Thursday, August 23, 2007

100 Calorie Packs - How Lazy Are We?

100 Calorie PacksI’ve noted over on Junk Food Blog the growing, and stupid, market for 100 Calorie Packs of food. While it make some sense when it comes to thinks like crackers, chips or cookies that usually come in large packages that make portion control difficult, it’s just plain ludicrous to reinvent the wheel when it comes to candy.

I was at the Ralph’s in Los Osos, California on vacation earlier this week when I spotted this display in the middle of the candy aisle. It’s advertising Mars’ new 100 Calorie Packs for 3 Musketeers, Twix and Milk Chocolate M&Ms.

For $2.50 (on sale, mind you) you get seven (7) servings and about 5 ounces of candy (depending on which one you pick).

While the box is nice and dare I say, elegant, for something like Twix Bars and M&Ms, it’s an awful lot of packaging and space.

Fun SizesBut turning around and looking at the shelf below are some crazy candies that have been around and marketed for “lunch dessert” for at least 20 years. They include eight (8) “fun size” bars, which are junior versions of the full sized candy bars, usually around 3/4 of an ounce and 80-100 calories. This Ralph’s had them on sale for $1.25 a package ($1.79 regularly) but I see them often for 88 cents a pack at the drug store.

So while some folks sit around and lament that it’s too hard to control their own portions and the extra packaging and expense is worth it in the fight against obesity, Mars is introducing a solution to a problem that doesn’t even exist in the candy world. Sure the “fun size bars” aren’t all exactly 100 calories, the Twix I looked at were actually 80 calories each, but isn’t the point that people want a treat and not too much temptation?

Yes, there might be math involved if you get the minis in order to create a 100 calorie portion, but hey, math burns calories too!

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POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:07 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewFun StuffNews

  1. Oh, don’t get me started on this topic…  I have been saying for quite a while now that all these 100 calorie packs help people to lose is money.  I am amazed that people will pay a premium for these pre-portioned bits and pay (sometimes) 100% more than if they just bought a normal bag of said snack and a box of sandwich bags and did it themselves.  Or, as you point out, utilize the already existing pre-portioned options already available! What’s worse, in the quest to fool the general public into believing that they are really eating a ‘sizable’ snack, these foods (and I’m really stretching it by calling these things food) are so loaded with chemicals they no longer represent the food they originated from.  Grrrrr!

    Comment by Maggi on 8/24/07 at 4:30 am #
  2. I rather like the 100 calorie packs

    It helps people portion their things
    All my friends who buy it love it

    Comment by Bebe on 8/25/07 at 10:11 am #
  3. I agree. 100 calorie packs are great and worth the extra money when it comes to things like cookies and crackers (I can’t have a bag open of anything in my house and sandwich bags just don’t cut it). But candy that’s already available in smaller portions? Come on. The only thing we can thank these companies for is bleeding us of our money.

    Comment by jessica on 9/10/07 at 2:31 am #
  4. Not only do I LOVE 100 calorie packs, but my daughter does as well!  They are the perfect portion size for a child and getting in a small snack.  They are especially wonderful for those of us on the go, who don’t always have time to portion out every single thing we eat.

    Comment by Katie on 9/10/07 at 8:26 am #
  5. I disagree I LOVE 100 calorie packs. They are perfect portion control. I have actually lost 30 lbs using these as my snacks. While I could buy a big bar and cut it up this is much easier and I won’t be tempted to eat the whole thing. I can a throw a few of these in my bag and whenever I am tempted say at work when they are eatting cake or something I have my perfect 100 calorie (or 2 weight watcher points) bag and I am happy!

    Comment by miss matilda on 9/12/07 at 3:04 am #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Miss Matilda, Bebe & Katie - I think you’re missing my point ... it’s one thing for a product that’s not normally available in small sizes to suddenly show up on shelves.

    These new boxes from M&M/Mars are MORE EXPENSIVE than the existing snack packs that have been around for decades.

    The packages contain the same amount of candy, why is one better at helping you control yourself if there are the same number of portions?

    I don’t understand the allure of the exact number 100 when there is a product that’s better priced (with more variety of choices) that actually has 20 fewer calories in this case.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/12/07 at 5:15 am #
  7. well 100 calories is exactly 2 Weight Watcher points. The small bars are horribly annoying as they are always an off number of calories and its hard to figure it with weight watchers. ( yes I can do math but opening multiple bars to make an even number is not good for someone watching what they are eatting) You have to have like 1 and 1/3rd of another to make it even points, which is how the system works.

