The Oldest Trick in the Book

TwitDear Makers of Twix,

I consider myself to be a smart consumer and not one to be sucked into your marketing japes but today you got me good.

It was 11AM and I was twitching with the need for chocolate. I went downstairs to the vending machine in search of a small hit.

The Twix was singing to me –  one because it’s on my Totally Worth It list and two because the number on the label caught my eye – 142 calories. BARGAIN!

"Dudes! Did you know a Twix only has 142 calories?" I announced to my colleagues moments later through a spray of biscuity crumbs. "Rather economical for two fingers of chococaramel joy! Who woulda thought?"

NB: We’re not saddo office cliches who sit around obsessing about diets and thighs and whatnot, but at least seventeen times a week you will hear the phrase, You know, I am totally gagging for a chocolate. So the news of the reasonable-caloried Twix was well received!

Later on I was filling in my online food journal thingo and looked up Twix and it said 284 calories. What the hell? Then I realised it was 142 calories per 28 grams… that is, 142 calories PER BLOODY FINGER.

I can’t believe I fell for the oldest trick in the food packaging book: the Per Serve Nutritional Information. I’m known as the grizzled diet veteran with the nerdy blog but now I’ve made a dick of myself crowing to the comrades, EAT UP KIDS! Get your chocolate hit here!

I bet you have hidden cameras installed in the venue machine and you watch us from your sugar-scented headquarters, lipreading our delight, Wow only 142 calories! Then you pump your corporate fists and cackle as another sucker shoves in their 50p.

It’s not that I give a rats how many calories are in your Twix; it was a tasty diversion. I’m boycotting your product purely because you reeled me in with your shiny wrapper and made me feel compelled to prattle on about it like a tit.

The boycott is going to last at least two days. So there!

Sincerely,
Dimwit of Dunfermline

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51 thoughts on “The Oldest Trick in the Book

  1. Ah, I too have fallen for the evils of the misleading Twix wrapper. Sigh.

    I saw a caramel-latte Twix the other day… it nearly sucked me in, too! EVIL!

  2. They do that sometimes with the larger tubs of youghurt, saying there’s 2 serves! In yoghurt – can’t be kept really. Or in coke.

  3. Ahahahahahaha….That’s classic.

    I always am able to lie myself into buying the twix or pop tart or whatever by saying I will only eat the one serving and save the other serving for ‘later’. As it always turns out though, ‘later’ is directly after I have the first serving. *sigh*

  4. Awww man, this happens to me way too often. Like right now….who decided it was a good idea to put a fundraising box filled with delicious chocolate right near my desk! Evil! But sucks me in everytime because its justified by me ‘donating to a good cause’. D’oh!

  5. In the US, there’s a slogan in a breakfast cereal commercial, “Trix are for kids!”

    I say, “Twix are for kids!” instead.

    OK, that’s a bad joke.

    Funny post.

  6. Hey forget about the calories. Are you serious only 50p for a choccie. The vending machine in australia are now charging $2.20. I need come to UK for cheap choccie.

  7. ARRRGH! That’s a horrible trick!!

    I can SO not stop at one finger!!

    Go you good thing- hope you stick out your 2 day boycott!

  8. Oh but even better than Twix are the Twix ICE CREAM BARS. And the Snickers ones. They are so much superior I won’t even eat the regular variety anymore, which works in my favor since ice-cream vending machines are harder to come by.

    Also I just thought I’d reiterate that I adore you, and let you know that if/when I ever do make it to Scotland, I’ll surely be stalking you!

    Then we can compare our mystical redheaded qualities, mutual Twix seduction already counted.

  9. Morning chocolate lovers… cheers for yer comments!

    @Katrina – Yep, only 50p! Chocolate is SO cheap here in the UK. I got such a shock last time I was back in Oz stocking up on Cherry Ripes.

    I was at WH Smith this morning to buy a magazine and the lady behind the till says, “Would you like a half price Galaxy bar with that?” It was £1.50 for half a bloody kilo!

    @Sparker – Cheers! I will keep looking over my shoulder then 😛 And Twix ICE CREAM bars? Hubba hubba!

  10. And let’s face it, what sane, normal person can eat just ONE stick of a Twix? (Answer: my husband, but he’s a freak.)

