Can vs. Should - The Eternal Struggle Between What I Want to Say and What I Should Say

It's been about one month since my last post and I've spent the majority of that time on product development; our Classic Brownie is now optimized for shelf life and is baked without any nut products making it more accessible. While our chocolate bomb has been a labor of love, our next product in development, tentatively titled, "Oat to Joy" is an instant winner - but just because I built it doesn't mean they'll come. So I'm trying to figure out the best way to leverage this product's attributes as I portray in its best possible light. I have so many things that I should say, and only so many that I can - where's the balance?

That's why I'm writing this post - in part to think out loud, but also to ask for your help. So here goes: the first and foremost element that stands out about our Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is its taste and texture - both spot on. In other words, absent all other attributes, it's just a delicious cookie. But it does have other attributes, lots of them, and there's a point where there's information overload or in this case, a degree of 'unbelievability' that requires validation. I've already got five significant (and marketable) claims that span all of our products:

  • 4 grams of sugar (found naturally in my other ingredients) means that I can claim both "lower in sugar," and "no sugar added" - Read this for more info.
  • 8 grams of fiber means that I can make the claim, "very high source of fiber"
  • No dairy or eggs means that I can claim that my products are vegan
  • No gluten-containing ingredients and products baked in a dedicated gluten-free facility means that I can claim that my products are gluten free
  • Same goes with Kosher Parve 

Probably enough. Certainly when you're working with limited space on your packaging, you have to be very creative with your messaging and your representations. However, in developing this product, I wanted a more significant "1-2" punch than just high fiber, low sugar. Vegan, GF and Kosher are minimum requirements these days. What else could we do?

One day a few weeks ago, I absentmindedly put a MadeGood bar in my pocket before leaving to pick up my son from daycare. We buy them because he likes them and they're as healthy a snack as he's going to get without us cooking them ourselves. Our first introduction to the brand included a remark about it containing one full serving of fruits in each bar - a novelty for us because at the time, we couldn't get our son to eat anything healthy at all. Thankfully that's all changed now, but he still likes them and indeed, they're a good product. 

What if there was a better product though? What if instead of one serving, there were 5 or 6? What if we could create a truly delicious cookie that contained 50%, or even 100% of your daily recommended 6 essential vitamins and nutrients? You wouldn't have to force your kid to eat their broccoli, you could just give them a tasty cookie.

So that's what we did, using an amazing (read: natural) vitamin extract powder derived from fruits and vegetables. In fact, you can get those servings from just 225mg. That's less than 1/4 of 1 gram (less than a very small pinch). It's important because that volume makes it a very affordable ingredient to add as well as one that is undetectable from a taste or texture perspective. It's a ghost ingredient with incredible, and unfortunately, unbelievable attributes. 

Claiming that one cookie contains 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is just too incredible of a claim. It just doesn't sit right. Perhaps I'm simple minded, but reading that would make me think how impossible it would be to shrink 5 fruits/vegetables into one cookie. Than I'd dismiss that thought as a brain fart and immediately just assume that the cookie tasted like an artificially enhanced nutrient bar that usually just taste horrible. Remember that the whole point of Bald Baker is to provide a fantastic indulging experience.  

You're supposed to end blog posts with conclusions, not open questions. I haven't figured out the answer yet - it's a design question no doubt, an area that I have negative skills in. At a market this past weekend, I asked consumers that were interested in the Oat to Joy what they thought, and the unanimous response was that if I was going to make that claim, then I'd have to find a way to succinctly, and believably validate it. I already have five good health claims, there's almost no room for a sixth, much less one that I have to expound upon. It's too juicy of an attribute to ignore, both from the perspective of making an excellent product, and a profitable one.

I'll wrap this up with one or two final thoughts: It's important, in fact the most important value of Bald Baker to create delicious and satisfying products and this Oat to Joy is one of, if not the most shining reflection of that value. The vitamin claim is just an exercise in creativity; a challenge like any other to be overcome as the company continues to push the idea that healthy desserts can be amazing. For anyone out there that is working through their own development challenges - keep pushing. The answer is out there.