Friday, July 10, 2009

Variety Friday: Poll results and the snack selection process

Thanks to everyone who took the time to voice their opinion in the poll about future review priorities. It seems the vast majority of those who care enough to vote are satisfied with the status quo. I appreciate the vote of confidence! Several people commented on my poll saying that I should not worry about what other people want and just choose the snacks that I want to review. I appreciate that attitude very much, but I thought I'd talk a bit about how I make my choices to help my kind readers understand why I decided to go with a poll to help direct my future.

When I started this blog, I mainly chose what I was most interested in sampling based on my tastes. Anything which featured chocolate, cheese, coconut, wafers, mont blanc, orange, black pepper, spicy heat, or kinako got bumped up higher on the list than other treats. After awhile, however, I've found that I've sampled the vast majority of items that easily fall withing the range of my favored flavors. For variety, I also review things that my husband likes, but I generally don't care for. This includes items featuring banana, strawberry, and caramel flavors and chewy candies (like Hi-Chew) and caramels.

These days, the selection process has gotten increasingly selective. Now, on top of flavor, I prioritize the size of the serving and the cost of the item. If I have to buy a big bag of something, I'm far less likely to try it than before. You won't see me doing a comparison of huge bags of Country Ma'am cookies and TopValu cookies as I did previously. I also won't be sampling any KitKats which are only sold in large bags of Mini bars like the black sugar kinako variety, though I will endeavor to buy minis that are sold as individual bars at 7-11. This is mainly because I'm trying to avoid throwing away a bunch of stuff I don't like, but it's also because I don't want to eat vast quantities of junk that I do like.

Yes, I realize the irony of writing a snack blog and not wanting to eat too much junk. Fortunately, the fact that I can get so many things in small portions makes this easier. That being said, I have a certain number of calories that I'm willing to devote to such types of food each day (no more than 150 - preferably around 100). That means it sometimes takes me two or three days to finish something if my husband isn't sharing it with me. This is one of the reasons why I'm not doing more than 4 reviews a week. My apologies to those who would like to see more reviews. Four reviews are pretty much the most I can manage without having food sit around for a month or going into the bin. Also, frankly, this blog can be very time-consuming and, despite the fact that there are ads on this site, I haven't made a penny from it and it's hard to justify sinking more time into it at the moment.

You'll note that I mentioned price as a consideration up there in the previous paragraph. Sometimes people e-mail me and ask me how reviewers get free stuff for review, but the truth is that I don't get anything for free. This could be because I review Japanese items in English or it may be that the Japanese manufacturers don't go around giving out freebies to bloggers or simply that my readership (which continues to slowly grow) is not yet large enough. I'm not sure. At any rate, just for the record, I'm afraid I can't help anyone score free stuff since I can't even accomplish it for myself. I buy everything that is reviewed.

One thing I took away from comments is that at least a few people would like to see more beverages reviews. I absolutely plan on doing more of these, at least until I run out of interesting drinks! I'll also try to do more ice cream reviews, but frankly, Japanese ice cream is pretty boring. A lot of what's out there is relatively similar to Western brands (Haagen Daas is big here, as is Lady Borden to a lesser extent). Much of the rest is low quality ice milk product or a variation on Popsicles. However, you can expect to see at least the occasional ice cream review.

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments. Your continued support is very much appreciated and assures that this blog will continue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear JHR,
First of all, I am grateful for all time and effort you put into your reviews and the blog in general. You give us more than just a review, but background on the product and that's quite interesting to read. This is what makes your blog unique from other snack/candy review blogs. I'm not saying you should toil away with all the detail and background, just that I appreciate them.

About future posts, I think you should review whatever you like. I manage a beauty blog, and get requests for reviews on certain products, and though I would love to satisfy my readers, I realize it isn't possible for me to fulfill all their requests at one time, it's just too much work, and I neglected my blog for a few weeks cos I was so overwhelmed with all the pressure. Blogging wasn't fun anymore, it became more like work.

So I realized that I should make posts of whatever I like, and will fulfill those special requests inbetween whenever I get to them. It's only a personal blog, and I'm not receiving any help/benefits from reviewing, but just the personal satisfaction that I had helped someone in some way.

So, just take it easy with the reviews. I understand that you can only do 4 reviews per week, and during these economic times, I understand how you're selective with your food choices, that's a smart way of thinking. Anyway, these are just my 2 cents. Have a great week! :)