  11. 1 package = 1 serving just like 1 pint of ice cream = 1 serving or 1 box/bag/container etc = 1 serving.

    Who do these crazy marketing people think they are, sticking more than 1 serving in 1 package? GEEZ! Mmmmm chocolate all you can eat = 1 serving 😀

  12. You know, I have seriously never read how many calories a chocolate bar contained. It’s chocolate! I know it’s not good for me! I am at peace with that fact!

    But anyway, thanks, because now I won’t be able to think of anything but twix for the entire rest of the day.

  13. @Margaret – If I was a gorgeous gazelle like you I wouldn’t read the labels but sadly I gotta pay attention to these things if I want to stay inside my jeans 🙂

  14. A two-day ban on Twix, that’s telling them!! HEE!!! My little one loves Twix and calls them Twigs. They do resemble twigs a bit!

    Loved today’s blog and especially loved your piece on the “Totally Worth It’ list. That rocked my world; I hadn’t thought about it that way. Thank you!!

  15. What gets me is when a pack says “servings per container: about 3” because the given serving size does not divide evenly into the total pack amount. I mean, how hard is it to recalculate your nutritional info to be exactly a half or a third (or whatever) of the pack? Are we supposed to burn more calories doing the maths ourselves?

    It’s not deceit, but my M&S sushi the other week proclaimed 160 cals per 100g and 340 cals per 189g pack. Needless to say I took the 100g values as correct 🙂

  16. Hi ya! Have been reading your blog for a while ‘in silence’ now, but have to agree out loud with you in this one!! That’s just stupid, thinking there’s two servings in one of them tiny packages.
    Keep up the hilarious blogging, loving it!! Have ordered your book as well, but it can take a while before I get it, because they said they’re reprinting (which is good news for you I guess!).

  17. Cereal boxes always have interesting serving sizes, if I ate 30g of cereal I would be hungry again by 9am! Anyway, now I totally want a twix so thanks for that and I already ate a bar of dark chocolate after lunch, I blame the cold that I can feeling starting that’ll do as an excuse.

  18. hehe, I just know that no matter what spin they put on it the stuff is not good for me, so I do without when I can and say to hell with it and tuck in in times of need 😉

  19. I bought a can of ice tea the other day that said it had 3 servings in it… which I didn’t see till after I had drunk it and noticed I had just ingested 200g of sugar!!

    Now how can you have 3 servings in a CAN?? You can’t carry it about for later!! But then this is America… I guess I’m too used to being swizzled by the half full-half air bags of crisps in the UK.. such a let down when you open them!

  20. My bone to pick with vending machine goody manufacturers is their addition of the preservative TBHQ (tert-butylhydroquinone). Wikipedia it; it can damage DNA. You want to look out for something? look out for this garbage. It’s slipped into a lot of products unseen in the US because everyone knows about sodium benzoate and the like, but no one knows the acronym TBHQ. I have a feeling TBHQ is going to be worse.

    And they’ve given up on cocoa butter to increase the creaminess of chocolate and they’re using some castor bean oil derivative.

    This whole thing sucks it hardcore. When I want my chocolate, I want unadulterated pleasure. I want my chocolate pure, lubricated with au natural cocoa butter sans carcinogenic preservatives. This has cut down my vending machine intake drastically. …Which is a good thing, really. 🙂

    But I hate the FDA. What a bunch of useless nonscientists wasting my taxes.

  21. this drives me nuts! seriously if something is obviously packaged as a single serving the information on the label should reflect the entire thing. Recently I came across a single serving microwave soup (Campbells Healthy Request Italian Wedding Soup to be exact..) a single microwave package, the NI information on the label for 2/3 of the soup, seriously WTF is that!! arrrggghhhh…

    and that reminds me I was going to email Campbells with exactly what I thought about it… here it comes Campbells, duck and hide!!

  22. thanks for the reminder! I just sent Campbells this note…

    “I was wondering why on earth an obvious single serving soup, in this case the Healthy Request Italian Wedding Soup in the microwave bowl would have a nutritional label that only reflects 2/3 of the bowl?

