BigTedz 100s &1000s

September 3, 2013 at 21:05 | Posted in biscuits | Leave a comment
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bigtedzpackI became aware a little while ago of a new biscuit appearing in the supermarket aisles – although with my new enthusiasm for cheesy biscuits I wasn’t especially quick off the mark to sample some and share my thoughts with you, my dear readers.

However, on a more recent supermarket trip, they again caught my eye – as they were marked with a prominent ‘REDUCED TO CLEAR’ tag. And of the two varieties placarded on the shelf only a few packets of the ‘100s & 1000s’ remained – all of the plain half-chocolate coated ones were gone. Is this just a stocking issue at my local store? Or is this a short-lived biscuit, already on the way out after failing to take the snack biscuit genre by storm? Either way, I thought I should secure one of the remaining packs to try them out.

Arnott’s have been desperate to get into the ‘snack’ genre for a long time. It’s something they keep trying to do – think mini chocolate chip cookies, fun sticks, and of course tiny teddies. So just how desperate is this attempt to crack the magic ‘kids lunch box’ market?

Well, I hope I’m not spoiling the surprise by answering ‘pretty desperate’. This really is a terrible biscuit. It has no style, no finesse, and no quirky styling nor unusual angle to redeem itself. But before we get to that, lets take a look at it.

bigtedzwrapperIn the ‘snack pack’, you get nine individually wrapped BigTedz (and can I just say the uncalled-for ‘z’ on the end and the lack of a space in the name really doesn’t win if any marks with me either). They feature an oh-so-cool teddy character who’s favourite things are his skateboard and his hoodie (so the pack informs us). Oh dear. When you unwrap them you are presented with a fairly large, quite thick biscuit with an utterly charmless teddy bear countenance. The hundreds and thousands give it a rather mottled appearance, and the back of the biscuit is coated in milk chocolate. You will be relieved to hear this is real milk chocolate, not ‘choc’ coating.

bigtexzbiscuitWhen you come to eat it, is it much harder that you expect. I suspect this is a design decision taken to prevent the biscuit disintegrating into crumbs in a boisterous child’s lunchbox, but as biscuit textures go it’s quite unappealing – not really crunchy, certainly not hard like the Ginger Nut, more just kind of dried out and stale. Despite the apparent high bake, however, it has a rather strange undercooked, doughy taste. Perhaps the use of tapioca and ‘vegetable fibre’ in the ingredients contributes to this. The 100s and 1000s do very little except add a little sugary crunch, and the whole thing gets terribly stuck in your teeth. The milk chocolate is fine, but doesn’t add anything very much – this is certainly not a biscuit that is greater than the sum of its parts (unlike the transcendent Wagon Wheel, for example).

I suspect there’s a very good reason why this biscuit is fast disappearing from supermarket shelves. I’m not quite sure what came over Arnott’s biscuit development team when they came up with this – perhaps they were under pressure from some hot-shot marketing type who insisted that they had to have another crack at the snack market with yet another teddy variant. But I can’t help feeling they are probably all a bit embarrassed about this one, and hope it will slide into obscurity and be forgotten. Sorry folks, this one gets a one our of ten – and the ignominy of being awarded the lowest ever score for a biscuit on this blog.

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Hundreds and Thousands

March 1, 2011 at 21:24 | Posted in biscuits | 7 Comments
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When I was younger, we used to go to an Indian restaurant that did a ‘meal deal’ where you got a starter, main and dessert for some ridiculously cheap price. It was good too; perhaps tandoori chicken to start, then a beef rogan josh with rice to follow. Pudding was always the same though – a single scoop of vanilla ice cream, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. Except there weren’t hundreds and thousands; usually you got three or four. Very occasionally five. We used to wonder about this; how painstakingly the staff must have taken a tiny pinch of hundreds and thousands from the pot to put on each dessert. No doubt a catering pack of them lasted the restaurant for years.

Arnott’s are not so frugal, however, on their ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ biscuits, as each biscuit has about three hundred of them sprinkled on each one, held in place by the thick pink icing. The back of the biscuit is given over to a wavy line pattern, a bit like a TV set that has gone on the blink.

The blue pack and cartoon graphics immediately alerts us that these are part of that range aimed at children. (Well, aimed at parents for their children, I suppose. As a public service announcement I feel I should point out that feeding sugary snacks to your kids is not recommended. I say that, although Baby Chillikebab is already eating marmalade on toast, and is only ten months old, so I daresay she’ll graduate to biscuits sooner rather than later.) The immediate thought here is that these are going to be very sugary and unexciting, although we’ve been surprised before.

Unfortunately, in this case, we were not surprised. They are very sugary and unexciting. The combination of the icing and the hundreds and thousands do make them quite crunchy, and they have quite a strong vanilla taste, which puts them ahead of the nasty Tic Toc.  But only a bit ahead. These get just three out of ten.

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