Saturday, April 28, 2012


This is a neat image I found on the internets. (Click it to make it larger.)

It is a clever collage that shows which conglomerates own our favorite brands.  While I was familiar with soft drink brand ownership, I learned quite a bit from the snack quadrant of this image.

You'll notice that quite a few brands which compete with each other on store shelves are ultimately owned by the same corporation.  My understanding is that despite this, each brand markets independently in an intense competition for market share, shelf space, etc., and the mother company ultimately benefits from all this.

This is all the result of companies buying out each other for centuries along with a relentless hunger for market share.  I guess the ultimate take-away here is that it'd be really hard to boycott any of these companies, but until then, I fully plan to support them by buying their delicious products!

Source: reddit

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lay's Classic BLT

 Note: This is Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

Lay's has recently come out with a line of new flavors (which I don't think will last), among them is Classic BLT.  As we know, BLT stands for the bacon, lettuce, tomato sandwich.

I set my hopes too high.  In practice, these chips taste like a vague combination of the Lay's Sour Cream and Cheddar chips along with a hefty shake of bacon flavor.  Despite the fact that the ingredients list has tomato and lettuce flavors in it, they're barely detectable.  I imagine that their "sour cream" powder/flavor might be in there because of how BLTs are often served with mayonnaise.

I'll tell you why this is not ok.

I'm finally given a chance to rave about what perhaps might be in my top 3 favorite ephemeral noms of all time: Doritos(a Lay's company) Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger, released around 2010.  The complexity of this snack rivaled single malt Scotch.  With a single bite, I could taste beef(smoky and char-grilled), mustard, lettuce, cheese, onions, and more.  It was like a symphony of flavors, and all given to me via a snack chip.  If Doritos can nail a fresh lettuce flavor among myriad other stronger ones, then why can't Lay's?

Speaking of Lay's, I've had the pleasure to try their Lays Ketchup chips, which are shining example of a nice spicy tomato flavor note.  And yet they can't relay a bit of that into their Classic BLT?  Why do their Classic BLT chips only taste like bacon?

We here at Ephemeral Noms not only judge a product on its objective flavor, but also on how accurately it achieves to be what it purports.  These chips are quite good, though they do not taste anything like a BLT.  If they had boasted to be "Loaded Potato Skins" chips, they may have gotten a higher rating.

Lays Classic BLT: (Good)

Lays Classic(for comparison): (Good)

Acquired: supermarket

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Snickers 3X Chocolate

Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

Staring me in the face in front of the cashier at 7-Eleven was this new Snickers variant.

The "3X Chocolate" title, I later learned, refers to the fact that its outer covering is chocolate(like normal), the nougat is now chocolate, and its caramel is now a chocolate caramel.  The peanuts were left untouched.

A look inside the bar indeed verified that the nougat is probably the same used in the Three Musketeers bar, and the caramel was a dark brown (perhaps they simply mixed cocoa into the cooking caramel before it fully cooled?  Do any confection enthusiasts want to inform me of a chocolate caramel process?), such that its innards look quite different than the original product.

Unfortunately, the taste is almost the same.  With concentration, I can detect that the candy's flavor of chocolate is stronger than the original, but if you had not told me, I probably would have been none the wiser.

Snickers 3X Chocolate: (Good)

Original Snickers (for comparison): (Good)

Acquired: 7-Eleven

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pepsi Next

Note: This is a Presumptive Ephemeral Nom.

Are you a Coke fan?  Are you a Diet Coke fan?  Rarely will you find a fan of both.  Why?  Well, many don't realize that it's not only the sweetener that separates Coca-Cola Classic from Diet Coke, but the two also have two completely different flavors/formulae.

In 2004 Coca-Cola introduced in the US a product called Coca-Cola C2.  C2 was a variation on Coke Classic which used half artificial sweeteners and half of their normal caloric sweetener; the idea was that this new product would offer a lower calorie drink for fans of the flavor of Coke Classic(as opposed to Diet Coke.)  While I thought the product was decent, it ultimately didn't fare very well and was later axed.

Years later, the company perfected their Coke Classic-flavored diet soda, and they called it Coca-Cola Zero, which is now a resounding success.  Coke Zero and Diet Coke now sit side-by-side on store shelves and have their own fanbases, since they taste completely different from one another. (Ever wonder what Diet Coke would taste like with normal sweetener?  Your answer may lie in New Coke, a Coke reformulation that happened in 1985 which caused a consumer backlash so powerful that the company re-introduced the old formula within months.  Many say that the jist of New Coke's flavor wasn't far off from today's modern Diet Coke.)

For some odd reason, Pepsi has just released their version of Coca-Cola C2: Pepsi Next.  Simply put, just like Coke did 8 years ago, Pepsi has combined traditional and calorie free sweeteners to create a reduced-calorie drink that's meant to taste like their flagship product.  Pepsi Next boasts to be about half the calories of the real stuff.

What's the verdict?  I feel that they didn't hit the mark.  Even with a good deal of traditional sweetener, the spirit of the original Pepsi is not preserved and it ends up tasting more like Diet Pepsi.  This product falls below the quality of the old Coca-Cola C2, even.  I'm not sure what Pepsi was trying to do here, or which market they were trying to go after.  In an age where Coca-Cola can make calorie-free soda whose flavor is true to the original, I'm not sure that it's acceptable to settle for less from Pepsi.

The overall taste of Pepsi Next may be worse than Pepsi, but it's better than Diet Pepsi.  But is its taste good enough to warrant its not-insignificant amount of calories?  No.

Pepsi Next: (Passable)

Original Pepsi (for comparison): (Great)

Acquired: supermarket

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg

Happy Easter!

One of the things I generally try to avoid reviewing on this site are strictly morphological variations on products.  There are plenty of seasonal and holiday versions of our favorite foods which change their shape and color, but not the way they taste.  Technically, Reese's Peanut Butter Egg falls into the category, but this time it's different.

The Egg is simply a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that is shaped like half an egg (bisected longitudinally).

Firstly, there's no paper wrapper stuck to the candy, so it's easier to eat.  Secondly, the shape of the Egg is different the Cup, and with each bite you will notice that it's a bit softer than a normal Reese's treat.  Thirdly and most importantly, this Egg shape offers a different chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio... specifically speaking, the amount of chocolate has lessened.  Somehow, this makes the Reese's Egg much better than the Reese's cup.  The Egg has achieved a more perfect ratio that elevates this snack more than you would think.  If you don't believe me, try it for yourself.  Thank god we get these every year!

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg: (Outstanding)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup(for comparison): (Great)

Acquired: supermarket