April 13, 2010

Snack Attack!

So... today was interesting.  I participated in a marketing focus group on snacks.  But my mind is churning with snack thoughts now.

Let's start with the group itself.  There were 8 of us in the room talking about snacks.  Let's please note that I was the, uh... "biggest"... gal there.  It would appear, just from looking at me that I like my snacks.  So the first question was - introduce yourself, what your favorite go-to snack is and the time(s) of day that you find yourself snacking.  Gal #1 says, in a nutshell, "100 calorie packs."  Really?  Yeah, well, looking at her, I guess I can "get" that.  To me, 100 calorie packs are a waste of money. Get the damn bag, get some ziplock baggies and portion out the chips yourself.  If you feel the need to eat from a big bag of chips, put the pre-portioned baggies back in. Viola!  You saved yourself a buck or two. 

That's basically the gist of what Gal #2 said, only her go-to snack was fruits and veggies.  And she claims to spend hours every week on a Sunday, cleaning, chopping and bagging her veggies in portion-controlled baggies to grab and go during the week.  A part of me wished I could be just like her.  A part of me wished I could stab her in the eye with a carrot.

And so it goes around the table.  Then, let's ask the fat girl what she likes to snack on.  My answer?  Pretty much anything within reach.  Which is true.  Now, when I'm trying to "be good" I try to surround myself with healthier options.  100 calorie packs are not it.  I might as well eat the whole box of pre-portioned items.  So I say, honestly, "cheese and pickles" (not necessarily together).  The person in charge of the study looked shocked at the pickles.  *shrug*  They're salty, they're crunchy, they're very strongly flavored (cutting most further cravings) and they sorta-kinda count as a vegetable.  I mean, they were cucumbers once.  Anyhoo... let's continue.

One gal says she tries to pick up an apple if she wants to snack, but admits she has teenage boys and that there is always junk food in the house.  One gal says she nibbles all day long but has an 6-month old baby so a lot of her "snacking" is baby food.  One gal said she just doesn't snack.  She only eats meals.  Really?  Is that possible?  Are there really people there who ONLY eat 100 calorie packs as snacks, or ONLY eat fruits and veggies as snacks, or DON'T snack at all? 

I feel like I'm on a different planet.  I really tried to be honest, at least, but now I feel like I'm such hog.

Long story short, after we went round-robin about our go-to snacks, we then had to analyze this possible new "snacking" product by Lean Cuisine, including packaging (as I said, it was a marketing research study).  Interesting stuff.  I'm such a people watcher...I think I got more out of this group-study than the people behind the one-way mirror did who were recording the session!

Needless to say, I left there with my stomach screaming at me.  I ran through the closest drive-through and got myself a 'snack' that was most unhealthy.  In Weight Watchers terms, I ate my entire daily points in that one meal!  Ugh!

But I got paid $125 for my opinion.  Hmmm... that could buy me a lot of snacks...


  1. I'm not a fan of the 100 calorie snack packs cuz I usually want more than one. I'm a big girl too. If there's a thing of cream cheese in the house and some salsa, look out.

  2. I love focus groups :-) I'm also quite keen on snacks, but a couple of months ago I completely and unexpectedly went off crisps! (Potato chips to you, right?) I haven't eaten them since. I'm sure it won't last, but for now I'm trying to encourage it!

    I've never heard of 100 calorie packs but I highly doubt they'd work for me. Preparing carrot sticks would DEFINITELY not work for me!! Although I do like them with lemon and corainder hummous.... I love oatcakes, have you ever tried them?

  3. What a fun thing to be a part of! I'm always curious about focus groups like this. 100 Calorie packs do work for me, because I take my food from the kitchen (downstairs) and eat it in the office (upstairs). I'm too lazy to go downstairs to get another pack so it's good portion control! :)

  4. With teenage daughters who are totally into junk food of EVERY variety, we have tons of it in the house. I try to avoid that cabinet entirely, although not always successfully. I found no-sugar-added dried Mango slices at Giant once that were an AWESOME (and healthy) snack. Have not been able to find them since. :(

    And I'll bet half of those skinny chicks were lying through their teeth - just not admitting that they eat the bad stuff and then punish themselves with an extra half-hour on the treadmill!


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