“Spicy” candy bars aren’t exactly a new concept.
In fact, jalapeño and chipotle pepper-flavored chocolates have been around for years, with prestige choco-preneurs like Lindt, Theo, and Taza among the companies pumping out sweet-and-hot fusion treats. Heck, just last year, M&M’s even got in on the action with their L-T-O Chili Nut variation.
The thing is, such products are unlikely to ever be mainstream hits. There are people who love chocolate and there are people who love spicy foods, but there probably aren’t that many people out there who enjoy both concurrently. In a way, “spicy chocolate” is kind of like the reverse Reese’s cup – instead of two distinct tastes harmoniously merging, it represents two distinct tastes waging guerilla warfare on your tongue.
In that, I’m not really sure there is a target audience for something like the “Smoking’ Hot” Butterfinger Cups. It’s not that the product is bad, per se, it’s just that it feels so…uneventful.
For starters, calling the cups “smokin’ hot” is a huge misnomer. While the cups do indeed have a palpable paprika aftertaste, the overall effect is so mild that you barely get a tingle on your tastebuds. It actually took me a good five seconds before I realized the cups even had the slightest tinge of spiciness. With a delayed gustatory impact like that, you really can’t even use these things for pranks; by the time your unknowing “victim” realizes he or she has fallen for the old switcheroo, they’re likely to finish the whole cup – that is, if they notice the meager paprika kick at all.
But the lack of spiciness might not be the offering’s biggest core problem. I suppose with a product like this, comparisons to that other, older, and more famous line of peanut butter cups are unavoidable. Although these cups do have a noticeable, traditional Butterfinger taste, the texture seems a bit off. It’s crunchy, but not as crunchy as the standard issue candy bar.
Ultimately, you wind up with a product that tastes more like Reese’s than Butterfinger, which – depending on your perspective – may be a positive or a negative. Alas, considering the word “Butterfinger” is on the packaging, I’m assuming manufacturer Nestle might be leaning more towards the latter than the former.
So what consumer itch are these things supposed to be scratching, precisely? Even if you’re one of the few odd ducks out there who dig spicy chocolates, the cups are probably too mild for your liking, and if you’re just a regular old chocoholic, you’ll probably consider the “spicy” kick either superfluous or flat-out off-putting.
Some ideas never should’ve made it past the drawing board. And unfortunately, Nestle’s latest L-T-O novelty is one of those marketing misfires that definitely deserves its lukewarm consumer reaction.
(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 120 calories, 60 calories from fat, 7 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar and 1 gram of protein.)
Purchased Price: $1.99
Purchased at: Kangaroo
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: The chocolate is pretty tasty. The cups have a semi-noticeable Butterfinger taste. The paprika flavor is unlikely to irritate your sinuses.
Cons: The product isn’t really spicy – at all. It tastes way more like a Reese’s cup than a Butterfinger bar. Realizing it’s only a matter of time until someone releases a spicy guacamole iteration of Almond Joy … or Tabasco Sauce Pop-Tarts.