Deborah Cassell, managing editor
Fresh bags of bagels and chocolate chip cookies,
Fistfuls of pretzels, potato chips — Looky!
Strips of beef jerky and glazed doughnut rings –
These are a few of my favorite things.
For many of my friends, occupational hazards include stress, boredom, carpal tunnel and, well, stress. For me, it’s snack foods and baked goods.
Writing about (and sampling) cookies, crackers, potato chips and bread is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing: I now get paid to frequent snack food aisles and in-store bakeries in search of new products. Curse: Come 3 p.m. on weekdays (which my co-workers and I have designated “Goulet Time,” an homage to Emerald Nuts’ witty ad campaign featuring entertainer Robert Goulet), these products are dangerously close in reach, making it far too easy to overindulge.
We’ve even created an at-work “pantry” in which to store the influx of treats, which includes energy drinks from Jenny (of Beverage Industry), chocolates from Kelly (of Candy Industry) and gum from Megan’s grandmother, who owns stocks in The Wrigley Co. (Megan works for Food & Drug Packaging.)
Needless to say, co-workers in need of a sugar or savory fix know where to find it.
Because Stagnito Communications specializes in food-focused publications, my colleagues and I often joke that in the event of a natural disaster, we could live indefinitely off the array of frozen, dairy, meat, snack, bakery, (both alcoholic and non), candy and confectionary products in our cubicles, offices and lunchroom refrigerators.
Here at Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, I’ve learned that a nut-free, egg-free, milk-free cookie (Divvies chocolate chip, to be exact) actually can taste good. That said, I still like eggs and milk (but not nuts, as you know) in my baked goods. I also mourn the absence of the old Oreo. (We’ll never know how much trans fat was in the original, but we’ll sure miss the taste.)
I write all of this while munching on Mini Chips Ahoy!
I’ve also discovered an endless stream of savory snacks. For example, I heart all things barbecue, especially Snyder of Berlin’s new Honey Bar-B-Que Potato Chips. Speaking of that Pennsylvania product, although I’ll forever hold nacho cheese-flavored Doritos in high-esteem, I’ve come to enjoy chips from many of the great regional brands out there, including Kettle, Herr’s, Shearer’s and Better Made.
I’ve even learned to appreciate products that are deemed “healthful,” “heart-healthy” and “a good source of whole grain” such as Mr. Krispers Baked Rice Krisps and bread from Rudi’s Organic Bakery.
And I’ve grown to love 100-calorie packs of absolutely anything.
This month, while working on SF&WB’s annual State of the Industry Report, I reflected on a year’s worth of retail introductions and came up with a list of what I consider the best among them — in short, the products I’d actually recommend to friends and family. Let’s just say, if I were Oprah, these items would make the cut on my annual “Favorite Things” show … and studio audience members would reap the benefits.
“You get a snack! You get a snack! You get a snack!”