    You know you don’t have to like them and you aren’t going to convince me they aren’t wonderful. You can not buy them and I will snatch up all the 2 point things I can find. :D

    Comment by miss matilda on 9/12/07 at 5:34 am #
  8. I’ll take the math of saving money over the math of having to figure out point sizes anyday!

    the cookie and chip ones do save me in the long run, b/c it helps me cut down how often i eat my snacks and therefore increases the longevity of the items in my cupboard (lord knows i’d still eat those doritos when they’re three weeks stale!) but with the candy i’m already buying at the dollar store it makes sense to stick it to the man if i can.

    of course, the man still wins b/c i’m buying the candy!

    Comment by mitt on 9/12/07 at 6:37 am #
  9. I bought a 100-cal pack of M&Ms; yesterday for the first time. I bought that product fully realizing that the cost was outrageous for what amounted to 7 Halloween-size backs in a nice box. The problem with the jumbo Halloween bags, though, is that if I’ve got a bag of 60 M&M packs sitting in the cupboard, I’m a lot more likely to chow down on them frequently. A small box of 7, though, makes me eat them less often. I’m not going to drive back to the store and buy another 7 servings—I am going to make these last and eat them only as special treats.

    It’s worth the extra $2 to get that little boost in self-control.

    Comment by Megan on 9/16/07 at 10:58 am #
  10. I think Cybele’s point that is that food that already comes in a small-portion size (e.g. the snack-size candybar) doesn’t need to be re-marketed (and made more expensive!) for that purpose.  But there is certainly candy that DOESN’T come pre-portioned in small servings, except at Halloween time—like M & Ms.  I’d LOVE to see available year-round 100-calorie packs of candy corn, skittles, Spree, Reeses pieces….  For me, any package of these things becomes a de facto “single-serving” package.  The issue isn’t just calorie control (though that’s relevant), a “normal” full-size individual package triggers cravings for me—but a smaller amount I can eat and be satisfied.

    Comment by good enough cook on 9/17/07 at 10:57 am #
  11. I love the idea of 100 calorie packs and I love the variety.  i will buy all the things I like.

    Comment by Mary-Frances on 9/18/07 at 7:30 am #
  12. Junk is Junk, no matter how many calories it has, that does not indicate in any way, shape or form how nutritious it is.

    Food should be nutritious. Otherwise it is junk. 100 calories or 1,000 calories, what matters is the nutrients in your food. Obesity occurs when you eat more calories when you burn, but that is not relevant to NUTRITION.

    If you only ate one of these 100-calorie snacks a day, you’d lose ALL KINDS OF WEIGHT… but you would still be MALNOURISHED.

    100 calories of trans fat will kill you. Bon Appetit!

    PS. The economic arguments above are accurate. You’re paying a premium because you can’t control your hand-to-mouth movement. Darwinism at its best…

    Comment by Wholegrain_veg on 9/20/07 at 2:59 am #
  13. I agree that the existing snack-size of Twix, etc. are better than the new ones, though I do love 100-calorie snacks in general. I also agree that it would be nice for “Halloween size” portions of treats to be available year-round. Last year, I got some Ritz bits packs—something like 70 calories each and no temptation of an open box. It’s easy for people to grouse about how all anyone needs is self-control, but it’s not that easy for all of us. I have lost 70 pounds in the past year, partly by buying smaller, pre-portioned snakcs. (And, yes, by working out and reading labels like crazy to count calories, too.) If they help people, in whatever way, I am glad they are available for anyone who wants to buy them.

    Comment by Kat on 9/24/07 at 4:09 am #
  14. I love the 100 Calorie Packs. I have been over weight most of my life. Most of my weight was because I don’t have time to stop and figure out portions. However; now with the 100 calorie packs I can grab a snack to eat on the road and know exactly what my calories and portions are.

    I have to take care of my home, run my business, take care of lake property, go to the gym, take care of my pets and do errors ect.. so for a busy person like me the 100 calorie packs work out great whether it be chips, cookies, candy or whatever. who cares how they are packaged and if you don’t want to pay the price then don’t buy it leave it for the people who have the money and are willing to pay that price.

    Comment by Linda on 10/26/07 at 12:43 pm #
  15. Wholegrain_veg:

    People like you, ignorant people, make me sick. Something horribly sad must have happened to you to make you such a sad, bitter little person.

    Comment by IgnorantPeopleFTL on 11/02/07 at 11:26 am #
  16. Wholegrain_veg: is absolutely right that junk food is junk food.  IgnortantPeopleFTL how rude where you just there?  I like the hundred calorie packs as snacks, but when I figured out that I could have 2 cups of blueberries for slightly more calories than the tiny portion of cookies, etc., I started picking the blueberries and other foods.  Now I eat more and still lose weight.  When I want a treat I like the 100 calorie packs, but fruit bars and other healthier treats will suffice at times.

