Description. The limited-edition Confetti Cake Pop Tart seems superfluous. Of course, most Pop Tarts seem superfluous — what niche does “cherry turnover” fill that a cherry Pop Tart (or, preferably, an actual cherry turnover, created by humans in a non-factory environment without the aid of sodium stearoyl lactylate) does not? What chemical nano-tweak differentiates the strawberry-milkshake flavor from the frosted Tart with strawberry filling? And what, pray tell, is a “Spookylicious”? (It is “chocolate” “fudge.” Evasion is strongly counseled.)
Drs. Ariano and Bunting would never have confronted these questions during their recent sample-collection sojourn into the New Jersey interior, were it not for the accidental intervention of a native whom they overheard enthusing about the CCPT while restocking the ample shelves of a Target in Hanover. Intrigued, they procured a box for the lab.
Packaging/Branding. Despite straining heartily for a party atmosphere via the box art (confetti; piñata filling; even a “To / From” field should the consumer unwisely substitute these Tarts for a proper birthday gift), the Confetti Cake Pop Tart does not look very promising. …Well, perhaps this is an unfair characterization. The Tart itself presents neutrally; the rendition of a piece of birthday cake, helpfully provided to remind prospective purchasers of what the Tart is supposed to taste like, resembles an infected marshmallow.
Dr. Bunting finds the microwave instructions hilarious. Step 2: “Microwave on high setting for 3 seconds.” Three seconds? Holding the Tart over a candle or coughing on it vigorously is probably more efficient.
One also wonders what fumarole of the Kellogg’s legal department belched up this advisory: “Due to possible risk of fire, never leave your toasting appliance or microwave unattended.” First of all, “toasting appliance”? Second of all, “never”? And third of all, shouldn’t such a warning mention the product on whose package it appears? Even as a lawsuit preventive, the phrasing is rather broad. Why not take it a step further and remind us to look both ways when crossing the street, or to buckle up for safety?
Flavor Profile. A birthday-cake-flavored thing that is not birthday cake should not work. What makes birthday cake appealing is that it is cake; the lack of portability is beside the point. For reasons that the B.A.R.F. has not yet pinned down, however, such products frequently succeed. Birthday-cake ice cream is a particular weakness of Dr. Bunting’s, and more than one summertime breakfast hour has found her firmly facing a pint from Uncle Louie G’s.
The Pop-Tart version is markedly less pleasurable. In what we must assume is an attempt to stress the savory or starchy aspects of a cake, thus creating contrast with the frosting and the sugary confetti discs, the Tart itself features a salty bass note that lingers spitefully on the palate. In addition to suggesting that a popcorn-and-candy Pop Tart would fail miserably, the flavor is, for lack of a better term, creepy.
Habitat. Last-minute office parties in the Trust Territories; the Target in Hanover, NJ.
Field Notes. If someone could please ask the anthropomorphized hipster blobule that represents the Wildlicious Wild! Strawberry Pop Tart to calm down at once, thank you and good day.
Revulsion Scale: 7
Description. The snack world already had a perfectly adequate “spring” Oreo. We called it “the Oreo,” and between Double-Stufs, Golden Oreos, the Oreos with the Thin-Mints-esque coating, the chocolate Oreos, the other 3,283 niche flavors, and the ability of most seasonally concerned gourmands to walk outside with a famous original Oreo on an April afternoon and eat it amongst the bees and blooms, the market did not seem to cry out for a specially branded sandwich cookie in addition to pre-existing products.
The market almost assuredly did not cry out for said sandwich cookie to feature a filling the color of hangover urine. Half a dozen pastels available to denote spring — or, more particularly, Easter eggs — and which shade does Nabisco select? Not pink, which they might push to girls, or lavender, perfect to roll off the line again in June for Pride Weekend, or pale green (St. Pat’s) or baby blue. No, Nabisco selected yellow, and not a gentle, baby-nursery, newborn-chick yellow, but rather a hepatitis-eyeball, B-movie-creature-teeth, neglected-meth-head-dye-job yellow.
The Spring Oreo soon became known around the Foundation Campus as, well, anything but; popular monikers included “the Or-Pee-o” and “the Needle-Shareo.” But we cannot help noting that “the Spring Urino” could have overcome its unfortunate tint had Nabisco decided on a rainbow of Spring Oreo shades. Instead, the sales team evidently opted to confine variety to the cookies themselves, which come in five different designs, all equally immaterial to the Oreo experience.