I’m Just Saying: A candy bar with a funny name but just as sweet

Published 5:19 pm Thursday, August 17, 2017

There’s something going on at Utz and I mean to get to the bottom of it.

You know, Utz (annoying to type with autocorrect), the snack food company? If not, it’s probably because they’re not generally prominently displayed. Like the gawky, geeky kid in class photographs, they’re shoved back behind the stars: Lay’s, Kettle and Cape Cod. When I’ve actually spied a package of Utz potato chips or pretzels, it’s usually at a gas station next to the red-headed bastard child at the family reunion, Tom’s, when there’s no Lance crackers to be found.

I can freebase a bag of any salt and vinegar chips, they’re my favorite. Except for Utz salt and vinegar. Grimacing after sampling the first chip, I’d said to Paul, ‘I must have gotten a bad chip, let me try another.’ After three bad chips, I had to bail. 

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Since that experience Utz hasn’t really been at the front of my brain. I haven’t thought about the company for ages. Until this week when Paul and I made a visit to the new Lidl grocery store that opened downtown. I love Lidl beginning with the design of the building—it could easily slip into an episode of The Jetson’s with its fluid, retro appearance and, just like Aldi’s, they have a marvelous selection of imported dark chocolate. That’s where I usually position myself as Paul sullenly leaves me to stock up on boring items such as fresh produce. 

Suddenly, my eye caught the sight of a box of candy bars that looked very much like a Twix: the cookie center, the caramel, you get the idea. The Utz brand was clearly visible below the name of the candy bar. Would you like to try to guess what Utz named this confection?

Twiggles? That would have been good, but no.

Caramel Crisps? Nope.

Caramel Cookie Bar With Milk Chocolate And Vegetable Fat Coating?

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!

Which is why, your honor, I’d like to direct you to exhibit A, the photographic evidence I snapped because I knew you wouldn’t believe me. So take a gander. 

What the hell went on in that pitch meeting during their marketing campaign? Is there Utz vodka we’re not aware of that contributed to seven exhausted corporate types, heads down on the table after a marathon session of trying to come up with a catchy name for their new product, until one moaned, “I don’t care anymore, just call it what it is: a caramel cookie bar with milk chocolate and vegetable fat coating! I’ve got a wife and kids to get home to!”

And the really funny thing is that I was watching people standing in line before me, all noticing the same candy bar and pulling faces and uttering, ‘Gross,’ as they then reached for a Twix which is essentially the same thing, just too cowardly to admit it.

Curious, after we returned home and while Paul carried in the groceries and emptied the cat litter tray, I did the serious work as I sat down in front of my laptop and researched a snack food company. The weird thing is all their other snacks have perfectly normal names: Cheese Curls, Ripples — and I even found, gasp of all gasps, they offer certified dark chocolate bars!

And suddenly I fell head over heels for this company. Because the next thing I read was that Utz has the largest program in the world for sustainable cocoa supporting 610,000 cocoa farmers. They have a charming Midwestern history and are incredibly environmentally responsible.

This from their site: ‘We began using energy saving lighting in 1987, which we continue to use today through the use of lighting and ballasts that support green compliant programs. Through these continued efforts we conserve 3,417,757 KWH per year which is a reduction of 2,071.16 tons of CO2 per year and 4,955,747 pounds of Greenhouse gases each year.’

That’s just lighting! You should read what Utz has done with recycled water, cardboard and wrappers. This is an admirable corporation deeply committed to leaving a healthier earth for future generations. 

Along with a dreadfully named candy bar of which I intend to buy an entire case.

For Halloween. ‘Cause I’m a comic.

‘Here ya go, Dracula, enjoy your vegetable fat coating. Want some broccoli with that?’