    It is really apparent that the product is meant as a single serving, marketed, displayed and sold in exactly that form and then the label, for only 2/3 of the bowl, well it simply makes no sense to this consumer, and frankly I don’t have the time to do that kind of crazy math so now will be avoiding your product unless you tell me there is a change coming.”

  23. I have to ask to did you buy the galaxy bar for half price 🙂 I went into a English lolly shop (aussie just loves these shop there one in every tourist town in aus) the other a day and a small galaxy bar was $3.80. I was actually after one of those whip things with the almond in the middle.

  24. I ran into one worse than that recently – really deceptive.

    I found some cookies at the store that sounded delicious: peanut butter cookie with a chocolate coated bottom. The packaging said there were 4 cookies the box. The nutrition box said for 1/4 it was 110 calories, 6g fat, 2 protein. Wow. Sounds pretty good and I usually eat something 100-150 calories for my 3 p.m. low time. I ate a cookie. The whole time I was eating it I kept thinking “This is an awful big cookie for 110 calories.” Soooooo, I pulled the box out again and looked again. That information was for 1/4 of A COOKIE, not 1/4 of the box! YIKES! That means the cookie I ate was 440 calories of cookie. I was so pissed I wrote them a letter.

  25. This is quite the opposite of when I was 12 years old and wrote Dunkin Hines (or Betty Crocker) because the candy in the colorful confetti cake mix was missing. ARGH. They sent me coupons for free products.

    You, on the other hand, got a bit more than you asked for!

    (Maybe if you formally complain you’ll get freebies? I’m not as industrious as I was as a tweener, but it sounds like a good idea.)

  26. A boycott for 2 days……you’re so funny. I *heart* Twix. Remember the Seinfeld episode where George doesn’t get his Twix from the car dealership vending machine? Classic.

  27. That’s frustrating! I hate it when that happens. Especially to people who pay attention to all of that stuff and are really consciously aware of those kinds of tricks!

  28. I point this kind of stuff out to my kids – all the time. Look how they are trying to trick you. They are not concerned about your body or your health – at all – they are just trying to trick you. Is how I describe it.

  29. PQ – Twix is actually British, invented in 1967 and introduced to the States in 1979!

    And known as a Raider in many European countries until 1991!

    Fascinating stuff really 😛

  30. Twix – bah! Crunchies are where it is at. The best chocolate/calorie combo is a multi-pack crunchie at 150cals per bar, or a full-size one at 186cals. Yeh cannae beat it!

  31. The food companies are really taking us for a ride. I especially like the new 100 calorie packages of cookies. They are cookies! You are what you eat.

  32. That is such a dirty trick! I for one and sorely disappointed at the news. Twix is one of the best and I thought for a minute there that I could chomp away guilt free. I want compensation for my disappointment!

  33. Coke’s the same. I don’t drink normal Coke any more (except when hungover, and that doesn’t count, cos it’s medicine…) but the 500ml bottles claim to be 2 servings.

    I had pizza for dinner on Friday, and the nutrition information was per half pizza. What’s a single woman to do?

  34. agh, the book’s gone to be reprinted?! It better be back out in Dec when I’m flying in for one week (not just for the book of course, I’m sure it’s good, but maybe not THAT good!)as I can’t get it in Dubai and would quite like to read it having read most of this blog. I have a VERY boring worklife and worked my way through it from the very beginning!

    Oh and American chocolate – are you kidding?! They are not good. I always think I’d have no problem with chocolates if I lives in the states. Now Wendy’s would be a different matter entirely. Come to think of it I do like their Milyways which are kind of like the UK mars bars. odd but true!

  35. That’s just mean. You got me all excited thinking that my fave choccie bar was good for me (well less bad for me) and then it turns out it isn’t.

    Bah.

    (Another Twix addict signing up)

  36. That’s bad but at least there are two clear servings there. The ones that drive me nuts are the 16oz bottles of pop that are labeled as 110 calories but then the fine print says 2 servings.

  37. How sneaky! No-one eats only one finger of a Twix, surely? I eat the biscuit first and then roll the toffee up into one big lump and eat it in one go. Can’t eat it any other way, which is why I only eat them in the privacy of my own home…

  38. No sane person can consume only one finger…it is a cruel trick they pulled on you…but wasn’t it still worth it? twix always is…yum