From time to time, I get calls from this agency that sets up focus groups. I never seem to actually get into a focus group, but they keep trying. There is a screening process to make sure you fall within the parameters of what the client wants for the group. They ask vague questions and somehow get what they need.
This last call I got was on granola bars/energy bars. And I didn't get into the group, because in the words of the screener, I wasn't as big a fan of the bars as they needed. This annoyed me greatly.
The reason I am probably not a big consumer of granola bars is that I struggle to find a bar that fits what I need. This information, if passed on to a major granola bar producer, might have given me what I wanted out of a bar.
So since the granola bar people don't directly want my information in exchange for $50 and free pizza, I'm going to give it to them for free.
I have tried numerous brands. Some I like and then I never see them again on the shelf — not necessarily the flavor but the entire brand disappears.
I hate to call one out, but Nature Valley sells a cinnamon granola bar in a multi-pack but won't sell them by themselves in my very large metropolitan area.
But there are several major areas that granola bar makers can address.
-- No high-fructose corn syrup. The regular readers knew that was coming. Besides the evils of high-fructose corn syrup, the taste becomes too sweet, which leads to...
-- They are too sweet. Even without high-fructose corn syrup, there are often several different sources of sugar. If I am at home with a glass of milk, they could work. But on the run, which is how I eat granola bars, they don't go well with water.
-- Crumbliness is not a word, but granola bars don't always hold together well. I want a bar that won't leave a severe amount of crumbs.
-- Fruit has sugar, but the fruit flavors are often lost with the excess sugar. I realize fruit costs more than sugar, but the fruit taste shining brightly in its own spotlight would sharply improve the taste.
-- More nutrition. Perhaps I am abusing their purpose, but the granola bars sometimes are a meal replacement or meal postponement.
Companies looking to make their products better and healthier should expand their spectrum of thought to include those who would love to buy more of their product. I would love to find one company's product that could make me happy or at least not unhappy. My expectations are low, but my interest is high.