    It’s also true that they are loaded with chemicals and all sorts of crap that is bad for us.

    Comment by Nutritous on 11/07/07 at 7:43 pm #
  17. where can I purchase these 100 calorie packs

    Comment by kristen on 12/06/07 at 8:37 am #
  18. Cybele's avatar

    Kristen - I took these photos at the Ralph’s in Los Osos, California. I’ve also seen some versions of them in 7-11 stores.

    Comment by Cybele on 12/06/07 at 8:39 am #
  19. I went to Walgreens to get my stash of Skittles (with the coupon, it’s 4 for a $1.00 this week), which I tend to eat sometimes when I need a candy fix.  I must say I was horrified to find out that m & m’s are now in 100 calorie packs. I got a couple of packs of m & m’s to see the calorie count on it.  For the 1.69 ounce of m & m’s plain, at twenty five cents this week (usually sixty nine cents) it is 240 calories.  So I could make two and a quarter ( I am guessing) 100 calories portions for myself.  Now I don’t eat much chocolate so that wouldn’t be a problem for me.  As others have mentioned, why don’t people go and buy the snack packs (usually 8 packs for 88 cents or one dollar).  It’s cheaper and I am sure it is less than 100 pack.  Or if you catch the big pack of m & m’s on sale, get some snack bags and count them out yourself. There should be the valentine’s day and easter packs that are available, as well as the fun size and the snack pack.  Or why don’t you do what I am doing, buying the regular size on sale at Walgreens this week, and hiding them.  For the record, I am buying the candy for a plane ride in two weeks, where I have a problem paying out the nose for candy at the airport.

    Comment by valhallaarwen on 1/22/08 at 1:21 pm #
  20. IT IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT CALORIES, PEOPLE! Diabetics and people with hyper-insulin (look it up)should not have sugar in any form AT ALL. The smaller packs of ANYTHING just make the temptation more difficult to walk away from! People like me with H-I “gain weight” if they eat ANY sugar at all, or eat high carbs. Obesity is NOT always from eating “too many calories”. I did what MY doctor said to do, and I follow MY nutritionist’s orders, and I lost over 40 pounds in less than 6 mos..(and counting).....NOT from exercise either… I have no sugar any more at ALL, and low on the carbs too, and only WHOLE WHEAT breads and cereals…..and I am drinking more water. Even the “low calorie” packs like this are POISON to H-I patients or to diabetic patients! JUNK IS JUNK!!!!

    Comment by KAREN on 4/09/08 at 6:46 am #
  21. this whole conversation on 100 cal candy is soo funny! when people are saying they eat 100 cal. packs alot they dont mean they eat them for every damn meal you idiots..and the stupid people who are calling other people ignorant should really look the word up before throwing it out there. If you dont like 100 cal. packs dont eat them very simple but dont knock the people that want to. Yes i will eat fruit snacks like an apple strawberries but also 100 cal snacks as a full time worker and student it is great to be able to just grab and go..bottom line dont knock people for spending money on it because its not coming out of your pocket and dont tell people not to have may have time on your hands to sit there and count stuff out but in reality alot of people don’t…too funny!!

    Comment by Tracy on 4/29/10 at 6:58 am #
  22. Cybele's avatar

    Tracy - did you read the post? Are you saying that you prefer to spend 2-3 time the money for something that has 4-7% more “accurate” to the base-hundred system?

    The post is about the fact that the candy companies are solving a problem that doesn’t exist - they already make a near 100 calorie product that has less packaging and costs less.

    So laugh all you want at how you’re being manipulated by a the big food companies, but you might want to take some of that time you’re saving and switch to that student-mode and learn the difference between a lot and alot.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/29/10 at 8:14 am #
  23. first off like i said its not coming out of your pocket..second its not just candy comp. taking advantage of this every company all healthier food it more expensive then going to wendys and getting something from a dollor menu..and yes i will spend it when your working a 45-50 hr work week and taking 12-14 credits during the night you will grab and go sorry if you have time on your hands i have a busy life..and unless you know me dont tell me what “mode” to switch to..and yes i will continue to laugh at you espically bc its been 2 yrs sense the last post and you had to respond on the same day..sorry i cant say the same this convo will not countinue after this got things to do..maybe ill go out and get some 100 cal. packs…byeeee

    Comment by tracy lopez on 4/29/10 at 8:23 am #
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