Sunday, January 24, 2010

New to Me! Blue Bunny gets Personal

My love of finding new ice cream treats finally has another destination to add to it's list of things deemed "local enough". That's right, I finally made it to a Market Basket which is a chain of over 60 groceries stores here in New England. They finally have one close enough for me to get their goods into my freezer before they melt. It's a chain with a storied history, but the real question is, what's it really like? I've heard horror stories about how busy they can be, but why is that? I finally got the chance to go in and find out.

The store is bright, very bright ....too bright actually. I spent most of my 45 minute trip squinting. What happened to new stores saving energy? It was also very busy, especially considering it was dinnertime on a Friday night, but I think a big part of the problem is that people were wandering just as much as they were shopping.

The aisles are fairly wide and quite tall. They are all jam-packed and constantly restocked by a large contingent of employees. The prices are definitely good but not unbeatable. The big thing that stands out to me is selection. While Wal-mart may carry one or two versions of a product (if you're lucky), and a regular grocery store might carry 3 or 4 versions, Market Basket will carry all 7 versions. Several times I caught myself standing there and thinking "Cool! I didn't even realize they made that flavor!".

In a unique twist, the ice cream section isn't in the freezer aisles. Oh no. Instead, you must traverse a fairly impressive produce section before reaching the frozen treat and cake section. At first glance I was faced with the Usual Suspects: Breyers, Edy's, store brand, and a surprisingly decent showing by our buddies at Turkey Hill. I continued my journey all the way 'til the end. There, in the individual serving section, I found these:

! Blue Bunny Personals ! A one cup (so two serving) dose of the most popular Blue Bunny flavors. I picked up one of each of the three flavors they had in stock. Now here is something weird: Walmart carries a decent selection of Blue Bunny containers and treats, but no Personals. Market Basket had the personals, but no regular containers. How odd. Now take that with the fact that I've never seen personals anywhere yet they have been around since at least 2005! I know this because I found several press releases about new Personals, I just couldn't find one talking about the initial release. In all, there are currently 7 regular flavors and 5 light flavors.

Ok, here is the Super Fudge Brownie personal up close, and well, personal. It's not quite as tempting looking as it is on the spoon on the label, but at least there are several brownie chunks to be seen. I know it's hard to judge size, but that big chunk in the top middle there is just a bit bigger than a plump pea. I tried that bite first ofcourse. It's ...It's ...well, it's kind of small so it doesn't really make any strong impressions. There's nothing particularly wrong with it, but it's not like one of those giant chewy chunks you might find in Ben & Jerry's.

To be honest, and a bit harsh, the very first thought that popped into my mind was "wow, this tastes cheap". I don't know how else to describe it. It just felt like some generic bite of some entry level brand ice cream. My original goal was to only eat half of this treat, and after that first bite, I figured that wouldn't be a problem, but then something happened. The first bite may not have been great, but it wasn't bad either, and the ice cream was already starting to get soft. I started digging for brownie bites and before I knew it, I was at the half way mark. With the little B&J or Haagen-Dasz cups, you are confined to this little container that is a constant reminder to go slow. Here, we have a nice long oval that's just begging for a big scoop, and then another, and then another. Yeah, I kept going until about 90% of the container was gone --- Seemed like a waste to just put 3 bites back in the freezer --- and then there were none.

The treat may have started a little rough, but the melty texture quickly hooked me in. It didn't help I was dieing for some chocolate. MMMMM. Am I fully satisfied? Well, I'm certainly full, but that could be explained by the two servings of ice cream I just had. So then, am I satisfied? for a dollar? even though there isn't enough brownies? sure, why not, I'm satisfied enough anyway, but I think this a victory when it could really be a knockout. Why not run these with more brownie bits than the standard stuff? Why buy 3 personals (6 servings) when I could have a whole container (14 servings)? Sure, it's convenient, but it could be outstanding. I think Blue Bunny needs to make these extra special, then crank up distribution to pharmacies, gas stations, you name it.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1/2 cup (72g)
Servings Per Container 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 170from Fat 70
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g12%
- Sat Fat 4.5g23%
- Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 25mg9%
Sodium 85mg3%
Total Carbohydrate 24g8%
- Dietary Fiber 0g0%
- Sugars 18g
Protein 2g

Vitamin A 4%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6%Iron 0%

1 comment:

Dubba Scoops said...

my apologies to the the ice cream forum for deleting the comment, i checked messages a little too early in the morning apparently.

the comment was that they were displeased with the fact the containers are plastic and I have to concur. The goods news is that they are #5 recyclable plastic (polypropylene), the same stuff they use in plastic yogurt containers, so there's no reason you can't bring this home and recycle it (which I heavily encourage you to do ofcourse)