is practically designed to tempt you into eating more than you should and can destroy all your weight loss goals.
Oh, It’s Nothing!
Back in the old days you had a regular size Snickers (or some other) bar and were done with it, because the assumption was that having one of those bricks was designed to exactly fill a snack-size hole.
Then the regular Snickers and all those other candy bars acquired toddler-sized siblings that looked harmless and innocent, often appropriately named “bite size.” And what, I ask you, is a single bite?
Nothing, or almost nothing, and that deviously plays on a psychological mechanism: you much easier lose track of how many you already had. Where the original, regular size candy bars each signified “this is it,” the minute variant says “it’s just a single one, you can have another.” It creates some real portion confusion.
Let’s Forget The Wrapper
Of course, when you look at the picture at the top of this article, you’ll notice that those mini Milky Ways are in individual wrappers. With those, as a last resort, you could at least guiltily count the empty ones already on the table when the latest episode of CSI North Pole was over.
However, that those wrappers are an unnecessary inconvenience between the consumer and the candy was not lost on manufacturers. They are well aware of studies noting that even the smallest obstacle between treat and eater can lead to eating less (PDF). Therefore, during this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, many introduced so-called “chocolate bags” – bags with petite versions of their usual candies, but unwrapped.
Despite the bla about changing consumer habits an industry representative told the Tribune for the above article, it really is all designed to let you give in to temptation as soon as it hits you. Hershey, when asked by the Wall Street Journal, was quite frank about it:
Hershey Co. learned that individual wrappers on bite-size candy were getting in the way of people eating candy in certain settings, like in the car. The company responded with Reese’s Minis, a small, unwrapped version of its classic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, in a resealable bag. It facilitates “I-can-pop-one-in-my-mouth, on-the-go type of behavior,” says Michele Buck, senior vice president and chief growth officer for Hershey.
Many people already have a huge problem with portion control and mindless eating and this certainly doesn’t make it easier. You have to remember that every bite counts, no matter how big or small, and that you always have to keep track!
On the upside, if psychological tricks work for candy manufacturers, they can also work for you!
Picture courtesy of Ray Bouknight.