More Less Junky Candy
Halloween is one week from today. Look at me being ahead of the game for once. In the past I’ve railed against the state of candy, I’ve shared some of my favorite candies, and I’ve even suggested some alternatives to mass market candy.
You could even say I’ve been on a candy kick lately. You can blame Uncle Sam’s for hosting the Yelp event, and exposing me to their salted black licorice buttercrunch. That led me to start looking for other unusual candies, like Buffalo’s sponge candy and Rome’s turkey joints.
I just picked up my first pack of Panda black licorice in a long time. The four ingredient ethos is indeed admirable, but I would prefer it with a bit more of an anise punch. And as long as I’m being picky, perhaps a bit firmer too. But like I’ve said before, I’m not really a candy person.
Still, we’re entering candy season, and I have one more recent discovery to share about something that should be appealing to more mainstream tastes.
Before we talk candy, we have to first talk about Trader Joe’s. Because there are still people out there who don’t quite get it. And that’s fine. It took me years to fall in love with TJs. My first few trips down the aisles, I wasn’t seeing any real values. Things seemed to cost about the same as I could find elsewhere, and I had no reason to trust any of the private label store brands would be worth a damn.
Over time, not only did I try some of the house branded items, but I fell in love with them. Yes, they may have been the same price as equivalent products in the supermarket, but many of them were better. Sure, some of them weren’t. However, the products I loved became staples.
Let me tell you, it’s a dark day indeed when TJs runs out of frozen mango. No other frozen mango comes close.
So how can you tell the good stuff from the simply meh? It takes an adventurous spirit, which involves some trial and error. But TJs also has a strong sampling program.
Had it not been for the free samples at Trader Joe’s, I never would have picked up the new Boffo Bar. For starters, it’s a candy bar, so I wouldn’t have given it a second glance. However, since I have had candy on my mind lately, I decided to give it a try.
The Boffo Bar is exactly what a Snickers Bar should be, but isn’t.
In the world of junky candies, Snickers actually isn’t the worst. Some candies are chock full of artificial colors, PGPR, artificial flavors, preservatives, partially hydrogenated oils, and substitute chocolatey coating for what should be actual chocolate.
Snickers is only guilty of the artificial flavors and partially hydrogenated oils.
But still, the mass market manufacturers would have the American public believe that there is no way to effectively make their products without these sneaky, profit enhancing ingredients. Their argument is that to produce a similar version with better ingredients would increase cost and compromise quality.
I’ve long called hogwash on such claims, but my arguments are bolstered when some competing product comes out and demonstrates otherwise.
Meet the Boffo Bar!
Its nougat is made with cane sugar, corn syrup, roasted peanuts, egg white powder, nonfat milk powder, malted barley, and salt. The caramel is corn syrup, whipping cream, milk, cane sugar, brown sugar, roasted peanuts, invert sugar, butter, palm oil, vanilla extract, and salt. And the milk chocolate coating is cane sugar, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, and milk, with soy lecithin and vanilla extract.
This full sized 1.8 oz bar, which is equivalent to the size of a standard Snickers, sells for the perfectly reasonable price of $.99 at Trader Joe’s.
Here’s a quick side by side analysis of the two.
Boffo Bar Calories: 240
Snickers Calories: 250
Boffo Bar Calories from Fat: 70
Snickers Calories from Fat: 110
Boffo Bar Total Fat: 8g
Snickers Total Fat: 12g
Boffo Bar Sat Fat: 4g
Snickers Sat Fat: 4.5g
Boffo Bar Sugars: 28g
Snicker Sugars: 27g
Boffo Bar Protein: 3g
Snickers Protein: 4g
Now all I wish was that Trader Joe’s actually had miniature fun sized Boffo Bars so we could give them out to the neighborhood kids. We’re not one of those families who give out full sized candy bars on Halloween. We already get enough trick-or-treaters as it stands. The last thing I want is word getting out that we’re a prime destination on our suburban street.
However, I am going to try and negotiate a trade in deal with Little Miss Fussy. I may offer an ounce by ounce exchange of her crappy preservative and artificial color packed candies for Boffo Bars.
And Young Master Fussy, who is aging out of the trick-or-treat tradition, may just get a fixed amount of these as compensation for helping distribute treats to those who come to our door.
I’m just thrilled to see better alternatives emerging to the dreck that fuels this juvenile bacchanalia.