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Business, Marketing, Opinion

Minties > From hard to soft

There are some foods which remind me of my childhood.

Pickled onions, polenta mixed with cabbage and broadbeans, carne vinho e alhos (translated as pork, wine and garlic) and Minties.

There’s only one in that list that I’d eat right now if it was to be put in front of me.

No, it’s not the carne, vinho e alhos, even though my old folks do still make it (it’s a Portuguese delicassy from the Island of Madeira).

It’s the Minties.

To be honest, I haven’t had Minties in years.

But I do remember the taste. I remember its solidness. And I remember how I’d have to suck on it for ages to be eventually rewarded with the smooth silkiness of the mint.

All of that is about to change though.

Today, the maker of Minties, Nestle, announced that it’s changing the formula of the sweet.

Um, hello? Doesn’t the company remember what happened to Coca-Cola when it decided to change the formula for Coke? I’ll get to that in a second.

Minties were first devloped in Australia in 1922 and for almost 90 years, has survived without any real change.

Nestle now sells 3.5 million packets a year.

Following consumer testing, Nestle produced three versions of the lolly, a hard one, slightly hard, and chewy version. It says, the chewy version was the stand out winner.

So, now, the hard version of Minties, is about to disappear.

What will the general public think?

In 1985 in the US, Coca-Cola decided to change the taste of Coke, back then, a 99 year old product, to a “newer, sweeter” version.

While it succeeded in blind tests, it flopped on the shelves.

Public backlash was phenomenal, that in three months New Coke was removed from stores.

It then had to add the word, “Classic” to all Coke cans to remind consumers, that it returned to the original mixture.

Pepsi had a similar problem.

Remember Crystal Pepsi, a clear version of Pepsi? It was introduced in Australia in 1993, to capitalise on a marketing fad relating healthiness and purity with, I guess, clear products, although the original Pepsi drink remained.

It only lasted a few months because way too many consumers associated cola with the brown colour.

These days, many of these soft drink brands, devise limited edition flavors, with the main goal of drawing consumers back to the original and mainstay product.

For example, Vanilla Coke Zero was introduced to remind consumers, that Coke Zero exists so that the brand is reinstalled in the consumer’s mind.

The problem with the new Minites formula though, is that it is a change to the product.

Not an option.

There’s won’t be a Minities Hard, and a Minites Soft version.

You’re stuck with the new product.

But given I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment, I’m more stuck on the sugar content in the current sweet, which I stumbled upon while reasearching this blog. 10.8 grams per serving! That’s 12 per cent of the recommended sugar intake in one serve, and the main ingredient is glucose syrup from corn.

Still, I’m now tempted to buy a pack just to rip up those Minities wrappers in a swirl, just like when I did when I was a kid.

MEMO>ricardo

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