Friday, February 11, 2011
Nighttime Sweets Strawberry Parfait
Packaging is a way of manipulating people into buying stuff they might not otherwise buy. Without the allure of packaging, people are pretty much going to be basing their purchases on three factors - appearance (if the food is actually visible), type of food, and price. I have to wonder what shopping was like back in the "Little House On the Prairie" days when "inventive packaging" was showing an illustration of a guy with a huge handlebar mustache on a jar of "Uncle Earwax's Super Hardening Mustache Paraffin". I'm guessing people pretty much just bought what they needed back in those days.
The producers of boring food like yogurt rely on us being dumb enough to be fooled by misleading images of the flavor of the slightly sour, thin goo contained therein. Even someone who is fairly "savvy" (which is what we all think we are, which is part of our overall "stupid") can be suckered into seeing a lovely bit of strawberry ice cream with whipped cream, berries, and wafers and think that's what we're going to be tasting. Of course, they can't be really accused of misleading us because it says, "this is an image" under the parfait picture.
I didn't have high expectations of this when I saw it at Seiyu for 100 yen ($1.20), but I had a good experience with the previous entry in the "Nighttime Sweets" line, the apple pie yogurt. I figured that the line deserved my attention even if I'm not a fan of strawberry-flavored foods in general. To be clear, I love the fresh berries, but just dislike how they are incorporated into processed food.
Peeling back the foil, I was greeted with the scent of real pureed strawberries. Color me surprised. I was also shocked at the taste of this because it reminded me of strawberry shortcake. In fact, if you pureed a shortcake that is what it'd taste like. Seriously. Okay, if you took one of those small round yellow sponge cakes that are sold cheaply in local markets, piled on some berries, whipped cream, a little sugar, and then doused it in whole milk and then pureed it, that is what this tastes like.
I was truly blown away by this. The fine folks at Luna made yogurt that tastes very little like yogurt (again, their vanilla yogurt tastes like a tiny pot of heaven). There is definitely some cream flavoring in there and what looks, smells and tastes like real berries. There may also be essence of cake, for all I know. What is for certain is that this is only 69 calories and tastes great. I'll be sorry when this inevitably leaves the market, but I have some hopes now that this line is going to deliver again and again with each new offer.