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Monday, April 17, 2006

Low-Carb Foods Not Changed, Just Repackaged

I'd like to share with you an experiment I've been working on to make a point about what a lot of food manufacturers who jumped on the low-carb bandwagon a few years ago are doing with the packaging of those same foods now.

What we're going to look at is a product from Quaker called Q-Smart snack bars. I had never even heard of Q-Smart snack bars until I saw them on sale the other day at my local grocery store, but I was intrigued when I saw two different boxes for the same product.

Here was the first box with a copyright date from the year 2004 (I wonder how good THOSE are?! EWWW!):



Note the phrase "For a Low Carb Lifestyle" written prominently on the packaging along with a GIANT 3g impact carbs, or net carbs and a smaller font for the 10g protein.

Let's flip the box around to see the back side:



Once again, we see the focus on carbs with the phrase "For a Low Carb Lifestyle" again along with the BIG BOLD phrase "Trim Carbs, Not Taste." There is also a listing of the carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals, as well as trans fats.

Okay, got that? Remember that was the packaging from 2004.

Now fast forward to the one with the copyright date from the year 2006:



Do you see the difference already? With a phrase boasting "New Look! Great Taste!" there is absolutely NO mention of low-carb anywhere on the front of the box. The focus has shifted to the 10g protein with a focus more on the calories and sugar content rather than the impact carbs. Hmmmm.

How about the back of the box on the repackaging:



Again, no mention of carbs, but a whole lotta generic mumbo jumbo about being healthy. "Snacking Smart Never Tasted So Good" is about as stupid a phrase as there is! The product will "fuel your body" according to the packaging. Uh, yeah. So does every morsel of food you put in your mouth. Sheeeeez, do they think we're all idiots?

Now, here comes the best part of this experiment. Guess what is different about these two products?



The answer? Absolutely, positively NOTHING! They have the exact same nutritional information and ingredients, although neither one of them have accurate information about the impact carbs -- it should be 2g impact carbs since there were 9g total carbs minus the 2g dietary fiber and 5g sugar alcohols. Somebody at Quaker needed to ask a 1st grader to subtract for them!

So what does all of this mean? What it means is that there ARE low-carb foods out there for you to help you when you are livin' la vida low-carb. But you might not have the words "LOW-CARB" blaring at you in the face anymore. But that's a good thing because now it will make you turn the box over on the side for yourself so you can figure out if it is something you can eat or not.

While everyone laments that many of their favorite low-carb foods are gone, I encourage you to keep your eyes open and see if those same products don't start showing back up on the shelves unchanged, but just repackaged.

By the way, I tasted these Q-Smart snack bars today and they're not too bad. The Cranberry Almond flavor was nice and they do pack a lot of protein in them. I'd definitely buy this product again to eat as a light snack for before or after my workouts. At just 2g net carbs, these are good for just about everyone on the low-carb lifestyle. ENJOY!

7 Comments:

Blogger Newbirth said...

Yep. "Carb Well" Oreos are now "Sugar Free" Oreos. Same product, different box.

4/17/2006 9:59 PM  
Blogger TESS said...

I HAVE BEEN EATING THE Q-SMART BARS SINCE THEY FIRST CAME OUT. SWEETS WAS ALWAYS MY BIGGEST HURDLE AND THESE DID HELP. I CUT BACK ON THEM ONCE I GOT MORE COMFORTABLE WITH MYSELF AND I NEVER LIKED THE CRANBERRY BUT THE PEANUT BUTTER WERE GOOD.STILL FOR ME, EVENTUALLY THE CALORIES WERE TO MUCH TO WORK IN VERY OFTEN. GENERAL MILLS PUT OUT A PRODUCT CALLED MOMENTUM WHICH I LIKED EVEN BETTER BUT THEY WERE MORE EXPENSIVE. THOSE I HAVEN'T SEEN FOR A WHILE. IF ANYONE NOTICES THEM BACK ON THE SHELF, PLEASE MENTION IT! THANKS

4/18/2006 7:50 AM  
Blogger sly_foxx68 said...

Franken Food :-)

4/18/2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger Brad said...

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4/18/2006 2:25 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I noticed Carb Options are being discontinued in the stores. I suggested to them to repackage their low carb products as low sugar or lower sugar rather than low carb. I am waiting for a reply. I also noticed the Oreos repackaged as sugar free. Maybe there is hope after all for low carb followers.

4/18/2006 2:58 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

There's way to get most of the discontinued items, but, IMHO, they are not as good. The Carb Options BBQ sauce ROCKED and now I have to use other brands. The one I've tried so far did not impress me (Steel's). I still have to try the Stubbs brand.

The Oreos KICK BUTT! They actually taste like real Oreos. I can't work them into my menu very often, but I have been known to fall off the wagon and binge on them.

4/18/2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I found Carb Options BBQ sauce at the 99 Cents store in Henderson, NV. If there is a 99 Cent store near you, check them out. I also found other low carb products there in the past.

4/19/2006 12:13 PM  

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